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APA Research Paper Outline

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Most of us have gone through many scientific papers or literature reviews, those whose procedural standard we could have learned from and also improved and others that made us wonder how papers that do not match the APA guidelines escaped scrutiny.

Just like composing any other paper, having a roadmap assists you to organize your ideas. A research paper outline template APA dissects your thesis into different segments. You can identify your thesis' key ideas or figure out what's missing from your research. The APA 6th edition formatting design doesn't offer comprehensive guidelines on this subject. Nonetheless, it recommends the use of a research paper outline apa to enhance your writing technique.

This article is going to improve your knowledge on how to come up with APA research paper outline. It is important that you go through a research paper outline template apa before starting your paper.

Major Sections of Your APA Research Paper

  • Your research paper ought to cover the following areas:
  • Why is the subject or topic so significant and what the research question and problem is (the introduction part).
  • The things you did to approach and tackle the research question (the method section).
  • Your findings that will provide an insight into your works to the academic world (the result section).
  • The interpretation of your findings and subsequent work ought to be investigated in the future (the discussion section).
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Research Paper Outline Apa - Your Research Paper

Your research paper must be typed on a standard-sized paper (8.5" by 11") with margins on all sides of 1" and double-spaced. The APA prefers the use of Times New Roman as the font type and the font size as 12 points. You have to check the guidelines for submission of papers every journal has to structure your paper in line with their instructions.

Below are segments of an APA research paper that provide some ideas in the main features of these sections:

The Title Page

Your APA research paper's title page must have the following; your paper's title, writer's name, and school affiliation. Your title ought to be typed in Upper and lower case letters that are centered in the top half of the page. The title should not be more than 12 words long and in addition, shouldn't have any abbreviations or words that have no purpose. Moreover, the title can go up to two lines. Ensure that the text on the title page and the paper as a whole is double-spaced.

The Abstract

The abstract page should have a running head. On the first line of the page, the word "Abstract" should be centered. Then compose a brief summary for your research's key points. Its length should be between 150-250 words and should be double-spaced.


After briefly describing your research, your focus now will be on having a more comprehensive presentation of your research topic. Don't forget citations.


This segment will have information about those who participated in your study, the research design used, and procedure underlying your experiment. Materials presented to the participants should be briefly referred to and included in the Appendices section.


In this segment, you have to give a description of the results you got from your research. You need to concentrate on descriptive information of your results because the discussion will come up in the next section.

The Discussion

This is the part where you talk at length about your results. Don't forget to incorporate limitations and future research ideas here.


The section where you list all the references used in your paper.

Research Paper Outline APA Formatting Guidelines


Roman numerals should be used to list the important ideas of every section of the research paper. The Roman numerals should be followed by a period, for instance, "II.' Make sure you write the heading in a parallel structure.

Moreover, every heading of your APA research paper outline ought to have only one main topic. The number of headings are dependent on the scale of your thesis. APA doesn't put an emphasis on a strict formatting rule for the APA research paper outline. However, most people like to capitalize the initial letter of every word on the heading.


With subheadings of research paper outline apa, you need to indent the line after the heading and list the subheadings/subtopics using capital letters of the English alphabet. Also remember to include a period after every capital letter used, for example, "B.' Subheadings of APA research paper outline template have particular information about every segment. Just like the headings, subheadings should be written in parallel structure. You can include more than one subheading under each heading.


In case you want to add more information in the subheading of your APA research paper outline APA, indent the line that follows it. Use Arab numbering then follow with a period to continue writing particular details of the subheading. For more subordination of the sub subheading, you need to utilize lower case letters that are followed by Arab numerals in parentheses. For instance, you can have I. B. 1. b. (1)

Observe Parallelism in Your Research Paper Outline APA

Parallelism refers to the utilization of sequential verbal creations in a sentence that is in line with grammatical composition. In this case, this implies the structure between the headings and subheadings. Once you have determined your structure, you should ensure that it's consistent with all the headings and subheadings. In your APA research paper outline, if you begin your heading with a noun, then your subheadings should also begin with a noun.

Other APA Research Paper Outline Template Organization Styles

Some instructors may ask their students to compose outlines in complete sentences. With regards to alpha-numeric listing, most instructors recommend decimal outline, for example, 1.0, 1.1, etc. Decimal outline is more popular in the sciences. Before you embark on writing your research paper outline template apa, you need to consult your instructor.


The apa research paper outline template above will help you create an ideal outline. If you want your paper to have all the essential information and grab your reader's attention, you'll have to create a clear outline. A good outline leads to the creation of a quality paper.

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