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How to Write a Research Paper
Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.
Start the Research Process
Before you begin writing the research paper, you must do your research. It is important that you understand the subject matter, formulate the ideas of your paper, create your thesis statement and learn how to speak about your given topic in an authoritative manner. You’ll be looking through online databases, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, books, newspapers, government publications, reports, guides and scholarly resources. Take notes as you discover new information about your given topic. Also keep track of the references you use so you can build your bibliography later and cite your resources.
Develop Your Thesis Statement
When organizing your research paper, the thesis statement is where you explain to your readers what they can expect, present your claims, answer any questions that you were asked or explain your interpretation of the subject matter you’re researching. Therefore, the thesis statement must be strong and easy to understand. Your thesis statement must also be precise. It should answer the question you were assigned, and there should be an opportunity for your position to be opposed or disputed. The body of your manuscript should support your thesis, and it should be more than a generic fact.
Create an Outline
Many professors require outlines during the research paper writing process. You’ll find that they want outlines set up with a title page, abstract, introduction, research paper body and reference section. The title page is typically made up of the student’s name, the name of the college, the name of the class and the date of the paper. The abstract is a summary of the paper. An introduction typically consists of one or two pages and comments on the subject matter of the research paper. In the body of the research paper, you’ll be breaking it down into materials and methods, results and discussions. Your references are in your bibliography. Use a research paper example to help you with your outline if necessary.
Organize Your Notes
When writing your first draft, you’re going to have to work on organizing your notes first. During this process, you’ll be deciding which references you’ll be putting in your bibliography and which will work best as in-text citations. You’ll be working on this more as you develop your working drafts and look at more white paper examples to help guide you through the process.
Write Your Final Draft
After you’ve written a first and second draft and received corrections from your professor, it’s time to write your final copy. By now, you should have seen an example of a research paper layout and know how to put your paper together. You’ll have your title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, in-text citations, footnotes and bibliography complete. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure if you’re writing in APA style, or if you’re using another style guide.
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How to write an Outline of a Research paper in MLA Style?
16 Oct 2021
Thesis statement of research mla paper outline, headings and subheadings of research mla paper outline, check-list of a good mla outline for a research paper, the template of mla research paper outline, alphanumeric outline example, decimal outline example, frequently asked questions about mla outline.
Today we are going to help you understand all about the MLA research paper outline. This is something you will need to write and has a huge effect on your paper. The outline is basically a plan of your MLA paper, and it has a huge role. You will use it to organize all the paragraphs, sections, main ideas, and so much more.
Usually, students use bullet points to make all of this easier. MLA outline is important to use and can help you complete the task in less time and provide better information, eliminate mistakes, and so much more. An outline is mandatory or highly recommended for all writings, and you can really benefit from it. A research paper outline is something your professor will recommend you to write!
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Before you even start with the MLA paper, you need to write a thesis. It is important for any paper, and it is essential. It goes before the research paper outline, and it is an explanation of the paper, the ideas, and the main elements you are going to use. It should be 6-7 lines, but you can make it shorter if you like. Once you have it, you can proceed to college research paper outline and use the bullets we have mentioned above. It is important to add that the thesis is not an introduction for an outline, essay, or anything similar. It is not abstract either.
Now you will have to organize the ideas you will use. According to modern language associations, these have to be well-organized and important. In simple terms, do not use vague or unimportant pieces of information. You will create headings, and then you will create subheadings. A structured research paper outline will have as many headings/subheadings as you need in order to explain the topic in detail.
MLA format may be beneficial in this case scenario. An outline in MLA format will present all the main ideas. The key element is not to provide more or less information you need. If you do, a reader will not be interested, and you will end up with a bad paper. In addition, the outline must not use vague, inaccurate, or completely irrelevant ideas. This is something you will have to use for any MLA paper and most essays in general. The goal is to stay accurate and detailed but not go extreme. Use times new roman to keep things simple. Consider style 6th edition.
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- In cases where you are allowed to indicate corrections on printed research papers, use carets (ʸ) to show it. Correction is easy if you are submitting an electronic copy.
- Write complete sentences to support your thesis statement.
- All capital letters should be followed by phrases that offer proof, support evidence, or an explanation of the main idea.
- Use examples and statistics to expound your points. Here is an example:
Now, look at a sample template of the MLA research paper outline below. The theme of it is "Research on the effects of global warming":
Here we have an example. It is ideal for an MLA outline, and it uses a proper MLA format, so you can always modify it and apply it to your specific needs and goals. If this is too complicated for you or you need help, you can always use " write my research paper " services and get the job done in a minute. This is ideal if you need a complicated college research paper outline MLA or you just don't have time. Anyway, here is an example of a decimal MLA outline. The theme is "Facebook is a great place for making new friends":
What is an MLA Outline?
