Research Paper Outline Writing Help


(Updated on January 18, 2020)

A sample essay outline is a model text distributed to students so that they may study the proper way to write outlines of their own.  Sample essay outlines are often provided by teachers.  They may also be distributed by writing resource centers and writing assistance Web sites.  Sample essay outlines are different from other types of example outlines in that they're specifically geared toward the structure and content of essays; students should avoid using outlines for other academic texts, as the conventions of those texts may be much different.

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A sample essay outline demonstrates the general construction of a report outline, which is a sketch of the content of a text that's often completed in phrases rather than in full sentences.  An outline is essentially a blueprint of a text, in the sense that it indicates the general ideas that will be explored but doesn't necessarily provide all the details.  Outlines are typically completed so that writers can organize their thoughts and arrange those thoughts into a structure that best suits their understanding and organization.  Sample essay outlines indicate the arrangement and structure of a report outline.

Research Paper Outline Writing HelpSample essay outlines will be broken down into three primary components: introduction, development, and conclusion.  The introduction will list in bullet points the major information that will be included in the introductory paragraph or paragraphs.  This will include the paper's thesis statement and any necessary background or contextualizing information regarding the topic.  Typically, the background or contextualizing information will precede the thesis statement.  Thus, the introduction component of a sample essay outline may look like this:

I) Introduction
a.  Identification of the topic
b.  Background/contextualizing information about the topic
c.  Statement of thesis

The second component of the example report outline will break down the components of the development section.  This is the longest and most complex section of any report, as this is the part of the paper that develops, explores, and defends the thesis statement.  A sample essay outline will show students a general structure for making points about the thesis.  It may look as follows:

II) Development
a.  Point One
i.  Assertion of point
ii.  Explanation of point
iii.  Defense of validity of point
b.  Point Two
i.  Assertion of point
ii.  Explanation of point
iii.  Defense of validity of point

The development section will continue with as many points as the writer wishes to make.
The final component of a sample essay outline is the conclusion.  It comments on the thesis in a way that synthesizes the information presented and arrives at a conclusion.  A possible structure for the conclusion of a sample essay outline may be as follows:

III) Conclusion
a.  Synthesis of points made in essay
b.  Comment on what these points mean for the thesis
c.  Closing remarks

Sample essay outlines will often use an actual topic-based example rather than presenting a generic outline such as the one above.  In such outlines, the sub-points made in each section would be replaced with actual project ideas.

How to Write a Research Paper Outline

Many students learning how to author reports will benefit from first learning how to write a research paper outline.  Research paper outlines are detailed plans of an paper's organization and content.  They contain, in brief form, most of the important information that the report will include and present it in the order in which the information will appear in the project itself.  Therefore, the process of learning how to write research paper outlines is good preparation for completing research papers because it forces the student to organize his/her information in a coherent and academic fashion.

There are varying approaches regarding how to write a research paper outline.  However, most of these approaches involve organizing the outline in a general-to-specific order.  In other words, the outline should begin by providing background information about the topic and presenting the writer's thesis—her main point or argument about that topic—before proceeding to provide detailed information or specific claims.  This background information should be the first item of the outline, and should be labeled "1 (or I, if Roman numerals are preferred) Introduction."  This is the first item of the outline because the introduction will be the first component of the document.

After section 1 or I, there will be one or more sections that constitute the development component of the report outline.  The development will turn into the main body of the document—the largest and most detailed part of the report, in which the student's thesis is explored and defended.  The number of sections for the development component of the outline will depend on the number of primary categories the report will contain.  For instance, if the report were on global warming and the thesis were that "there are simple things businesses can do to counter the effects of global warming," there would likely be separate development sections in the outline for each of the student's major points about the things businesses can do.  For instance, the student may have a section titled "Reducing Business Waste," another on "Using Renewable Energy," and another on "Providing Incentives to Employees to Be Green."

It is common for students learning how to write research paper outlines to correctly determine the main subjects , but then neglect to fill out the information that will be discussed in those sections.  Each main section should contain several points that will contribute to the development of that particular section and, thereby, the thesis.  For instance, under the section "Reducing Business Waste," the student may discuss implementing recycling and composting programs, looking for ways to reduce fuel and water consumption, and eliminating excess materials.

