How to Start a Research Paper

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Research papers often seek to draw on some new and exciting topics. The field of biodiversity conservation has recently had some interesting advances:

"The relationship between ecosystem functioning and biodiversity is a major scientific issue for science today. While experiments progress and scientific knowledge builds up, there is an increasing need to provide theories and models to advance new experimental discoveries and to create new hypotheses. This paper seeks to examine how recent theoretical advances have been made using two major questions: 1) How does biodiversity affect the short-run effects of ecosystems processes? 2) How does biodiversity contribute to the maintenance of these ecosystems processes?"

Wow, what a great research paper example introduction! You can just tell that this research paper is engaging and off to a flying start. As a student, there may be many questions going through your mind:

  • How can I get my paper moving in the same way?
  • How can I create an outline for research paper?
  • How can I find some good examples of research papers?

You may not have written a lot of research essay outline texts in your high school years, not needing to provide examples of research papers to your teacher, so how can you get to a paper outline and begin writing? After considering the research paper example introduction above, let's see how to focus your ideas and create a research essay outline.

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Example of a Research Paper - How Can I Create Ideas?

The question is, how did the student in the paper outline introduction above get to their idea? In order to get a good research paper outline going, you'll want to first choose a topic that works for you. How do you choose a great topic? It's important to stick to what you already know - you won't want to write about something obscure that you haven't a clue about or something that is way too technical for you to master. Think about what you're passionate about and put a few ideas down on paper but make sure you select a subject you can manage.

Once you've got a few preliminary ideas for research papers examples, start reading on them and try and narrow your focus down. After reading, have you found out anything interesting? Starting with what you know already and working on what you've found out will lead to a good research paper.

Once you think that you've got a great idea, it's time to start thinking about your sources. What will the sources be? Primary sources or secondary sources? Primary sources will be the backbone of your research and are usually the most credible, but you'll want to think about the sources themselves and how much information is out there. You can't get to the outline for research paper without any sources to write about and discuss. Whether you want to create an APA research paper outline or some other style of paper, you'll need to consider your sources.

If you think your topic has a lot of sources to discuss, read around more and ask yourself what you've found out. Starting with what you know and what you've found out will lead to research questions. Start to think about your topic in a way others haven't thought about before in order to get to a novel topic. How can you approach your topic in a new way? All the best research paper examples have had a novel outlook on a topic. When you're looking at your sources, think about what they're telling and sometimes what they're not telling.

Once you have a topic and some ideas, what is the thing you're most curious about? Research papers should always start with a question worth answering and for the reader to consider.

Outline For Research Paper - How Can I Plan And Write?

Now that you've got your topic, you'll need to consider your research paper outline to get started. When looking at an example of a research paper that has worked, a good research paper outline has always preceded this. A research paper outline example follows the main structure of your research paper. Once you've got this out of the way, you'll have everything you need to flesh out your paper.

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Research paper outline template

In order to get things moving, you can use our research paper outline template. Whether you're at college and want an APA research paper outline or a high school research paper outline, this is sure to help you out.


  • Sum up your topic in a single sentence.
  • Provide your name and the name of your supervisor.


  • Outline what your study is about and what the main results are. Be brief and to the point.
  • Check with the style that you're supposed to write in as some abstracts can be brief and some require a list of points. On average, the length should be about 150-200 words.

Contents page

  • A breakdown of each section and subsection.
  • Go back to this part at the end.
  • Introduction
  • Be brief.
  • Define the problem.
  • Organise your thoughts.
  • Include a statement of the problem (thesis statement). The thesis statement should consider only the three main points of your topic.
  • Why have you chosen this particular topic?
  • Why is this topic important?
  • Define different terms.
  • Include the hypothesis of your research (what results do you expect from it?).
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  • Provide steps so that one could replicate your research themselves.
  • Make the reader understand how you obtained your data.
  • Talk about any equipment used.


  • Explain and give examples of the study context.
  • Present your data.
  • Analyse your data and provide the results of your analysis.


  • Summarize your findings.
  • Approach your thesis statement and write how you set out to achieve what you aimed to do.
  • Provide an executive summary.
  • Provide some recommendations for what future research could contain and what you would do differently in light of your study.


  • Include all the references here using the appropriate style (e.g. Harvard or Chicago referencing).


  • Include raw data here.
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Hopefully, this research paper outline example has given you a decent insight into starting a perfect research paper. It may seem daunting at first, but once you've worked on the bare bones using this research paper outline example, you'll be well on your way to getting stuck in and fleshing out the main content of your essay. Have a look at some research paper examples related to your topic before you begin and make sure you check regularly with your supervisor or another educator to help you along the way. The best research papers examples are the ones that follow a logical structure and present findings and results in a succinct and readable manner.

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