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Research paper outline abstract

May 9, 2018

Reports of research studies usually follow the IMRAD format.  IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, [and] Discussion) is a mnemonic for the major components of a scientific paper.  These elements are included in the overall structure outlined below.

I. The Title Page

II. Abstract: “Structured abstract” has become the standard for research papers (introduction, objective, methods, results and conclusions), while reviews, case reports and other articles have non-structured abstracts. The abstract should be a summary/synopsis of the paper.

III. Introduction: The “why did you do the study”; setting the scene or laying the foundation or background for the paper.

IV. Methods: The “how did you do the study.”
Describe the --

V. Results: The “what did you find” --

VI. Discussion: Place for interpreting the results

VII. Conclusions: [occasionally optional or not required]. Do not reiterate the data or discussion. Can state hunches, inferences or speculations. Offer perspectives for future work.

VIII. Acknowledgements: Names people who contributed to the work, but did not contribute sufficiently to earn authorship. You must have permission from any individuals mentioned in the acknowledgements sections.  

IX. References: Complete citations for any articles or other materials referenced in the text of the article.


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Below are examples of research paper outlines. Creating an outline is the first thing you should do before starting on your research paper.

Research Paper Outline Examples

Once you've 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 the full details. This is why you should establish early on the scope and limitations of your paper which will provide the foundation for your research paper outline.

Basically, your outline will constitute three main sections: the Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion. But to make sure your paper is complete, consult your instructor for specific parts they wants to be included in your research paper. Sample outlines for research papers will follow. But first, let’s discuss the main sections 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 that 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 orient your readers to the major points the rest of the paper will be covering, and how.



The body of your paper is where you will be presenting all your arguments to support your thesis statement. Remember the “Rule of 3” which states that 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.


The conclusion is where you form a summary of all your arguments so you can arrive at your final position. Explain and reiterate why you've ended up with the said conclusion.


Research Paper Outline Examples

As mentioned earlier, here are some sample outlines for research papers:

Sample #1

Thesis Topic: A Study on Factors Affecting the Infant Feeding Practices of Mothers in Las Pinas City

  1. Introduction
    1. Statement of the Problem
    2. Definition of Terms
    3. Theoretical Framework
    4. Methodology
      1. Type of Research
      2. Respondents
      3. Questionnaire
    5. Hypothesis
    6. Review of Related Literature
    7. Scope and Limitations
    8. Significance of the Study
  2. Body
    1. Background of the Study
      1. Benefits of Breastfeeding
      2. WHO Recommendations
      3. The International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes
      4. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative
      5. The Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding
      6. National Situationer
      7. The Milk Code
      8. BFHI in the Philippines
      9. Milk Code Violations
      10. Formula Feeding
      11. Factors Influencing the Decision Regarding Infant Feeding Method
      12. Area Situationer
    2. Presentation and Analysis of Data
      1. Socio-economic Demographic Profile of Mothers
      2. Information Regarding Current (Youngest) Infant
      3. Current Infant Feeding Practices of Mothers
        1. Exclusive Breastfeeding
        2. Mixed Feeding
        3. Formula Feeding
      4. Previous Infant Feeding Practices
      5. Maternal Knowledge
      6. Correlation Tests
  3. Conclusion
    1. Concluding Statement
      1. Analytical Summary
      2. Thesis Reworded
    2. Recommendations

Sample #2

Topic: Asbestos Poisoning

  1. Introduction
    1. Definition of Asbestos Poisoning
    2. Significance of the Study
    3. Definition of Terms
  2. Body
    1. Symptoms of Asbestos Poisoning
    2. Effects of Asbestos Poisoning
    3. Treatments
  3. Conclusion
    1. Conclusion
    2. Recommendations
      1. How to Deal with Asbestos Hazards

Sample #3

Topic: Shakespeare Adapted from

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
    1. Early Life
      1. Family
        1. Father
        2. Mother
      2. Marriage
        1. Life of Anne Hathaway
        2. Reference in Shakespeare's Poems
    2. Works
      1. Plays
        1. Tragedies
          1. Hamlet
          2. Romeo and Juliet
        2. Comedies
          1. The Tempest
          2. Much Ado About Nothing
        3. Histories
          1. King John
          2. Richard III
          3. Henry VIII
      2. Sonnets
      3. Other Poems
    3. His Later Years
      1. Last Two Plays
      2. Retired to Stratford
        1. Death
        2. Burial
  3. Conclusion
    1. Analytical Summary
    2. Thesis Reworded
    3. Concluding Statement

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