Often, students who are learning how to write research paper outlines fail to note where they're going to cite sources of investigation.  A research paper outline differs from an outline for a document in that it needs to indicate where secondary sources are going to be discussed.  A research paper is, after all, based on research.  It will therefore rely on research for the development of most of its points.  The outline should note where this research will be discussed by including the last name of the author or authors who will be cited in each particular section.  Thus, a partial outline may look as follows:

  1. Introduction
    1. Background of global warming (Smith; Michaels; Alexander)
    2. Contributions of businesses to global warming (Gore; Elsit)
    3. Thesis statement: "There are simple things businesses can do to counter the effects of global warming."
  2. Reducing Business Waste
    1. Implementing recycling program (Green Living; Gary)
    2. Implementing composting program (Ecosave; Carter)
    3. Reducing fuel consumption (Nelson; Greens; Tuli)
    4. Reducing water consumption (Committee on Conservation)
    5. Eliminating excess (Neils; Gurue; Trand)

Students should know that there's no "right" or "wrong" approach to how to write a research paper outline.  It is for the student's use only; therefore, the focus should be on getting the information down in an organized fashion so that the student can then complete a reference project.  The outline need not be a perfect text.

Research Paper Outline Help

When completing a research paper outline, you're essentially laying out your plans for your rough draft.  Nonetheless, the outline writing process shouldn't be taken lightly, as there are very specific rules that you must follow when writing the outline.

The first rule when completing an outline is the format, which should look something like:

  1. Topic
    1. Division of Topic
    2. Division of Topic
    3. Division of Topic
  2. Topic
    1. Division of Topic
    2. Division of Topic
    3. Division of Topic
  3. Topic
    1. Division of Topic
    2. Division of Topic
    3. Division of Topic

When writing the topic sentences for each of the Roman numerals, you must be certain to implement proper parallelism.  In other words, if you start the topic in Roman numeral I with a verb, all of the other topics begin with a verb at the beginning, as well.

The topics that you write in each of the Roman numerals will essentially be the topic sentences for the paragraphs in your completed paper.  The "Division of Topic" sections, on the other hand, are the details that you'll add in that paragraph to help support the topic or to further illustrate the topic.

When it comes to dividing the topic in your research paper outline, there are no concrete rules regarding the number of points you make.  For the most part, however, you should strive for anywhere from three to five points to support the topic.  If you find that you have more points than this, it might be a sign that the topic needs to be divided into two separate topics rather than just one.

If you successfully create your research paper outline, writing the actual essay will be far easier.  This is because writing the report outline serves several purposes.  These include:

  • Getting your ideas organized
  • Putting the material in a logical format
  • Drawing connections between the ideas and finding relationships
  • Defining the boundaries of different groups or categories within the report
  • Aiding in the writing process

Since writing the report outline requires you to have the basic information that will be included (while also forcing you to put the information in sequential order), you'll find that the document essentially writes itself after you have constructed the outline.  In fact, all you really need to do is take the ideas you wrote about and put them into a written format while adding more details.

If you're required to complete a research paper outline and you're still struggling with the concept, you might wish to create a rough draft first and then translate that into an outline.

Dissertation Outline Writing

A dissertation outline is intended to serve as an organizational design for a writer so that all of the necessary information for a university report is included and presented in the most easily understood way.  Such documents are very long texts; therefore, dissertation outlines can be several and even dozens of pages.  In this way, a dissertation outline is quite different from an essay or research paper outline.  Because dissertations are such long documents and are completed over several months or even years, the report outline serves as both the basic structure of the work-in-progress and also the record of the writer's evolving ideas.

A dissertation outline should be organized by dissertation chapter.  Within each of those chapters, learners should create sub-headings based on the requirements of their department and/or field.  For instance, if the student's department dictates that chapter one must present a list of hypotheses, an explanation of the purpose of the study, and a definition of the terms used in the study, the report outline should have a sub-category for each of these topics.  The creation of the sub-categories should be done before the outline is filled in.  This way, the learner will always know what information he/she has left to complete.

Within each sub-category, the student should list bullet points, or even sentences and paragraphs, of topics to address within that sub-category.  It is likely that some of the sub-categories will have dozens of points to be made.  Sometimes, these points themselves may have sub-categories.

Throughout the creation of dissertation outlines, learners should pause periodically to consider where relevant research studies must be cited.  It is best for the student to map out this research in the outline so it's not forgotten in the process of composing the document.  Wherever research should be included, learners should note this in the outline by indicating the last name of the research author.

In addition to mapping out places that need research, dissertation outlines should also plan places in the text that need elucidation through the use of tables and figures.  These should be indicated by inserting a "T" or "F."

