Outlining your research paper

By Abhinash on June 17, 2010

While writing academic research framing a layout can prove to very helpful. In a research paper, the writer has to put all his/ her experiences learned through different incidents occurred in life on the paper. One has to bring all his logical abilities onto the research paper. This is where outlining of the research plays an important role.

One has to conclude based on his leanings on the topic throughout his life. This becomes tough when you are writing straight from your mind. Thus before proceeding with the academic research outlining the frame will give you a clear picture of what the final result is going to like. Plan all the parts in the outline that is going to be included in the research and prevent any future disasters.

There are two key points that will help you get the perfect research paper:

Research proposal

A brief background to the proposed study

  • Review of the Literature
  • Theoretical Model  (if used)
  • Statement of the Problem

Design of the Study

  • Hypotheses or Questions
  • Definition of Terms
  • Instrumentation
  • Population and Sample
  • Data Collection
  • The significance of the Study
  • Limitations of the Study

Data Analysis

  • How are you going to analyse the data, tools that you are going to use and how are going to represent it?
  • What kinds of operations will you put the data through to result in your findings?

Important points you should remember:

  • The proposal should not be very lengthy, a maximum of 20 pages will work out perfectly.
  • More emphasis should be given to reviewing of literature and the research design. Let’s say half of the proposal should talk about the review of the literature and another half about research design.
  • Must go through several sample papers before submitting the proposal.

Outlining the project

This outline can be modified as per the university’s requirement of submission:

Chapter I (Introduction)

  • Background of the study
  • Problem statement
  • Purpose of the study
  • Research questions
  • Hypothesis or objectives

 Chapter II (Review of literature)

  • Introduction
  • Review of empirical studies.

Chapter III (Research Methodology)

  • Research design
  • Sample size
  • Instruments to be used for computation of data
  • Data analysis

Chapter IV (Data analysis & results)

Chapter V (Conclusion)

  • Final findings of the study
  • Interpretation of results
  • Limitations of the study

Finally, in the end, it’s the references and appendices. Its crucial to properly mention all the refereed material and calculation sheets here. Now that you have unlocked the secrets of writing an academic research paper. Now start up your work, without even thinking of messing it up.

I am currently working as a Research Associate. My work is centered on Macroeconomics with modern econometric approach. Broadly, the methodological research focuses on Panel data and Times series data analysis for causal inference and prediction. I also served as a reviewer to Journals of Taylor & Francis Group, Emerald, Sage.