Practice on How to Write an Outline for a Paper

how to write an outline for a paper

Even those students who know how to write an outline for a paper may not know exactly what format should be used for this purpose. Today we are going to discuss how to write an outline and how to format it properly.

  • Abstract

The abstract is submitted with a volume of up to 700 characters, including spaces, and should not contain formulas, graphs, charts, or the like, and it is located above the text of the research paper. Research paper outline format requires having an abstract in your work.

  • Research paper

The text of the research paper, including the abstract, should be presented in a volume of at least 10, and no more than 15, A4 pages. The text can contain formulas in the lines, the selected formulas inserted in the text of the illustration (black and white or color drawings and photographs), the signatures below them, containing a list of references.

  • Research paper outline format

The text of the short abstract of the research paper is printed in 9 pt font with the title at the beginning of the line:


After the annotation through the interval, the text of the research paper is printed (10 pt in size, aligned to the width). The text is recommended to be divided into paragraphs with headings, typed in capital letters in 10 pt bold font, which are separated from the text at the top and bottom at one interval.

Figures are located in the text and are accompanied by signatures (10 pt) directly below the figure (“Figure 1. Description of the picture if necessary”). References to the literature are placed in square brackets: []. At the end of the text, there are mentions of grants if necessary.

The list of literature is placed after the text and is formatted as follows: number, title, author’s name, journal/book title, year, and page number. The list has a title in 10 pt bold in italics, with left alignment, then a list is placed after the interval (italics, 9 pt font).

Some recommendations on the contents of the research paper

The research paper should contain specific information about the new unpublished results. Preparing an excellent research paper is very nontrivial, but making a good paper is not difficult at all. Each of these steps requires some preparation:

  • It does not matter if you have an excellent idea or material for a research paper, as you do not need to make a decision about whether to write a paper or not.
  • After the key idea is formulated, begin to think about the title and the annotation. For this, read the annotations to the research papers and reports you like. This is necessary so that your topic does not get out of the general theme. Write three to four of your favorite topics or ones close to your topic on the sheet of paper. In the next column, generate your own variations of topics, on the basis of the first part of the key idea (“I want to tell you …”). Try to avoid exact topics, and leave room to maneuver.
  • Do the same with the abstract. Just take the second half of the key idea (“In order to …”). The abstract should contain a description of the problems that the research paper solves, and not what you will talk about.

If you know how to write an outline for a paper, it will give you a lot of advantages:

  • A preconceived outline allows you to save 25% of the time that will be spent on work.
  • A well thought out outline allows you to make the text coherent and readable.
  • A research paper written without an outline may lose one of its important constituent parts, which will significantly worsen the impression of it.

So do not be lazy and spend a few minutes to write an outline. To facilitate this work, we want to introduce a certain scheme which is used by many students. In fact, it is familiar to students from their school days. Any research paper consists of:

  • header
  • introduction
  • main body
  • conclusion

At first, in order to structure the fluttering thoughts, it is better to write down what you are going to describe and how in your research paper. Then, when this structure is already firmly established in practice, it will be enough to keep it in mind. Now let’s go into more detail on each of these components.

First of all, we need an interesting title that will attract attention and make readers read your text to the last point. Ninety percent of the success depends on the title. An intriguing name must necessarily carry a question or raise a problem that is relevant to the target audience. If you are targeting a certain readership, you should give them useful information that they have unsuccessfully tried to find in other research papers.

An introduction means a paragraph after the title, which helps to disclose the content of the research paper. And also the introduction should emphasize how useful the information will be for readers. The introduction continues to intrigue and interest even more. Introduction and Conclusion: A Lock and Key for a Research Paper will help you at this stage.

Now we will think over the bulk of the research paper. As a rule, in this part it is necessary to offer a solution to the problem, considering it from different points of view. Each version should be presented as a separate paragraph with a subtitle, where the essence of the solution will be stated. Describe your subject in detail, trying to logically link the transitions between paragraphs. For greater clarity, use tables, graphs, photographs, and diagrams. Of course, you should use materials if they are relevant to the topic.

In the end, conclude which of the options, in your opinion, will be the best. If there are sources that can be referenced, then you can indicate them by the list, with mention of authoritative authors – this will give the research paper additional weight in the eyes of readers.

Now you know how to write a research paper outline. Do not forget about other posts on our blog which can help you write other types of papers.