Research paper outline

A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process, providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized.

A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to:

  • organize your thoughts.
  • understand the flow of information and how ideas are related.
  • ensure nothing is forgotten.

A research paper outline can also give your teacher an early idea of the final product.

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What is a DOI?

DOI stands for ‘digital object identifier’. It is an alphanumeric string that links to a piece of academic writing such as a journal article or ebook.

A DOI works in a similar way to a URL, but is guaranteed to always link to the intellectual property to which it is assigned. Because a DOI never changes, academic citation styles recommend the use of DOIs over URLs.

Example of a citation with DOI
Fernández-Ayuso, M. Rodríguez-Rodríguez & J. Benavente (2018) Assessment of the hydrological status of Doñana dune ponds: a natural World Heritage Site under threat, Hydrological Sciences Journal, DOI: 10.1080/02626667.2018.1560449

You may see DOIs formatted in different ways:

  • DOI: 10.1080/02626667.2018.1560449
  • https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2018.1560449
  • https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2018.1560449
  • On JSTOR only: https://www.jstor.org/stable/90023056

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APA format reference page

When creating an APA reference list (or reference page), you must adhere to the formatting requirements. The formatting requirements of an APA reference page relate to aspects such as indentation and spacing. It is also vital that your reference list is alphabetized.

This article focuses on formatting an APA reference list based on the sixth and latest edition of the APA manual. If you would like to learn about which sources to include, how each source type must be formatted and all other base requirements, check out our starter guide to the APA reference page.

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How to format an APA abstract

An abstract provides a brief summary of a research paper or thesis, and should be written after you have finished writing the rest of the paper.

After reading your abstract, the reader should clearly understand the objective or problem, method, results and recommendations of your research. You can also include a list of keywords for use in databases.

APA abstracts must adhere to several formatting requirements, as outlined in the sixth edition manual.

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MLA format template

The Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style has specific requirements regarding formatting, as well as in-text citation, quoting and bibliographies.

Learn how to follow the MLA template, based on the eighth and most recent edition, published in 2016. You can also download our MLA format template to use as a guide for your own paper.

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Examples of Chicago style citations

To do Chicago Manual of Style citations correctly, the first step is to know whether you should be using Chicago A or Chicago B. This is determined by your university or field of study.

Chicago A is the notes and bibliography system, using footnotes, usually favoured by humanities subjects, while Chicago B is an author-date in-text citation system mostly used in the sciences. Both systems require the inclusion of an alphabetized bibliography along with the specified form of in-text/footnote citations.

Be aware that the Chicago Manual of Style is regularly updated. Our examples are all based on the 17th edition, which is the latest (published in 2017).

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List of credible sources for research

It is crucial that you use credible primary and secondary sources to ensure the validity of your academic research, but knowing which ones are credible can be difficult!

Luckily, there are some tricks for helping you figure out if a source is credible, which we have outlined in our guide to evaluating sources using the CRAAP test.

If you are not sure where to begin, we have collected a list of credible sources to help point you in the right direction.

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Quick guide to Chicago style citation

There are two systems within the Chicago citation style: Chicago A is a notes and bibliography system, using footnotes or endnotes, while Chicago B is an author-date system, using in-text citations.

The notes and bibliography style, Chicago A, is used mainly in humanities subjects, such as literature, history and the arts. Sciences and social sciences favor the author-date in-text citation system, or Chicago B.

The style you should use is dependent on the guidelines of your university or field of study.

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CRAAP test: evaluating source credibility

Evaluating the credibility of the sources you use is of key importance to ensure the credibility and reliability of your academic research. California State University developed the CRAAP test to help evaluate the credibility of a source. There are five main considerations:

  1. Currency: Is the information up-to-date?
  2. Relevance: Is the information relevant and of a level appropriate for your research?
  3. Authority: Where is the information published and who is the author?
  4. Accuracy: Where does the information come from? Is it supported by evidence?
  5. Purpose: Why was this information published? What was the motive?

Together these considerations form the acronym CRAAP; a well-known method for evaluating source credibility.

For each type of source (website, journal, book, etc.) we formulated different questions that fall within the five categories of the CRAAP test.

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