APA Formatting Explained: A Research Paper Outline


In order to successfully write a wide range of different academic papers, you will need to be aware of different formatting requirements. For example, when writing a research paper it may be that you are required to use APA style when it comes to formatting your paper correctly.

Furthermore, when writing a research paper, you may sometimes be required to write an outline section. The outline section will often be included towards the beginning of the work, and will generally explain to the reader what it is that they should expect from your work.

What to include in the outline

Your outline should express any aims that you may have, as well as any questions that you hope to answer by writing your research paper. Furthermore, it may be the case that you have a hypothesis, and are already aware of what expectations you expect to find. If this is the case, then it is a good idea to provide a brief answer that you might expect to find for any questions that you are asking. Furthermore, you can include details of other related studies or any other relevant literature that may help to back up any points that you are making.

Another aspect of your outline is to include details of any research methods that you intend to use. The subject that you are studying will have a great influence over any methods that you choose to use. For example, if you are studying a scientific subject, then it may be that you need to perform a variety of different experiments in order to find results that confirm or disprove any hypothesis that you have made.

Alternatively, a variety of other subjects may require you to carry out surveys, questionnaires and interviews. Equally, you may wish to include details of any other resources that you will use in order to find the necessary information required to write your paper.

Writing your outline using APA formatting

As mentioned, there are numerous different formatting style guides. As a result, you need to be aware of the precise requirements relating to APA style. It may be that you have written papers using formatting guides such as MLA style or MBA style in the past, and therefore think you have an understanding of what to do. However, they can be many subtle differences between different style guides, which can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful paper.

To ensure that you know what you’re doing, there are plenty of websites online that provide details relating to different style guides, or you could purchase a printed copy to assist you when writing your paper.