The Research Paper Outline Format: MLA Writing Guidelines

If you have to complete a research paper outline format for MLA style you may not know where to begin. In order to adhere to the MLA writing guidelines for your research paper outline, consider the following format tools:

When you are assigned the modern language Association requirements, it is important to note that they do not apply to the outline. They only apply to the actual structure of your final paper. This is one of the most popular formats required of students and is generally reserved for English courses, social studies courses, history courses, or any other of the social science departments. If you have to complete a research-based piece you can give yourself a leg up on the process by including bullet points in your outline that relate to each of the sections you need to cover for your final paper.

No matter what the topic might be almost all research papers have the same sections.

  • The first section of the introduction
  • The second section is the background where you provide the readers with sufficient background information such that they understand your topic and its importance
  • The third section is the literature review where you present existing literature on this topic and any existing theories that apply to your work
  • The fourth section is the methodology where you review all of the methods by which you completed your work in such a way that anyone reading that chapter could literally re-create exactly what you did and achieve the same results.
  • The next section is the result area where you present the findings of your work
  • After this is the discussion where you explain the importance of your findings and how they relate to the bigger picture. This is also where you explain to the reader where there might have been limitations in your work or any biases, and what direction future research can take
  • Finally there is the conclusion

The next pieces you need to include is the works cited page and any appendices for tables or figures

By having specific bullet points for each of these main chapters and subsequent organizational lettering systems, numbers, or bullet points for each of the paragraphs contained in each chapter, with supporting evidence listed below, you can make sure that you adhere to all of the requirements for whatever format you need to complete for your particular assignment.

Looking for help with research paper or dissertation? Visit