Getting A Good Sample Outline For A Research Paper In The APA Style

Writing an outline in the APA format is very different from other formats such as Harvard, MLA, etc. APA stands for the American Psychological Association and this writing style was designed by professionals within the association. Most of the time the majority of students are unaware of the intricacies that are involved with writing an outline in APA format. Generally the APA format is commonly used within the social sciences, but its usage is most prevalent in nursing, business and management studies, linguistics, sociology, criminology, economics, and psychology.

Getting a good sample outline for any type of research paper being done in the APA style is really as simple as searching that exact term. You will also find outlines on most university websites, in many libraries, and very likely by taking the two minutes to go and ask your professor. However, in order to find a sample outline that you are actually able to use, you need to know exactly what one done in the APA style looks like. Read on below to see what you should be looking for:

  • Page margins should be one inch on all sides, including the top and the bottom.
  • Every paragraph should be double-spaced. Single spacing should never be used.
  • The generally preferred font is Times New Roman, and it should be set to 12 points.
  • The first page of the outline should always contain the following information: the student's name, the name of the professor, teacher, or guide, the title of the course and the paper's title, and the date.

APA format outline basic criteria

The main headings should always be accompanied by Roman numerals. For example, if you are writing your research paper on The Role of NSAIDs in the Control of Chronic Pain Management, your heading should look similar to this: 

I. The Role of NSAIDs in Control of Chronic Pain Management 

This is the most basic step in formatting an outline. The next level of formatting is the subheading that immediately follows the main heading. It must begin with a capital letter. Assume our subheading is "Introduction to NSAIDs". It would look similar to this:

A. Introduction to NSAIDs

For each subheading that is under the main heading, begin with the next letter of the alphabet. To maintain ease of reading, parallelism should be used throughout. This is only a very simple explanation of what you should be looking for, but it should help to make sure that you are getting a good sample outline, especially if you download one from the internet.

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