How To Write An Outline Of Academic Paper In 30 Minutes

The outlining phase is critical for student research papers, since it helps organize thoughts and make the drafting phase easier. Even when instructors do not assign it as a required part of the writing assignment, it is essential if you want to earn a good grade. This guide will teach you how to write an outline, even when you are pressed for time.

Step 1: Know if You Are Creating a Sentence Outline or a Topic Outline

There are two basic types of outlines- sentence outlines and topic outlines. Sentence outlines contain lengthy bits of information, while topic outlines feature a series of headings to guide you as you write. Each has its benefits as a form of research paper help.

  • Sentence Outlines
  • Sentence outlines are best for complex topics, especially if you are learning something new. The advantage of taking a little more time to write out sentences is that you will have less thinking (and less work) to do when you start the rough draft.

  • Topic Outlines
  • Topic outlines are incredibly quick, since you just write a few words about the sentence you intend to write. These are ideal when you are familiar with the topic or it is not complex in nature.

  • Hybrid Outlines
  • Occasionally, a combination of the two work well. You can write a topic for each paragraph, followed by sentences that represent the supporting details.

Step 2: Find Sample Research Paper Outlines Online

Outlines come in many formats, depending on the type of academic writing assignment you are trying to complete. The easiest way to find out what you are supposed to do quickly is to find a template to use. Look around on academic sites, as well as sites offering writing services. You will be surprised to find there are a number of outlines available that can help you.

Step 3: Use an Organized System as You Look for Information

If you do not have to scramble around to locate your facts as you write the outline, it takes significantly less time to write. Before you even begin looking for data, consider the ways that you can organize your facts. Use a note card system or different colored highlighters that will keep you on track as you write research paper. Then, you will not have to worry about spending hours tracking down and organizing your facts for your reference page later. You can also skip adding the reference information directly to your outline.

Step 4: Write Your Outline on a Computer

It is difficult to be so organized that you can write your outline without crossing anything out or having to start over. To eliminate this struggle, write on a computer. Here, you can easily omit, add, or change information. Most writing programs also let you easily organize the headings and subheadings of your outline by creating lists and indenting properly.

By using the above guide, you can easily compose the outline of your academic paper in 30 minutes or less. This means you do not have a lot of time on the outlining phase, but you are still ensuring a good grade.


Before you can begin to do research for your paper, you need to know what you are writing about. If you are fortunate enough to be able to choose your own topic, choose something that interests you. For topic ideas, ask your fellow students, brainstorm for 5-10 minutes, or browse writing help sites.

Thesis statement

If you already have a research question, your tentative thesis statement will be easy to write. Now that you have an idea of what your main points will be, assemble a thesis statement. Remember to clearly state your purpose and intentions for writing the paper, as well as introduce the main points that you will cover in the body paragraphs.


Students who are experts when they write papers place emphasis on proofreading. Proofreading is an easy task. When skipped, however, you can lose easy points. Read through at least twice- focus on readability and organization the first time and spelling and grammar the second.

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