A dissertation outline should also include a working list of references.  There are sometimes hundreds of references for a dissertation; therefore, it's best to create and maintain the references section throughout the course of the entire dissertation process.

Outline for an Essay

In order to complete an effective and thoughtful essay, learners should follow a fairly standardized series of steps.  One of the most important steps is for students to complete an outline that makes it easy for them to not only understand what content they will include, but also easier for them to develop solid flow in the work.

Regardless of the type of assignment that a student is creating (and there are many different types), the outline for an essay helps to ensure that it will be well-written.  There are many different ways to write outlines for essays, depending on the student's preference and how far along he/she is in the research process.

In order to complete an effective outline for an essay, the student should first perform a large amount of research into the topic and subject.  This research should be notated in a journal that the student keeps along the process.  Many students will begin to develop a rough outline for an essay as they perform their research.

After a student has completed his/her research, he/she should develop the rough outline.  This outline will basically include information about what the student wants to include and where that information may fall.  This initial outline basically helps the student to think about the content and structure.

Once the student has a rough outline, he/she can revisit his/her research notes in order to fill in the gaps within the document.  Many students will spend several days or weeks (depending on the size of the report) developing several outlines.  After all, essay outlines are easier to edit than the report itself, so developing a thoughtful outline can make the overall writing process easy and streamlined.

While there are several different ways to complete an outline for an essay, students need to keep in mind that an outline isn't the same thing as research notes.  An essay outline provides a very clear structure for the flow and content.  Research notes provide the material that the learner will use to complete the final document.  Notes will not suffice as an essay outline, even when the notes are thorough and well organized.

Outline for a Term Paper

One thing is certain for all levels of academic study and for all subjects of academic study: students will need to write term papers at many points in their careers.  In order to do so effectively, the writing must be organized, have good flow, and contain a suitable amount of information to make the report informative and easy to read.  To that end, students often need to complete an outline for the term paper before they begin writing the project itself.

An outline for term paper documents provides a basic road map that students can use to complete a term paper efficiently and with confidence.  The outline for term papers is a simple document that helps students to organize their thoughts, research, and the project itself.  By using an outline, learners can write confidently, knowing that topic they will address and where.

In order to create a thorough outline for term paper documents, students need to first perform a suitable amount of research into the topic about which they will write the document.  The term paper outline shouldn't be the first step in creating the report in any situation.  However, once students have performed their research, they can begin to piece together the outline for term paper structure by deciding which information should go where and how it will be connected.

Some people prefer to begin their outline for term papers with a skeleton outline, in which they simply provide an overview of what information will go where.  Next, they may improve the outline for term papers by inserting additional details into the various sections .  These details may include specific sentences that the learner will use in the report or specific structure for the paragraphs and sections.

The student should expect to revise the outline for term papers many times before he/she feels comfortable writing the first draft.  It is much easier to revise an outline than to revise an entire term paper, especially when it comes to paragraph placement and the amount of information a student will include.

An outline for term paper documents is different from the research a student performs.  Students often perform research and take notes in notebooks.  These notes may seem organized and many learners create their documents based solely on the notes and on a loose structure that they store in their heads.  However, in order to create a truly effective and well-flowing term paper, students need to create the outline for term papers before they begin writing, but after they perform their research.

Writing a Thesis Outline

A thesis outline it's a document that the student creates in order to complete his/her assignment.  Thesis outlines should be complete and thorough representations of what the learner will write about.  There are many ways that a student can create a thesis outline.  For example, the student can receive help from a professional writer to create the thesis outline or he/she can work with the professor to ensure correct and accurate work.

In order to create a proper thesis outline, learners should first research the topic about which they will create the thesis.  Students should then compile and notes so that they can understand exactly what they will write their document about before they began creating the thesis outline.  Thesis outlines should provide thorough road maps for how the learner will create the document.  Once the thesis outlines are complete, learners can begin to fill in the report on their own.

A thesis outlined should begin with an introduction paragraph.  The introduction paragraph should include a thesis statement thesis statement is a one-sentence statement about what the learner will write about.  At each body paragraph should support the thesis statement with new information or ideas.

By having a thorough outline for the report, students will be able to complete the report knowing that the flow and format are correct.  Thesis outlines therefore may take a while to produce accurately.  Students may also want their professors to review their paper outlines before they can begin writing the document.

Each thesis outline should also be completed with the conclusion about which the report has been completed.  It is normal for students to write the entire introductory paragraph and the entire conclusion paragraph in the thesis outline.  Many students have their teachers review their introductory statements and conclusion statements in that form.

