Easy Guide on MLA Research Essay Outlines

Academic life is full of challenges that are meant to cultivate our skills and character. Research papers and essays are among the challenges that test a student’s patience and dedication. This is mostly because of the work and thought required to accomplish them.

Fortunately, we are not without tools. Outlines are one of the ways to simplify any writing task. If you want to learn how to write an MLA research essay outline, you’re in the right place.

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Photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash

What is an Essay Outline?

An essay outline is an overview of all topics relevant to your essay. An outline gives writers a clear view of how each topic relates to the other and shows the flow of your ideas. It is an organizational technique common among all writers across all writing styles.

It is particularly useful for research papers, given the scope and depth of the topics they usually cover. Understanding the importance of research outlines is essential to creating quality work.

The Importance of Essay Outlines

Outlines are important for all forms of writing because they allow writers to frame their words to suit the flow of their topics. It allows them to keep the essence of their topics in mind, allowing them to set up different sections to accommodate their ideas.

The seamless transition between topics is essential for a coherent piece, and it’s a simple but effective way to keep readers engaged. 

Outlines go a long way in simplifying research papers. If you’re working on an MLA research essay, an outline should be your first priority. The need for an outline only increases with the complexity of topics. 

How to Write an MLA Research Essay Outline

Writing a research outline isn’t as difficult as it initially seems. Research essays share the same basic components of any essay type with a few additions. Below is a simple MLA research essay outline sample you can use as the basis for your own:

I. Introduction:

  • Introductory Sentence
  • Transition Sentence to Thesis

II. Thesis:

  • Description of the Paper
  • First Argument
  • Second Argument
  • Third Argument

III. Body Paragraph 1:

  • Reference
  • Explanation
  • Transition Sentence

IV. Body Paragraph 2:

  • Reference
  • Explanation
  • Transition Sentence

V. Body Paragraph 3:

  • Reference:
  • Explanation
  • Transition Sentence:

VI. Conclusion:

  • Summary of the Paper:
  • Conclusive Sentence:

VII. Citation:

Don’t forget to retain MLA formatting standards. Transition sentences ensure a smooth transition from one topic to another. 

Take note that your outline should also include a brief explanation of your paragraph and supporting sentences. You don’t always have to write full sentences in your outline, but this is imperative when working with a group.

In Summary

Outlines are the key to a well-written essay because they help writers organize their thoughts. Outlines improve all forms of writing, not just in terms of logical flow but also in overall quality. By spending less time thinking about how one topic relates to another, writers have more time to focus on the finer aspects of writing.

Never overlook the importance of a good research paper outline, especially when working on lengthy assignments and complex topics. Frame your words well, and present your ideas in a sequence that allows one topic to prepare readers for the next. Good luck, writer!

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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