3 Types of an Outline for Your Research Paper

3 Kinds of Research Paper Outline Types

When tasked with writing a research paper, your typical thought process may not include the creation of an outline. Typically, students are given a topic and instructed to research thoroughly while providing their findings. Alternatively, learners may be required to write an expository essay to inform the reader on a specific topic further. After all, the purpose of a research paper is to add knowledge to an area of research.

As such, the outline you create may not be significant to the paper’s overall structure. However, a well-written research paper is significantly affected by its outline. This is because your framework offers the learner a chance to ensure the structure of the article mirrors its content. An outline plays a significant role in ensuring that the paper follows the correct structure.

Categories of Research Paper Outline

Do you want to know the distinct outline types for a research paper? Here are the 3 categories:

Procedural Outline

In this category, the student starts with an idea and determines the steps they need to take to achieve the intended results. For instance, you could be given a research question to address. You then proceed to state all the necessary steps required to carry out the investigation.

Ideally, you need to ensure that the structure of your research paper mirrors the procedural outline. For instance, each chapter should begin with a topic sentence and end with a comprehensive conclusion. All the wording and details applicable in the piece should also be in the framework. Alternatively, if you are writing a report, ensure that all paragraphs adhere to the appropriate format.

Analytical Outline

Can you predict with certainty what will be found in your research paper? If so, then an analysis outline is most appropriate for you. For starters, the framework will help you capture all the information applicable in the research. As such, the analysis outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas into a cohesive structure.

Moreover, the framework you create should explicitly demonstrate to the teacher how you plan to analyze the data you have collected. Consequently, the learner should not rely on their understanding of the subject to formulate an analytic outline.

Formal Outline

Are you required to write a formal research paper? The structure should mirror that of a standard academic paper. However, the kind of formal outline you use depends on your research paper’s nature. If you are writing an informative essay, then you do not require a formal outline.

However, if you are working on a research paper that intends to argue or persuade the reader, you need to pay attention to the format you use. For instance, it would be best if you incorporated quotes into your outline to support your arguments.