An outline in MLA format is precisely as you think. It is a plan you will use to write the assignment. It consists of the headings, subheadings, and the ideas you will have to use. Basically, this is a path you will take while writing, and it will reflect how your complete task will look at the end.
According to the modern language association, this is mandatory, and something all of you need to complete first. It eliminates mistakes and makes the whole task easier. Now you have a plan. You may want to follow these steps here and get the job done in less time and expect a better grade.
How to write an Outline for a Research Paper MLA?
You will have to start by explaining the main idea of your essay. Then you will start with defining the headings. Add all the subheadings now and try to focus each one on an important part of the writing. Each one should explain the idea. This is the guide on what you will write later on. The idea must be relevant and accurate, and it must be simple if possible. DO not use ideas that are not accurate or have flaws, or are completely irrelevant to the essay. These can make a reader get bored and not interested.
When does the page numbering of the MLA Research Title Page begin?
It should start with the first page. It always uses Arabic numbers, and all pages should be numbered. The numbers will have to be present in the upper right corner of the page, and there are no exceptions. The only expectation is that some professors will ask you not to number the first page. If that is mandatory, you will start from the second page using number 2 and move on. Numbers must be 0.5 inches from the top, and they must be flush with the proper margin.
How to set Outline of a Research Paper in MLA Style in Google Docs?
Formatting your research in this case scenario is simple. You will have to start a new document and click on file/new/template. From there, you will have to search for the MLA template and open it when you find it. Then start with the main idea at the top. You will now have to write the headings followed or containing the subheadings.
As you can see, the whole process is super easy and far easier than when using other platforms. There is no need to manually adjust all the settings and optimize the content. Keep in mind that you should use font sizes 12, 11.5, or 11.
How to set the Outline of a Research Paper in MLA Style in Word?
To start with your research paper outline in Word, start a new document. Click on no spacing and choose font and size. Write the main idea. Click on multi-level numbering and define multiple level numbering then. Change the values. They should be A., I., 1. and so on (enter formatting for number). Choose number style for this number in I, II, III for the first level, A, B, C for the third level, and 1, 2, 3 for the third level. Now you can start writing.
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How to Write an Essay Outline: MLA and APA Styles
Outlining is a form of organization which is used among authors of all writing styles. The common organizational method allows writers to list all of their research and ideas in one place before the writing process starts. Understanding the general college essay outline can go a long way in getting your thoughts structured, as well as positive feedback from your professor. Take a look at this guide from our coursework writing services team to learn how to write an outline.
What Is an Outline?
An essay outline is one of the main planning methods when it comes to writing academic papers, scholarly articles, informative guides, novels, and encyclopedias. The everyday paper outline contains the headings: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. Every source is organized by relevance to strengthen the writing process. There are various formats when it comes to outlining, but the main formats required for a college essay outline is MLA and APA.
Regardless of whether you’re writing an MLA or APA outline, the organizational process remains the same with some minor differences. The main difference being APA uses abstracts, as it requires one or two sentences per line. APA is used for humanities, as MLA is used more for social studies. Other than that, the simple outline remains the same for any kind of academic paper structure.
How to Write an Outline?
The most common college essay is 5 paragraphs. Thus, an easy way to remember the general format of a writing plan is to think of it as planning a 5 paragraph essay outline where students would write an Introduction, Thesis, Body, and Conclusion. Then, fit a total of 5 paragraphs within the basic structure. The same practice can be done with planning, except rather than paragraphs, it’s notes. The exact same method would apply to an argumentative essay outline and any other kind of paper structure throughout and beyond college.
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The Key-Elements to Outlining
- Research & Notes: Before the writing process, it is essential to find credible sources and note them down. Search across credible websites, as well as academic search engines, Google Scholar or Oxford Academic, to find reliable references to include in an academic paper.
- Prioritize Your Thesis: As the thesis statement is a summary of the entire paper, start prioritizing it before working on the other sections of the outline. The thesis can guide you along the planning and writing process.
- Write Your Ideas: Assuming you have already written out the basic headings of an outline, write down all of the key points from your found sources in the Thesis and Body sections.
- Where to Include References: For cause and effect, AP English examinations, SAT essays, admission essays, along with other formal writing styles, all of the references are included in the body section. Excluding reflection paper and analytical papers, where it’s acceptable to include a citation within the introductory paragraph.
