After you’ve submitted a research proposal and had it approved, you’ll need to create an outline for the paper, most likely following the outline. When you create an outline for a research paper, you’re creating a general plan that you intend to follow in the presentation of the speech or paper. An outline will show what order the topics will be discussed, the importance of each topic and how it is relevant to the paper’s central idea, and what, if any, relationships the paper’s different topics have to each other.
This video explains how to use headings in a paper as well as how to modify MS Word's out-of-the-box styles for each heading. If you don't use MS Word, you can still use the same principles discussed to manually create headings and subheadings.
Both types of outlines follow very strict formats, and use Roman and Arabic numbers in addition to small and capital letters of the alphabet. This enables the writer and reader to easily follow the organization of the paper. There is no specific rule for what type of research paper outline format you should use, as that greatly depends on and length of the paper, and you should choose the one you feel would work best for your paper.
There are several ways to create outlines for research papers as there are so many variations from paper to paper. It is important to make your outline as detailed as possible so that you have an easy ‘map’ to follow when writing your actual paper. In order to make the outline readable, you will use numeration and indentation to organize your thoughts and ideas.
*A sentence outline is written in full sentences, and is typically used when a paper has focus mainly on more complex ideas and topics. A sentence outline is very useful for this type of paper because the sentences used to create the outline have a lot f the details within themselves, so the sentences can be inclusive of those details instead of having to create an outline with a lot of short phrases, which would result in an outline that could go on for pages. For example, you would probably use this when creating a science research paper outline as you would probably have a lot of details and ideas.
If you’re still unclear as to , take a look at this full example for a research paper on William Shakespeare. Take note of the way everything is divided and how numbers and letters are used to further break down ideas until a full picture of the main topic is achieved.
Headings are used based on the level of subordination for example, Section headings will be use level one formatting and its subsections will be in level two format. Level Three format is used for subsections of subsections and so on. The introduction section does not get a heading in APA Style and letters or numbers are not used to indicate heading levels. Number of levels of headings will be determined by the structure and length of your research paper.
When creating a research paper outline, your attempt should be to create a parallel structure, meaning that all of your headings should match stylistically, linguistically, and in appearance. Essentially you’re attempting to make every heading ‘equal’ and also making sure that the same tense and style is used in each heading. Here is a short that demonstrates parallelism:
The APA Style has five heading levels to divide and organize the sections of your paper. Guidelines for formatting of heading styles was revised and simplified in the 6th edition of the APA manual. Heading levels should always be used in order with formatting as follows:
When you type your APA formatted paper, you should type it double spaced on standard paper with one inch margins. You should use a 10-12 pt. Times New Roman font, and a page header should be on every page.
An outline is a formal plan that helps the writer think about the central idea or theme and helps provide organization for the paper. You can use outlines to verify whether your ideas connect to each other, to determine what order works best for the paper, or to figure out if you have enough evidence to validate every point you intend on making in your paper. No matter what kind of paper you’re writing, a research paper outline can be extremely helpful in creating an overall picture of your paper.
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Different types of writings and citation styles might call for you to use headings and subheadings within your paper to help divide information. It's important to use clear and consistent wording in headings, as well as use headings to highlight significant information.