Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing A Research Paper Outline Format

A research paper is a large academic assignment, which requires logical thinking, evaluating and analyzing information. Writing an outline is a key step that you have to undertake before you get down to writing your research paper itself. If you want to manage the task quickly and without difficulty, you need to follow a particular template. Here are some tips to get you through.

Choosing a Research Paper Outline Format

Usually, the structure and format requirements are given to students by their departments. You are very likely to find the formatting standards and some examples on your faculty website or in methodological manuals and textbooks. Generally, there are two main ways of formatting an outline for your project:

  • Using topics.
  • This type is appropriate when the subject of your work is quite extended or when it concerns a few different problems, which can be organized in different order. Here you will need only a phrase to indicate the content of a chapter or section. Such construction should be simple, clear for understanding, and convey the precise essence of each part of the paper.

  • Using sentences.
  • This structure consists of complete sentences. It’s relevant when your investigation covers the subject in detail. Each sentence must contain a brief idea or concept of the chapter it refers to.

The usage of either of these two patterns, however, is not dictated by the strict rules. You might select whichever you think will be more suitable, but it’s necessary to follow exactly the one you’ve chosen.

Vital Suggestions to Keep in Mind

  • Use a few-level structure.
    • Alphanumeric format.
    • It requires kind of a prefix before each point of a list. The levels are marked by Roman numerals, capital letters, Arab numerals and lowercase letters.

    • Decimal format.
    • It shows how each level relates to the heading by using numbers and points.

  • Make it flexible.
  • This assignment has to be done before you begin to work on your research paper. It’s a skeleton, which your project will be based on, so you have to think well before getting down to writing. Still, when you start your investigation, take into account that it can move in different directions. That’s why make your plan flexible and easy to rearrange if needed.

  • Use parallelism.
  • It’s a crucial recommendation for your work to be effective and professional. It means that you have to apply parallel structures within the points of your outline, i.e. if one section includes introductory part, explanation and analysis of the issue, next one should follow the same organizational pattern.