- Introduction: For most academic styles, the introduction is the opening line to the paper. Thus, it is essential to plan something catchy within the outline. As mentioned, writing styles, for example, reflection essay or analytical paper, allow for the use of citation as an opening.
- The Conclusion: The entire paper should be summarized in the final paragraph, restating the thesis in the first sentence, adding suggestions, predictions, and/or opinions in the sentences that follow. As for the final sentence, it should summarize the goal of the paper.
General Outline Format
Here is an outline format from our business essay writing services professionals:
- Essay Title:
- Student Name:
- Professor’s Name:
- Class (Optional)
- Opening Paragraph.
- Brief Description of the Entire Paper.
- Link Sentence to the First Body Paragraph.
Body Paragraph 1
- Explanation (Related to the Thesis).
- Link Sentence to the Second Body Paragraph.
Body Paragraph 2
- Link Sentence to the Third Body Paragraph.
Body Paragraph 3
- Link Sentence to the Conclusion.
- Summary of the Entire Paper.
- A Conclusive Sentence.
- Footnotes or Bibliography
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We understand that it may be difficult to differentiate between an MLA & APA Outline. The methods both depend on the referencing styles. APA outlining makes the use of abstracts, as MLA uses sentence citations. In an MLA outline, a title page is not necessary. As the APA referencing style requires it, include it on the outline. Take a look at an outline example below to get a better idea.
MLA Outline Example
- Introductory Sentence: Stonehenge is a vast hub for ancient history.
- Link Sentence to the Thesis: Standing 13 feet high, it is one of the oldest structures in the UK.
- Description of the Paper: The paper describes how Stonehenge was built and its purpose.
- First Argument/Claim: Stonehenge was built in 3001BC.
- Second Argument/Claim: Stonehenge is known to be a place for religious worship.
- Third Argument/Claim: Other Stonehenge-like structures exist around Europe.
- Reference: The circulation ditch around Stonehenge is believed to have been constructed around the year 3000BC, according to studies.
- Explanation/Claim: Around the end of stone-age, pagans got together and built the first segment to what has become stone-henge.
- Link Sentence: Which brings up the matter of belief.
- Reference: During the late Tudor era, most people believed that ancient Britons placed the stones for the sole purpose of religious practice.
- Explanation/Claim: From the late 2nd millennium AD to modern day, the practice of Paganism is the common explanation for the reason why stone-henge was built.
- Link Sentence: More evidence emerges regarding the mysterious structure.
- Reference: Around 1100 BC, Stonehenge-like stones emerged.
- Explanation/Claim : The structure is believed to have been built by migrants.
- Link Sentence:
- Summary of the Paper: Overall, the ancient stones have caused great interest throughout human history with science and assumptions.
- Conclusive Sentence: No one knows for sure how they were built.
- “History of Stonehenge” https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history-and-stories/history/
- “Why Was Stonehenge Built?” https://www.history.com/news/why-was-stonehenge-built
- “Stonehenge Is Not Alone: 7 Ancient Megaliths You've Never Seen.” https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/travel/stonehenge-not-alone-7-ancient-megaliths-youve-never-seen
APA Outline Example
- Title: The Dangers of Using Cell-Phones
- Student Name: Jake Smith
- Professor’s Name: Dr. Stephen Miller
- Class (Optional): Class of 2019
- Introductory Sentence: Mobile phones have taken a drastic effect on our daily lives in the worst possible way.
- Link Sentence to the Thesis: The everyday use of mobile technology has gone out of control.
- Description: The paper describes the regular dangers and negative effects on humans regarding cell-phone usage. The ordeal can be life-threatening, or simply socially depriving.
- First argument: High amounts of cell-phone usage results in negative health consequences.
- Second Argument: Cell-phone usage has a negative effect on human interaction.
- Third Argument: Texting while driving is worse than drinking and driving.
- Evidence/Reference: “Mobile phones communicate with base stations using radiofrequency (RF) radiation. If RF radiation is high enough, it has a ‘thermal’ effect, which means it raises body temperature. There are concerns that the low levels of RF radiation emitted by mobile phones could cause health problems such as headaches or brain tumors.” (“Mobile phones and your health”)
- Explanation/Claim: The radiation from phones possesses cancerous elements after long-term usage. In other words, one’s long-term cell-phone usage can put him or herself at risk of terminal illness, or worse. There is still a lack of evidence to this claim as cell-phones have not been around for very long.
