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The college learning process is closely related to writing assignments. This encourages students to acquire new knowledge on their own and gain experience in different subjects. One of the most common types of tasks is a research paper. This is a rather complicated assignment since you have to prepare the theoretical part and analyze many trusted sources. But before that, you have to make a research paper outline.

This part of your assignment is nothing more than a detailed plan of your actions. It also allows you to create a structure for presenting information that you should adhere to. Any good college research paper outline helps organize all your thoughts significantly and make sure that no important point is overlooked. Besides, your professor will be able to quickly get an idea of ​​the data contained in your research paper.

Key Components of a College Research Paper Outline

Suppose your professor has given you clear directions, and you need to get to work. But what’s the first step? Writing a research paper outline is a tricky task. But you shouldn't get depressed. There is a clear sequence to be followed. Check this out:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

As you can see, the college research paper outline is not as scary as you thought. You have a clear plan, and you must follow it. Start with an abstract. Here will be a summary of all the goals you plan to achieve. The Introduction should be the part that clarifies your purposes and provides background information.

The body is the main part of your assignment, so you should find some sample outlines for research paper tasks to understand the specifics of the writing. Your conclusion must summarize and highlight the main idea of ​​the entire assignment. And do not forget to include all the sources you have used in the bibliography. You probably don't want to be caught plagiarizing.

Understanding the Levels and Formatting of Your Research Paper Outline Is Key

When you have an idea of your actions' order, you can move on to the next stage. How to write a research paper outline correctly? To begin with, you must stick to the requirements of your professor. You also need to learn all about outline levels. It's pretty straightforward. There are four levels that you will face at some point in your college life.

How to write a research paper outline

A one-level outline is hardly used for an assignment such as a research paper, as it contains only main headings with Roman numerals. However, you can take this as a basis for your task and gradually expand the number of points. A two-level outline is already more appropriate for your assignment as it includes second-level subheadings.

Now let's get down to the harder part. A three-level outline has not only Roman numerals and capital letters but also Arabic numerals familiar to students. Here you can see third-level subheadings and paragraph topics. This may sound confusing to you, but this structure will make it easier for you to navigate your paper. The fourth level is similar to the third. The main difference is the more subheadings and the presence of affirmative quotes and ideas in the paragraphs.

Now let's talk about formatting. College students use three options. If you decide to search for sample outlines for research paper tasks, you should look at alphanumeric, full-sentence, and decimal formatting types. The first option is especially common and involves the use of Roman and Arabic numerals, Latin letters, and short notes instead of long sentences. The second formatting option differs only by having complete sentences in each paragraph of your outline. The third option is similar to alphanumeric formatting except for numbering, where Arabic numerals are separated by periods.

Research Paper Outline Examples

It will be easier for any person to perform such a task if there is a reference point. A good example will help you understand everything about how to write research paper outline tasks. Let's take a look at two samples. This will allow you to take a closer look at the typical structure and avoid mistakes.

Good Research Paper Outline Example

Topic: Carbon Monoxide Harming

  1. Introduction

1. Definition of Carbon Monoxide Harming

2. Significance of the Study

3. Definition of Terms

  1. Body

1. Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Harming

2. Effects of Carbon Monoxide Harming

3. Modern Treatments

  1. Conclusion

1. Conclusion

2. Recommendations

3. How to Deal with Carbon Monoxide Harming

Bad Research Paper Outline Example

Topic: Carbon Monoxide Harming

  1. Introduction

1. Definition of Carbon Monoxide Harming

2. Definition of Terms

  1. Body

1. Symptoms & Effects of Carbon Monoxide Harming

3. Possible Treatments

  1. Conclusion

1. Conclusion

2. Recommendations

As you can see, a bad example lacks a few key subheadings. Also, you shouldn't group several parts into one. This applies to the symptoms and effects of poisoning, which are indicated in the second example. How to deal with carbon monoxide hazards? There is no answer to this question in the second sample. Any research paper outline should contain comprehensive information about the topic you have chosen.

Let's say that your writing task describes the process of building a house. Would you like to skip the step of describing the foundation or installing the roof? If you are not sure about any part, then you can always check related topics or clarify your question with a professor. Don't be inattentive when creating a research paper outline. This can cause low grades.

College Research Paper Outline in 5 Steps

Now is the time to act. If you want your research paper to be perfect, you should know where to start. Nothing is impossible. But you will have to spend some time searching for data and managing your goals. So, how to write a research paper outline? There are five main steps:

  1. Make a thesis statement
  2. Find ideas to support it
  3. Try to group all related ideas
  4. Use a logical order
  5. Create all subheadings

The first step is the starting point for your work. Your thesis is the cement that holds all the constituents of this paper together. Even a couple of sentences would be a great start. Make a rough draft and return to this section of your college research paper outline at the very end for some extra polish.

The second step is to find ideas to support your thesis. Use the “write research paper outline” query to google it? Try to search deeper than others. You also have to create a draft and place all the ideas related to your topic, and become a confirmation of key statements.

Writing a research paper outline is impossible without grouping all related ideas. For example, you should write a paper on the dangers of carbon monoxide. It’s simple. First, you should write about what it is and how it affects the body. Next, you need to group the data on the effects on people and the methods of treatment. Each idea should complement the previous one.

When you have grouped all your data, you need to use the right order. Let's say you need to write about the US Civil War. Your research paper outline should start with the background, main trigger, military events, and armistice. Don't start by describing battles or the results of a truce. Each part of your research paper outline should be in a logical and chronological order if necessary.

When you have collected enough ideas, data, and a rough structure for your task, then you can start creating subheadings. This is an important step as you will be able to structure your ideas and flesh out your statements. Writing a research paper outline requires you to describe each subheading as briefly as possible. Try to keep your professor consistent between the title of each section and the underlying data.

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