A Definitive Guide to Preparing an Outline before Writing Your Paper


Is preparing an outline important at all? Well, an outline is considered to be the blueprint or plan for your research paper. Also, it helps you to organize your thoughts and arguments for the research. Additionally, it makes conducting the research and writing the research paper very efficient.

Before writing your research paper, preparing and creating the outline is the first thing you should do. Therefore, after deciding what your research is going to be about, the next course of action should be to establish the scope and limitation of your research. This provides the foundation of your research paper outline.

A research outline provides a means of organizing and arranging your information in a logical and hierarchical order. Also, they help you keep track of a large amount of information in the course of the research. Plus, they help to make sure that each paragraph in your paper is serving a specific purpose.

As an outline is a skeleton of the real research paper, you must prepare one before writing your research paper. Also, it serves as a guide through the whole possess and proving you have the scientific aptitudes to solve core issues. An outline also serves as a source of a reminder to include all the necessary information in your research paper.

A research paper outline can either be formal or informal.

Guide to Preparing an Outline for Your Research Paper

Research outline

An outline for a research paper consists of three main parts which are as follows


In academic or scientific writing, the introduction is an important and compulsory part. Also, it helps to determine if a reader will continue reading your paper or just leave it. The introduction should be intriguing, informative, and engaging. Also, they should not give away too much of the information in the paper.

The introduction should contain the reason why you chose the topic. Also, it should explain the significance of the research. Ultimately, your introduction should give your readers the major point the rest of the paper will covering and how you intend to cover it.

A typical introduction should have three main points which are

prepare an outline before writing The hook:

This is the part of the introduction that should persuade readers to want to read the paper. Plus, it should be provoking and interesting.

prepare an outline before writing Defining your audience:

This is the portion of the introduction, where you explain to the reader why they are your target audience. Making the introduction relatable to your target audience.

prepare an outline before writing Research statement:

This is where you make it clear what you intend to discuss in your research paper and why it is important. Also, it is expected to be simple, clear, and concise but not dull.


The body of your research paper is the part where you will be presenting all the arguments in your research paper. Also, it is the main part of the research paper outline and, therefore, has no volume limitation. Here, the rule of 3 must be adhered to, where you find three supporting arguments for every position you take.

All the evidence you have gathered during the research should be presented here. Also, valid references and proper citations should be the core characteristics of the body. The tone and style you have used to start the paper right from the introduction should be continued in the body.

The body of the research paper is expected to have

prepare an outline before writing The literature review:

This should show the theories, constructs, and concepts relating to the research.

prepare an outline before writing The method:

This part should talk about the research method in which the research is being carried out.

prepare an outline before writing The result and discussion:

This is where you describe the finding in the research and give your thoughts about the results.


The conclusion should be where the summary of all the arguments are summarized to arrive at a final position. Also, they are written to help readers understand and digest the main arguments. The conclusion should not be too long but must contain all the essential parts.

The conclusion should have two main points

prepare an outline before writing Summary of your arguments:

This is where you restate your arguments without needing to give a detail explanation

prepare an outline before writing Recommendation:

This is the very end of the research paper, where you try to provoke your readers and other researchers to an action or a discussion.

When trying to prepare an outline for your research paper, you should know it has to consist of these three main parts.

Tips for Writing a Formal Research Paper Outline

prepare an outline before writing Consistency

When preparing the outline for a research paper, make sure you are consistent with the heading. Also, the heading must be written in a similar tone, either stating the topic or writing a short sentence but never both.

prepare an outline before writing Organization

The information in the outline should be organized. Also, the higher-level organizations get more generally stated while the supporting levels become more specific.

prepare an outline before writing Support

The main ideas in your outline should have two or more supporting topics. This is to ensure that your research paper has enough information to support the main idea you are presenting.

prepare an outline before writing Review and readjust

After coming up with your research paper outline, it is also important to review to see if there has been an error and adjust if need be.

Why Do You Need to Prepare an Outline for Your Research Paper?

A research paper can help

  • Prevent the writer’s block, as the outline will show you where you are going and how to arrive at the destination. The outline shows you the goal to achieve in each section.
  • Calibrate your writing. An outline will help prevent you from drifting into areas unrelated to your research.
  • Stay organized as an outline is a guide to follow. It helps you logically write your research paper.
  • Stay motivated. An outline is mostly written when you are excited about the research so that you would include everything needed in the research paper.
  • To know when a certain aspect of your research paper should have been accomplished. An outline can serve as a schedule to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

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By Bizhan Romani

Dr. Bizhan Romani has a PhD in medical virology. When it comes to writing an article about science and research, he is one of our best writers. He is also an expert in blogging about writing styles, proofreading methods, and literature.

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