The thesis outline is different from the body of data collection.  A body of research is often compiled and in a notebook or in another form that's easy for a learner to review and make notes on when he/she goes about writing his/her documents.  However, the research must be completed before the student and began writing the thesis outline.  The thesis outline, therefore, is an entirely separate task than the thesis research and hypothesis writing.

Writing a Book Report Outline

Students in all grade levels will have to write book reports ("novel critiques" or "story reviews") from time to time as part of their normal academic assignments.  In order to complete an effective and well-written story review, learners should begin by completing a book report outline.  However, in order to complete a well-formatted outline, learners should first understand the purpose.

Many students believe that a book report is a writing assignment for lower level English classes.  For example, they may have had to write story reviews for a middle school class in order to prove to a teacher that they actually read a book.  However, students in all courses and at all grade levels may have to complete a novel review for a variety of reasons.

One of the reasons that many professors assign novel critiques is so that they can require their students to read a particular work.  By having to complete a novel critique, learners will not only focus on the work that they need to read, but they will also process the information in a meaningful manner, which will help to ensure that they understand the book they have had to read.  Some professors also require learners to write book reports simply to prove to the professors that they actually read the book that they were assigned.

Regardless of the reason for the novel critique assignment, students tend to get better grades and to write more effective projects if they begin the process with a project outline.  Book report outlines basically provide the road map that helps students to develop their drafts of the story reviews.

In order to complete an effective project outline, learners should read the book that they have been assigned.  They should also take notes as they read about important themes and ideas that they want to discuss.  When they develop the novel critique outline, they should refer to these notes.

Book report outlines should contain clear sections, including the introduction, body, and conclusion.  These sections should each have a small amount of information in them in the novel critique outlines so that students can remember which points they want to include where in the actual story review.

Even when project outlines are very comprehensive and contain detailed information that the student wants to include , a project outline isn't the same thing as the first draft of a novel review.  Only after a student has complete his/her assignment outline should he/she begin the first draft.

Outline for a Research Paper

When a student has to complete a report, he/she should always include an outline for a research paper as a step in the writing process.  The outline for a research paper can not only make the actual writing process faster and more efficient, but it can also help to ensure that students are able to include all of the important information that they would like (in a manner that flows well).

There are many different ways to create outlines for reports.  However, learners can only create outlines for research papers once they have performed a certain amount of data collection.  The first step in writing any report, of course, requires that the student understand the topic and requirements for the document.  Next, the student needs to research that topic.  Only after the research has been performed can the student truly understand what he/she wishes about which to write.

The outline for a research paper can be revised many times, just like the actual draft for a reference project.  However, outlines for research papers generally help learners to organize their thoughts and their research.  There are two types of outlines that students may wish to write (or they can write both).  The first is a skeleton outline.  The second is a detailed outline.  Many students begin with a skeleton outline and fill it in by completing a detailed outline before the first draft.

A skeleton outline uses only keywords to summarize the different sections that the learner will create.  For example, the section for one paragraph might only contain a keyword related to the topic of the paragraph.  The student may then use sub-bullets to explain the specific information in the paragraph with keywords.

A detailed outline will provide full sentences or phrases to lend more depth and body.  Detailed outlines for research papers might also contain a full introduction and conclusion.  The words in the introduction and conclusion may change as the student writes the assignment, though.

The outline for a research paper isn't the same as the notes that a student may keep which regards to his/her research.  Many students try to write projects based on their notes alone.  However, if those notes aren't organized or are too meaty, then students may have a hard time organizing and breaking down their thoughts.  Therefore, learners should use their notes to create an outline that will help them to form the structure and flow of the work.

Term Paper Outline

A term paper is a large assignment that can become unwieldy without proper organization.  It is therefore extremely beneficial for writers to compose a term paper outline before beginning the writing process.  Term paper outlines allow learner to view a blueprint of the report before investing time in composition.  This can help students to determine various possible structures that the report can take.

A term paper outline will vary greatly from an essay outline.  This is because a report is far longer and more complex than an paper, and will likely include several important components and significant secondary research.  It is likely that term paper outlines will be several pages.

The first step in making a term paper outline is to determine the primary sections the report will take.  Think of the report as a book, and the primary sections as the chapters of the book.  A report should generally have no more than five major sections; otherwise, the paper is likely tackling too much information in too brief of a form.  The main sections will be the primary organizational components of the outline.

