A Guide on Composing a College Research Paper Outline

College research paper outline

Part of the academic journey of any tertiary student is knowing how to develop a college research paper outline. It gives your thesis or dissertation a structure from which you can write. A research paper outline has three main components; the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Besides this basic structure, there are wordings, research templates, and guidelines students must adhere to for a good research paper. Our professional research paper writers have written this guideline to help you understand the concepts, mastering and composing research papers. They can also draft the college research paper outline for you.

A good writer needs to understand the structure of a college research paper outline. It helps them to prevent a dead end, especially with technical courses. In this article, our expert writers discuss what a research paper outline is, what it contains, and what it should look like. You will understand the main aims of the college research paper outline and its main concepts. 

The Goals and Concepts of a College Research Paper Outline

The importance of a college research paper outline is to simplify the writing process. It highlights the primary ideas of the research paper awaiting its confirmation. Once noted, it’s essential to put some time aside to develop the content, do the primary research, and note any critical issues.

Research paper outlines aren’t detailed. The system gives way to the amalgamation of the study review. The author will not repeat their words and will stick to the logical flow and help provided by the outline. Assignments given will not require an essay outline; if the project exceeds more than 1000 words length-wise, the professors usually accept the research paper by default. For example, an essay containing five paragraphs usually requires an outline. Developing a 1000 – word essay without a research paper outline will suffice. A research paper outline will always depend on the type of structure of the academic essay.

College Research Paper Outline in MLA

MLA is one of the easiest and most commonly used research paper formats. MLA (modern language association) brought out a proposal on this guide long ago, which is used to cite professionals’ work from the below categories 

  • Literary comparative analysis 
  • Literature 
  • Cultural studies 
  • Anthropology and history 
  • Foreign language
  • English composition 
  • Literary criticism 

Always begin with the primary headings using the upper–case Roman numerals. Whenever the paper is lengthy with different sections and subsections, the person writing, whether a student or any other professional, should always use letters and numbers for the different subheadings.

Make a draft and adequately arrange things in the correct order. Research and write the final research paper using the outline as a guide. The outline is inconclusive, and the writer needs to continue developing the plot to enhance the research paper.

How College Professors Help in Crafting a College Research Paper Outline

  1. What tool does the writer use? To create a document, the writer should ensure that the different outline levels correspond to each other’s headings. Many professors prefer the DOCS format.
  2. Changing the MLA writing guide – Before coming up with a research paper, read the most recently released version and observe if there are any recent changes in the manual.

APA College Research Paper Outline Mastering.

The APA format is commonly in argumentative research papers, making it more complicated than MLA. The Psychological Association of America established it. Students and professionals in the following fields use the APA assay format:

  • Social sciences 
  • Psychology 
  • Humanities
  • Education 
  • Nursing and Healthcare

Some other specific fields also apply the APA essay writing format at some point. We have provided a sample of a winning APA outline format example. 

An example of how to create an APA outline

  • Title and abstract.
  • Introduction – the hook, background, thesis statement
  • Body paragraphs – the method, the results, decisions, and conclusions.

Appendixes and References

Structural Details of the APA Research Paper Outline

An Outline

There are three essential elements that you should consider in the essay paper. 

The Cover Page

It is the opening section that always introduces the crucial details. About 60 characters are the recommended length of the title. On the title, you should not miss out on this information as it must be evident,

  • Your name in full 
  • The name of the professor 

The team you were part of (if they were any)

The date of submission 


The summary part is an integral part of a research paper. College affiliates call it an abstract. For such kind of text, the length should be 250 -300 words or less; this will make up about a quarter of a page. In this section, the student should bring in the findings that are their main aim and also a simple conclusion.


Professional writers always advise one to do the background research of a paper. It is advisable to explain why the task is essential and why it is supposed to be discussed. Always note and talk about the results you have found during your research and air out a hypothesis of what should be included in the introductory part. Always mention the thesis statement.


Put down the techniques, tools, and equipment used when gathering data. In this section, you make a replica of the investigations, and this is where each step is noted down. The main aim of this section is to give way to other scientists who also have interests in the same topic for further investigation.

The Results and Discussion (R&D)

In most scenarios, professional writers will gather the results and combine them with the discussions in one section. You should always start by giving out what you learned from the study. Then interpret each statement’s meaning to society and give a small synopsis of the essential things. It can be done by providing statistical figures and adding visual components such as graphs and images. You can also offer an appendix.


In this part, it is necessary to add the following:

  • Summarized results 
  • A thesis statement that has already been summarized 
  • The research papers’ value 
  • Ways on how the finds will be implemented 
  • What should be done for a better change 
  • The references 

In accordance with the paper format illustrated, develop a list of references. Every time you cite a thing or two, note where you got it from on a separate paper. By doing this, you save time and speed up the process.

The Things That You Should Always Put in Your Mind

  • An outline is just like a blueprint to follow in writing. 
  • Make sure your outline is more than 1000 words in your assignment. 
  • Always your outline should contain three main components: the introduction and the body ending with a conclusion.
  • You should always read the latest version to equate yourself with the latest changes. 
  • Always outline your format depending on the type example, MLA and APA. 

Do you Need Help with A College Research Paper Outline?

You can check out the free research paper example: composing an Attention-grabbing Resume! The provided example is written in APA format. 

If you need any guidance, reach out on our page for assistance. Our customer care is on standby 24/7, ready to help you with your college research paper outline.

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