In this blog we will see how to create a research paper outline and start writing your research paper. The benefit of a research paper outline is that you get a rough idea of the final product right from the start.

1. Choosing the Journal

It is a good idea to select your journal first, and then start writing your research paper. This is because different journals follow different formats when it comes to paper structure. If you are not sure which journal to publish your research in, ask your colleagues in your research group and make a list of possible journals. Then, use Google Scholar to determine the impact factor of the journals on your list and select a journal that you consider appropriate for your research.

Tip: Choose the journal first and download the sample manuscript template from the publisher’s website.

2. Creating a Paper Outline

Once you have selected the journal, the next step is to create a paper outline. 

2.1. Creating a Structured Template

A paper outline is nothing but a template with various headings. Your template should include a tentative title, a list of authors, and various headings and subheadings. You can also include an approximate word count for each section. You can also add some dummy text under each heading so that it looks like a paper.

Research paper outline

2.2. Adding References

Once you have created the outline, the next step is to fill in the references section. List all the papers you will be referencing in your manuscript. Trust me, this will make your life easy and will save you a lot of time later. In most cases, your journal will be an extended version of the conference paper that you already have written. If that is the case, copy and paste references from relevant conference papers into your journal paper.

Research paper reference outline

2.3. Adding Figures and Tables

Then, the final step is to add placeholders for figures and tables. Placeholders are nothing but empty rectangles. Now add figure and table captions under the placeholders. This is to remind yourself about what it is you want to demonstrate in the figure or table.

Research paper template

Congratulations, you have successfully created the first draft of your paper.

3. Summary

Now you have the research paper outline, you can start filling in the sections one by one. The order of writing should be as follows: material and methods, results, discussion, introduction, conclusion and abstract. Before starting your paper, make sure that you read one or two papers from the chosen journal that is close to your topic. This will give you a clear idea of what writing style the journal expects from the author. You can use these papers as model papers and mimic their language and presentation style in your paper.

If you have any questions, please drop a comment below, and we will answer as soon as possible. We also recommend you to refer to our other blogs on academic writing tools,  academic writing resources, and academic phrase-bank, which are relevant to the topic discussed in this blog. 

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