Within each major section, the report outline should have a list of the important points that need to be covered in order to fully explain and explore the topic of that section.  This list can be as long as the student wishes, and should be organized in a general-to-specific order.  It is likely that some of the components of the list will have their own lists of points that need to be made to clarify that particular point.

Once all of the points are listed, the student should review his/her research and determine where research studies should be inserted .  Wherever a research study should be added, the student should insert the last name of the study's author.

When all of this is complete, the student is ready to determine the overall structure of the report by moving around the major sections and the lists within the major sections to decide on what structure would best serve the project itself.  Therefore, term paper outlines are best composed on a word processor so that pieces can be easily moved into varying orders.  It is common for term papers to progress from a general-to-specific order, particularly if they're papers that report on extensive research or seek to explain a certain phenomenon.  Term papers that are more creative in nature or less focused on research can often take a variety of different forms.

Sample Outlines for Research Papers

When students are assigned the project of completing a report, it can often be difficult to know where to begin in terms of researching and writing.  However, if students can review sample outlines for research paper documents, they can often have a good idea of the kind of flow and amount of content that they should include.  Sample outlines for research paper assignments are easily found online or in libraries and can provide a wealth of insight to students who are looking for guidelines and best practices for their documents.

There are two basic types of example outlines for reports.  The first type of outline is a skeleton outline, which is very brief and contains only a limited amount of information .  Skeleton outlines usually don't contain details, which may make it difficult for a learner to understand sample outlines for papers that are skeletons unless he/she is very familiar with the subject about which the outline has been completed.

The second type of sample outlines for research papers is a detailed outline.  A detailed outline will usually contain the full text of the introduction and conclusion, even though these drafts may be in their first draft from and subject to change.  The detailed outline contains sentences for each new paragraph and section , as well as detailed information about the points that should be expressed in each section .  If a student looks at detailed sample outlines for research paper assignments, he/she can usually get a very good idea of what the paper is about, even if the student isn't familiar with the subject in advance of reviewing the outline.

In order to get good sample outlines for research paper assignments, learners should be careful about their sources.  Many outlines are available, but not all outlines are for papers that have actually earned good reviews.  Therefore, learners should, ideally, have information about the feedback and effectiveness of an outline before they regard the outline as a starting place for their work.

Sample outlines for research papers are very different than sample drafts for reports.  Outlines provide very basic and limited information about a report and are laid out in numeric form.  However, sample drafts of research papers contain full sentences, ideas, and a structured like a paper.  Students looking for outlines shouldn't confuse even detailed outlines with research paper drafts.

Research Paper Outlines

A research paper outline is a basic road map that outlines how the document will be structured, how it will flow, and what content will be included.  Research paper outlines are easy to create, as well.

Research paper outlines are important because they not only help learners to develop their document format and content, but they're also easy to review and edit.  When a student creates an outline, he/she can easily change around ideas and information in order to help the report flow well.  Editing research paper outlines is far easier and less time-consuming than editing an entire paper.

Another benefit of using research paper outlines is that they help learners to write the assignments faster.  When a student can approach the report one paragraph or section at a time, he/she will be able to focus better on the topic at hand.  Plus, because the student has a research paper outline, he/she will know exactly what he/she will include next and not have to worry about forgetting what content he/she wishes to include and where.

There are two basic types of report outlines.  The first kind is a detailed outline, which will actually include full sentences for each header as well as the introduction and conclusion paragraphs.  A detailed outline is basically a more thorough version of the second kind of outline: a skeleton outline.

A skeleton outline uses keywords and phrases in order to structure the outline.  The content can be the same for both a detailed and a skeleton outline, but the major difference is the amount of content (or words) that a learner will use to describe what parts of the report will go where.

A research paper outline is the same as an outline for other types of academic writing in many ways.  All types of outlines help learners to structure their documents well and make editing the report easy.  Outlining a report is a very basic first step in the writing process.

However, research paper outlines are distinct because they will describe the flow and format.  The flow of a research paper is different from the flow and format of all other types of projects, including essays.  Therefore, learners should make sure that they're aware of the flow and formatting requirements of completing a research paper when they attempt to create their document outlines.

Research Paper Outline Formats

Whenever a student is required to complete a report, he/she should follow a series of steps in order to ensure the success of the document.  First, the student needs to research a particular subject about which he/she will be writing.  Next, the student should create an outline according to a best practice research paper outline format.  The student will then be able to draft the document.  Finally, the learner will edit the document.