- Link Sentence: Which brings us to how cell-phones are destroying human interaction.
- Evidence/Reference: “Sherry Turkle argues that the use of cell phones while in social situations affects the quality of human conversation. Turkle says that it makes people less open and honest in conversation. She also says it makes people less empathetic. She uses a school of children as an example, stating that the children do not seem to be able to understand each other or show empathy toward each other.” (“Cell-Phones and Human Interaction.”)
- Explanation/Claim: Mobile phone usage has gotten to the extent that humans are no longer communicating. Families go out to restaurants, cafes, and parks without interacting with each other due to their addiction to cell-phones. Humans have also possessed far less empathy compared with 15 years ago due to the missing interaction that could have been obtained during this time period. This shows mostly in school children who have been born into this way of life.
- Link Sentence: Apart from that, cell-phone usage while driving also comes with life-threatening risks.
- Evidence/Reference: “The Transport Research Laboratory found that motorists who use their mobile phone to send text messages (...) the research found, with steering control by texters 91 percent poorer than that of drivers devoting their full concentration to the road.” (“Texting while driving is more dangerous than drink-driving.” )
- Explanation/Claim: Using a mobile device while driving a motor vehicle has more of a drastic effect than drink-driving. On record, there have been more deaths around the world from text-driving and drink-driving.
- Link Sentence to the Conclusion: Humans are completely addicted to mobile phones, to the extent of dangerous driving, health-risks, and a lack of interaction.
- Summary of the Entire Paper: Restate the Thesis.
- Conclusive Sentence: The continuation of excessive usage of mobile phones is becoming a major threat to mankind in every aspect possible.
- “Mobile Phones and Your Health” https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/mobile-phones-and-your-health
- “Cell Phones and Human Interaction.” https://www.theodysseyonline.com/cell-phones-and-human-interaction
- “Texting While Driving Is More Dangerous Than Drink-Driving,” http://www.amta.org.au/articles/amta/Texting.while.driving.is.more.dangerous.than.drinkdriving
We also recommend reading The Divine Comedy Summary , our readers like it a lot, and it may also be helpful in writing essays.
Video Guide: How to Write an Essay Outline
Regardless of the writing style, the main essay format acts as a helping hand in multiple ways to any kind of author. Knowing the general plan of an essay can highly benefit those writing their everyday college paper or dissertation by having all of the ideas and references on a writing plan. For example, a persuasive essay outline does not differentiate from a research paper plan. Thus, knowing the general outline format can make producing academic papers far easier by simplifying the entire writing process. Sometimes when you start writing an essay, you may encounter various difficulties like not understanding the topic, lack of time, too tired. You may ask yourself "I want to pay someone to write my paper . Can anyone help me?" Sure! On EssayPro we can give you a hand! Just leave us a request and we'll help asap.
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Are you still having difficulty outlining? Our writers are here to give you a hand to create a well-structured essay outline with references and unique ideas included. Regardless of the subject, academic level, or outline format required, we have got you covered. Click on the button below if you have the " write research paper for me " request or need any other help.
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Types of Outlines and Samples
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This is the most common type of outline and usually instantly recognizable to most people. The formatting follows these characters, in this order:
- Roman Numerals
- Capitalized Letters
- Arabic Numerals
- Lowercase Letters
If the outline needs to subdivide beyond these divisions, use Arabic numerals inside parentheses and then lowercase letters inside parentheses. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.
The sample PDF in the Media Box above is an example of an outline that a student might create before writing an essay. In order to organize her thoughts and make sure that she has not forgotten any key points that she wants to address, she creates the outline as a framework for her essay.
What is the assignment?
Your instructor asks the class to write an expository (explanatory) essay on the typical steps a high school student would follow in order to apply to college.
What is the purpose of this essay?
To explain the process for applying to college
Who is the intended audience for this essay?
High school students intending to apply to college and their parents
What is the essay's thesis statement?
When applying to college, a student follows a certain process which includes choosing the right schools and preparing the application materials.
Full Sentence Outlines
The full sentence outline format is essentially the same as the Alphanumeric outline. The main difference (as the title suggests) is that full sentences are required at each level of the outline. This outline is most often used when preparing a traditional essay. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.
The decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline. The added benefit is a system of decimal notation that clearly shows how every level of the outline relates to the larger whole. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.
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How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline | Example
Published on August 7, 2022 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on November 29, 2022.
A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process , providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized.
