Once you've already decided what topic you will be writing about, the next thing you should pay attention to is the scope of your paper or what you will be including in your discussion. The broader your topic is, the more difficult it is to discuss your topic in full details. This is why you should establish before hand the scope and limitations of your paper and this will be the foundation of your research paper outline.
Basically, your outline will constitute three main parts namely the Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion. But to make sure your paper is complete, consult your instructor for specific parts he/she wants to be included in your research paper. Sample outlines for research papers will be given later on. But first, let us discuss the main parts of your paper and what information each should cover.
The Introduction should contain your thesis statement or the topic of your research as well as the purpose of your study. You may include here the reason why you chose the particular topic or simply the significance of your research paper's topic. You may also state what type of approach it is that you'll be using in your paper for the entire discussion of your topic. Generally, your Introduction should state briefly all the major points of your topic your readers will be reading about.
The body of your paper is where you will be presenting all your arguments to support your thesis statement. Please be reminded of the “Rule of 3” where you should find 3 supporting arguments for each position you take. Start with a strong argument, followed by a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument as your final point.
Conclusion is where you form a summary of all your arguments and state your final stand. Explain why you've ended up with the said conclusion.
Research Paper Outline Examples
As mentioned earlier, here are some sample outlines for research papers:
Thesis Topic: A Study on Factors Affecting the Infant Feeding Practices of Mothers in Las Pinas City