While all of these steps are important to the success and quality of an academic paper, drafting an outline according to a proven research paper outline format is one of the most important steps during the writing process.  By understanding the differences between research paper outline formats, learners can decide which format will help them to create the report in the quickest and most complete manner.

There are two basic types of report outline formats.  The first type is a simple paper outline, which will be numbered and include basic information about each different section .  The student can include references to his/her research in a simple outline, but the idea is to keep it as basic as possible—using only keywords and prompts—so that the student is influenced by flow and format rather than word choices.

The second type of research paper outline format is a thorough outline in which a learner will not only organize a paper according to a number system, but he/she will also write a one-sentence statement about each different section.

A thorough outline is one in which a learner will also include a draft of an introduction and conclusion.  The introduction and conclusion may change when the student drafts the document.  Usually, professors want students to follow the more thorough research paper outline format when they want to ensure that the student is heading in the right direction with his/her researching and writing.

A research paper outline format is very different from a research paper draft.  A report should always be outlined before the student begins drafting the document.  The draft of an academic paper, after all, should rely on the outline.  It is easier to modify an outline for flow and format than it's to modify an entire research paper draft.  Following the report outline draft can help to ensure that the student is well-prepared to complete a compelling and thorough reference project.

Research Paper Outline Examples

One of the most important steps that students must take when writing reports is to begin with an outline.  There are many different types of report outlines that students may wish to follow, including skeleton outlines and comprehensive outlines.  Regardless of the type of outline that works best for a student, it's often wise for students to look for research paper outline examples in order to get ideas that may help them to develop their own outlines.

Most high school-level English teachers will instruct students to write outlines before writing their actual research papers.  Often, teachers will give students an assignment to write their own outlines based on research paper outline examples that the teacher provides.  By learning how to write outlines early on, learners will not only practice developing their thoughts in a structured manner, but they can also learn how to fit their documents before they even write them.

There are two popular types of outlines that students may wish to write.  Some learners write both for a single report.  Other students will just write one.  The first type is a skeleton outline.  Students will notice that it has very basic information about the structure.  It may be completed in just one page, with bullet points indicating what information the learner will include.

The benefit of a skeleton outline is that it helps students to initially organize their thoughts.  By looking at a research paper outline example of a skeleton outline, learners will be able to see what a report is about, but they will not be able to see the details that a learner will include.

The second research paper outline example is a comprehensive outline.  A comprehensive outline not only includes the structure of the work, but it will also include a good deal of the content that a student plans to include.  Often, when looking at research paper outline examples of comprehensive outlines, learners will be able to get a broad sense of what the report will be about, even without reading the document.

Many students wish to review research paper outline examples of both types of outlines in order to determine which type of outline works best for them.  Many students will also begin with a skeleton outline and fill it in to become a comprehensive outline.  Students should review as many research paper outline examples as they need in order to determine which methods work best for them.

Sample Research Paper Outlines

For many learners, outlining a research paper before writing the report can help to improve the content and the flow.  However, a research paper outline can take a great deal of time to write and edit.  It is important for students to understand not only how to write an effective project outline, but also how to use it.  One of the best ways to learn more about outlines is to review sample research paper outlines.

The major purpose of a report outline is to help students think through the report before actually writing it.  Students should include in the outline the basic content that they plan to include, as well as the format for the text.  Using the outline, learners will be able to follow a road map for the document writing, which should make the writing process easier and quicker.

There are many different types of report outlines.  For that reason, students often benefit from reviewing different types of example report outlines before deciding on which outline they should use for themselves.  For example, some outlines are brief, including only basic bullet points that highlight the intended content for the document.  Other outlines are rather thorough and include more detailed information .

Students who are unfamiliar with how to construct a sample research paper outline should review a brief outline and a comprehensive outline to determine which format they prefer.  Many students find that, after reviewing different types of example report outlines, they prefer to use both.  If they use both, they may begin with a brief outline that they then develop into a comprehensive outline.

There are also a variety of sources for sample research paper outlines.  Some students will be given a sample research paper outline from their professors, if the professors have found that a particular format is most effective.  Other students may find sample research paper outlines at an on-campus writing center.  Some students also get their sample research paper outlines from internet resources.

A sample research paper outline incorporates the notes that a student takes during his/her research into a particular topic.  However, outlines and notes aren't the same thing.  Even when carefully organized, notes are still loosely constructed comments and observations.  However, a sample research paper outline is a purposeful structure that incorporates notes as well as the format.

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