A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to:
- Organize your thoughts
- Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related
- Ensure nothing is forgotten
A research paper outline can also give your teacher an early idea of the final product.
Table of contents
Research paper outline example, how to write a research paper outline, formatting your research paper outline, language in research paper outlines.
- Definition of measles
- Rise in cases in recent years in places the disease was previously eliminated or had very low rates of infection
- Figures: Number of cases per year on average, number in recent years. Relate to immunization
- Symptoms and timeframes of disease
- Risk of fatality, including statistics
- How measles is spread
- Immunization procedures in different regions
- Different regions, focusing on the arguments from those against immunization
- Immunization figures in affected regions
- High number of cases in non-immunizing regions
- Illnesses that can result from measles virus
- Fatal cases of other illnesses after patient contracted measles
- Summary of arguments of different groups
- Summary of figures and relationship with recent immunization debate
- Which side of the argument appears to be correct?
Follow these steps to start your research paper outline:
- Decide on the subject of the paper
- Write down all the ideas you want to include or discuss
- Organize related ideas into sub-groups
- Arrange your ideas into a hierarchy: What should the reader learn first? What is most important? Which idea will help end your paper most effectively?
- Create headings and subheadings that are effective
- Format the outline in either alphanumeric, full-sentence or decimal format
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There are three different kinds of research paper outline: alphanumeric, full-sentence and decimal outlines. The differences relate to formatting and style of writing.
An alphanumeric outline is most commonly used. It uses Roman numerals, capitalized letters, arabic numerals, lowercase letters to organize the flow of information. Text is written with short notes rather than full sentences.
- Sub-point of sub-point 1
Essentially the same as the alphanumeric outline, but with the text written in full sentences rather than short points.
- Additional sub-point to conclude discussion of point of evidence introduced in point A
A decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline, but with a different numbering system: 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc. Text is written as short notes rather than full sentences.
- 1.1.1 Sub-point of first point
- 1.1.2 Sub-point of first point
- 1.2 Second point
To write an effective research paper outline, it is important to pay attention to language. This is especially important if it is one you will show to your teacher or be assessed on.
There are four main considerations: parallelism, coordination, subordination and division.
Parallelism: Be consistent with grammatical form
Parallel structure or parallelism is the repetition of a particular grammatical form within a sentence, or in this case, between points and sub-points. This simply means that if the first point is a verb , the sub-point should also be a verb.
Example of parallelism:
- Include different regions, focusing on the different arguments from those against immunization
Coordination: Be aware of each point’s weight
Your chosen subheadings should hold the same significance as each other, as should all first sub-points, secondary sub-points, and so on.
Example of coordination:
- Include immunization figures in affected regions
- Illnesses that can result from the measles virus
Subordination: Work from general to specific
Subordination refers to the separation of general points from specific. Your main headings should be quite general, and each level of sub-point should become more specific.
Example of subordination:
Division: break information into sub-points.
Your headings should be divided into two or more subsections. There is no limit to how many subsections you can include under each heading, but keep in mind that the information will be structured into a paragraph during the writing stage, so you should not go overboard with the number of sub-points.
Ready to start writing or looking for guidance on a different step in the process? Read our step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper .
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Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.
For in-text citations, cite the book by the author’s last name and the page number where you found the information using either attributive tags or parenthetical citation; the end-of-text citation on the Works Cited page should read (includ...
A preliminary outline for a research paper is an organized list of topics to be included in the research paper along with notes under each topic about the details to be written in the paper. Outlines can also be completed with charts and in...
How to Create an Outline · Place your thesis statement at the beginning. · List the major points that support your thesis. Label them in Roman
To start with your research paper outline in Word, start a new document. Click on no spacing and choose font and size. Write the main idea.
To write an MLA outline, draft your thesis statement and place it at the beginning of the paper. The major points to support your thesis should be listed and
General Outline Format · Evidence/Reference. · Explanation (Related to the Thesis). · Link Sentence to the Second Body Paragraph.
Phrase of specific support/details/examples/statistics.
This sample follows the style guidelines in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. (2009). Sample Outline for an MLA Paper (Orlov).
Demonstration on how to format an outline in Word in MLA format. ... Creating an Outline for an Essay or Research Paper in MS Word.
This goes over how to do an MLA style outline for the English Honors 9 research paper. The example in the video is incomplete
Video that describes how to set-up an outline with proper formatting using Microsoft Word.
The full sentence outline format is essentially the same as the Alphanumeric outline.
How to write a research paper outline · Decide on the subject of the paper · Write down all the ideas you want to include or discuss · Organize