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How to write an APA Research Paper Outline
How to write an APA Research Paper Outline
Guide to an APA research paper outline that guarantees success

Writing an APA or American Psychological Association (guideline) research paper outline and A-level paper is how college students develop their writing skills for academia. Centering primarily on scientific subjects, APA is a popular format, mainly because of its functional emphasis, simplicity in following guidelines and a broad approach towards the subject, unlike an analysis essay which frames the context.

Why is an outline important?

Can you ever construct a building without the blueprint? Why should research paper writing be any different? An outline functions as a blueprint by providing a definition to your research paper. It is a glimpse of your final copy. An outline reveals weakness in how your thoughts have been organized, lack of a presentation style, deviance from the subject at hand that needs to be corrected before you start writing.

Figuring out how to write a research paper as you write one is a losing proposition and a disaster waiting to happen. Skip the trauma and develop an outline that shall act as a compass pointing to the right direction in developing your paper.

Steps in developing an APA research paper outline


Time for some mental exercise. After deciding on the topic, start listing out ideas for your research paper. Identify the kind of information you will need and search for credible sources to gather it. At this stage just research and gather information to develop the context in which to write your research paper.


After finalizing your approach to the topic and gathering all facts and figures, enter the second stage of activity. Sort out information based on its relevance to the paper. Discard materials that are irrelevant and classify relevant information according to the degree of its importance.


Brevity Ė donít use five words for a one-word idea when writing an APA research paper outline. Develop effective habits early on.


At this stage correctly place information and your arguments within a structure. Use the framework of introduction, body and conclusion as in an analytical essay format. Ensure a logical flow between arguments and correctly link data, check for comprehension.


Lastly, take care on how you present your research paper, maintain and follow stipulated guidelines. Make notes to place headings, in-text citations, quotes and references to add to the main body of the research paper.

How to write an outline

Always begin an APA research paper outline with the main idea; this is the essence of your paper. After this, provide first supporting ideas to entrench the main idea. Justify it with strong reasoning and more supportive details. Now state the second supporting idea. Continue with this cycle for the entire research paper.

When stating an idea countering the main idea, continue with the same cycle of presentation. Each research paper possesses a unique rhythm through which it presents information to the readers and as the author you need to set the tone.

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