APA Research Paper Outline: Examples and Template

There are three commonly used APA examples for an outline, based upon setting sections in a numerical sequence. We have gathered all the templates in this article so you can understand everything clearly. Let’s see how APA formatting style works and how an outline in APA looks.

The Basic APA Outline Format

Here is an example of a simple outline for the topic “Directing a Play for Scholars” looks.

I. Choose a Play

A. Ask other qualified people

B. Think about your own experience

(1) Think about your own school literature courses

(2) Refer to your non-academic knowledge

a) what did your parents advise you

b) your own literature preferences

II. Begin preparation

A. Select actors

1. Invite those you are familiar with

a. Choose those you have had experience working with

(1) Call those who were professional

(2) Give another chance for lesser candidates

2. Invite those you are not familiar with

a. Ask another director

b. Ask a familiar actor for a recommendation

B. Start rehearsal

Detect plagiarism in your paper for free

Full Sentence Outline Format

If you are not quite sure what format and structure to follow when creating an outline for an APA research paper, you should check out the example provided below.

  1. Introduction
    1. What is a full-sentence outline?
    2. Each point of your outline has to be a full-sentence.
      1. It means that each section of your outline has to be a complete sentence
      2. Each section has to consist of one sentence only.
    3. This outline format is best for essays or speeches
      1. Each point leads closer to the main point of your essay
      2. It lets you see what the final essay would look like
    4. Why should you use an outline?
      1. It helps you shape your ideas into a final essay or speech
      2. It brings a logical order to your ideas
  2. Main Body
    1. State the main point
      1. Give supporting information to your point
        1. Support your ideas with factual information like statistics and citations from relevant sources.
        2. Give more supporting information if there’s any
      2. More support
        1. Give support and back up with your own ideas
        2. Give a brief conclusion to the first point
    2. State the second point
      1. Give supporting information to your point
        1. Support your ideas with factual information like statistics and citations from relevant sources.
        2. Give more supporting information if there’s any
      2. More support
        1. Give support and back up with your own ideas
        2. Give a brief conclusion to the first point
  3. Conclusion
    1. Spacing has to be consistent throughout the paper
      1. As long as the outline is coherent
      2. As long as it is easy to read
    2. If you have problems making your outline in Microsoft word
      1. Let us know
      2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

The research paper outline examples given above are long-established ways of composing a plan but still comply with APA writing standards.

Need help with writing your APA papers?

Decimal Outline Format

  1. Introduction

The decimal outline is quite simple. The first paragraph introduces your topic to the audience and makes your point clear.

  • The hook: introduce your audience to the main idea of your paper.
  • Context: introduce the area or field of studies where your research might be applicable.
  • Rationale: tell the audience why your topic is important or relevant.
  • Thesis statement: the claim or the main point you make in your entire writing.
  1. Body Paragraph
  • Topic sentence: your first claim to support the thesis statement.
  • Explanation: give an explanation or evidence to support your claim.
  • Supporting point: give factual data, statistics, and/or citations from reliable sources to support your claim.
  • Supporting sentences: give as many supporting claims and relevant evidence as you need.
  • Concluding sentence: give a small conclusion to your points.


The conclusion draws the line under all of your points and gives a final statement on why your point or claim is correct.

Concluding points: give concluding points to all the claims you’ve made.

Although some students skip writing an outline for their research papers and underestimate its usefulness, it plays a big role in your success. With a good outline, you increase your chances of writing a high-quality paper. An outline completes several important functions:

  • It helps you to follow the right structure.
  • It contains all the ideas, evidence, and points you should include, so you won’t leave something out.
  • It helps you focus on the task and contributes to a faster writing process.

Know how to structure your paper

  • 12-point Times New Roman
  • 0″ between paragraphs
  • 1″ margin all around
  • double spaced (275 words/page) / single-spaced (550 words/page)
  • 0.5″ first line of a paragraph
Proceed to order

PapersOwl editors can also format your paper according to your specific requirements.

Right Structure

Tips on Writing an Outline: Bring Some Order to Your Ideas

Most beginner writers think that they are talented enough to just write whatever they want without even trying to organize their thoughts. True, you might have really brilliant ideas and be a talented writer, but it is nearly impossible to craft a compelling narrative without an outline or at least a mental roadmap for your writing. That is why it is essential that you write an outline before you start writing your essay or a speech; otherwise, it is easy to get lost in all of your ideas and thoughts and end up with a messy paper that is neither easy nor pleasant to read.

Do Some Research

Unless you know the topic through and through, it is always a good idea to do some reading before you start writing. You need to be confidents in what you are doing and know exactly what you are going to write about. Each sentence of your paper needs to carry some value, give information to the reader, and not just water it down to the required wordcount. To achieve that goal, you need to know your topic better than the audience does so you can give them something truly valuable.

Have a Clear Objective

Why are you writing? What do you want to prove, explain, argue, or claim by writing that article? You need to understand that, otherwise, your audience would not understand that either. Write down your main objective and make sure it can be clearly explained in just one sentence. If your objective is too broad or vague, you are not going to achieve anything. Of course, if you are working on a huge research paper that encompasses several issues or topics, you can have a broader objective, but if we are talking about an essay or a speech, the objective needs to be as precise and as clear as possible. 

List All of Your Objectives and Points

Include all the important things you want to say in your article in your outline. Make sure it contains all of the points you want to make and all the information you want to introduce to your audience. This will help you work on your essay once you start writing. All the main points and all the claims you make need to be included in your outline in a logical order that would make it easier for your readers to follow through.

Reduce the Redundancies

Once your outline is finished, go over it several times and delete all the things that are non-essential or bear no value. Make it as precise and as brief as you can, that way you’ll avoid stuffing your outline with the things that should not be in your final essay. Carve out all of the redundant stuff, all the unnecessary points, and all the things that weigh you down as you write.

Wrap Up

Writing an outline is not that challenging, but the benefits of doing that are just immense. Having an outline, it is much easier for you to write a great essay that hits your objective just right and gives your audience exactly what they came for. Respect your audience’s time and effort and make sure your essay is worth reading.

PapersOwl is the best solution if you are looking for a good paper writing service. You can choose any type of citation style, any academic area, and hire the best writer.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.