Free Examples Of Research Paper Outlines: Basic Tips

Writing an outline is the next step to take, after you decide on your research paper topic. Even if it is not required, as part of the submitted paper, it is a great way to organize your thoughts. If you are confused about what your outline should look like, use free examples as a guide.

  • Check your school’s writing center first.
  • Many schools and colleges have writing centers to assist their students with assignment related problems. Here you can find, amongst many other useful things, quality examples of research paper outlines. If there are multiple samples, and you are confused about which to use, ask the local staff for advice – they are trained to help you. Another fail-safe option is to ask your instructor for examples of research papers he or she has on file. Most of these papers have such outlines, and you can be sure that they meet your course requirements.

  • Use free examples from reliable websites.
  • Sample research paper outlines can easily be found online. However, before you download any, take a couple of minutes to assess the resource’s overall credibility. It should be, either an educational website or, one belonging to a reputable writing service. Check the outline file with your antivirus – it should not contain any dangerous elements. If you encounter a .doc or .pdf file that, instead of an actual outline, provides a link to what is supposed to be one – do not open the link and delete the file. You will not discover any outline there, but you might let a virus onto your computer.

  • Check whether the outline is written in a relevant academic style.
  • APA and MLA formats set different requirements to outlines, for example, in MLA style you have to open your outline with a thesis statement; while in APA style you start with your first main point. The outline’s format should be specified on the page that you download it from. Make sure you use right samples.

  • Be ready to modify a sample outline according to your needs.
  • Although you might discover an outline template in which you can simply insert your own text, it will not be the case with most samples. They will have section and sub-section headings specific to a particular research paper. Use these examples as a guide to formulate your own headings in a similar way, reflecting the uniqueness of your paper.

  • Give priority to your assignment requirements.
  • Consult your assignment for any specific requirements for your outline. If your sample’s headings do not fit these feel free to change them, regardless of how reliable you consider the sample to be. For example, you might need to use “Findings” instead of “Results.”