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?

A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a unique and never-changing string assigned to online (journal) articles, books, and other works. DOIs make it easier to retrieve works, which is why citation styles, like APA and MLA Style, recommend including them in citations.

You may find DOIs formatted in various ways:

  • doi:10.1080/02626667.2018.1560449

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Chicago style citation examples

The Chicago Manual of Style provides guidelines for two styles of citation: author-date and notes and bibliography:

  • In notes and bibliography style (mostly used in the humanities), you use footnotes or endnotes to cite sources.
  • In author-date style (mostly used in the sciences), you use brief parenthetical references to cite sources in the text.

In both styles, full source citations are listed in an alphabetized bibliography or reference list.

The Chicago Manual of Style is regularly updated. Our examples are all based on the 17th edition, which is the most recent (published in 2017).

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Block quoting in MLA style

When you include a long quote in an MLA paper, you have to format it as a block quote. MLA style (8th edition) requires block quote formatting for:

  • Quotes of poetry longer than three lines
  • Quotes of prose longer than four lines

An MLA block quote is set on a new line, indented 0.5 inches, with no quotation marks. The in-text citation goes after the period at the end of the block quote.

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In-text citation in APA, MLA, and Chicago

In-text citations are used each time you quote or paraphrase a source in the body of your paper. The in-text citation directs the reader to the relevant entry in the reference list or bibliography.

Every citation style has different rules for how to cite your sources. Your supervisor or university will usually inform you which citation style to use. If you are allowed to choose, it’s important to consistently follow one style.

Citation style Example of an in-text citation
APA (Bryson, 2003, p. 2)
MLA (Bryson 2)
Chicago author-date (Bryson 2003, 2)

You can easily create in-text citations in APA or MLA style using our free citation generators.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

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How to block quote: a step-by-step guide

A block quote is a long quotation, set on a new line and indented to create a separate block of text. No quotation marks are used. You have to use a block quote when quoting more than around 40 words from a source.

In APA and MLA styles, you indent block quotes 0.5 inches from the left, and add an in-text citation after the period. Some other citation styles have additional rules.

Block quote example

Although Brontë lived an isolated life, she writes about human emotion with remarkable insight, as exemplified by Heathcliff’s impassioned speech:

Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you – haunt me, then! The murdered DO haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts HAVE wandered on earth. Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I CANNOT live without my life! I CANNOT live without my soul! (Brontë, 1847, 268)

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How to paraphrase sources

Paraphrasing means formulating someone else’s ideas in your own words. To paraphrase a source, you have to rewrite a passage without changing the meaning of the original text.

Paraphrasing is an alternative to quoting, where you copy someone’s exact words and put them in quotation marks. In academic writing, it’s usually better to paraphrase instead of quoting, because it shows that you have understood the source and makes your work more original.

Every time you paraphrase, it’s important to cite the source. You also have to be careful not to use wording that is too similar to the original. Otherwise, you could be at risk of committing plagiarism.

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