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How to Choose a Format for a Research Paper Outline

A research paper outline sorts and organizes discussion points for your paper. You can make your own outline using a basic structure or use a sample available online. Understanding the basic idea behind an outline will help you find a suitable form to follow. It is important to make sure your outline includes sections and other details related to your topic. The outline will help you research your topic and write your paper.

Consider Guidelines and Instructions for Your Research Paper

Your research paper may have guidelines you are expected to follow presented by your instructor. If your guidelines do not state how to format your paper ask your instructor. Your instructor may want you to follow a specific format based on information you will be required to mention in your paper. Most research papers will follow the APA or MLA formatting style. Even if you are not required to use either style, it is important to review specifics with your instructor. This may include the need for a title page, reference page, and necessary headings/subheadings your paper will include.

Get Ideas from Sample Outlines Available Online

Accessing sample outlines is a great way to get ideas on how to format your own paper. There are illustrations and pictures of different outline styles online. You can review them and select something that will fit the needs of your assignment. You will notice there are various options to consider. Some are created for content based on academic subject or career interest. Few students find them helpful since they decide to adopt the format they come across. Or, they find something suitable that will help them make their own to use.

Making an Outline to Suit Your Needs

Your best bet may be to make an outline. You can do this based on guidelines given for the assignment. On a piece of paper or on the computer with a blank document, you can list headings and subheadings in the order they will appear on your final paper. Leave space between each heading and consider labeling the paper based on sections you will be required to mention. Underneath each heading or subheading you can mention supporting points you want to discuss. Your outline may include a title page and reference page if these are required.

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