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Composing An Outline For A Research Paper In MLA Format

The Modern Language Association (MLA) developed a specific format for writing research papers and all of the pieces that tie them together. They did this so writers could have a common style that readers would recognize. Without the MLA and its organizational style for papers, there would be mass chaos in the way that scholars crafted their papers. Since research papers require outlines, the MLA has also developed a style that makes these consistent and recognizable as well.

  • Learn the MLA Style and Proper Formatting
  • When you write an MLA research paper, you should always craft an outline so you know that your paper will be properly organized. Fortunately, of all of the formal styles and formats, MLA is one of the easiest ones to follow. The MLA outline should follow the title page of the research paper and it should be numbered with lowercase Roman numerals instead of actual numbers. Your outline can be several pages in length as long as it meets the formatting requirements. The page number should be in the upper right corner and it should include the author’s last name and the Roman numeral that designates the page.

  • Include a Powerful Thesis before You Craft the Outline
  • At the top of the outline, you will write your thesis statement. But first, you will need to write the word “OUTLINE” on the first line of the page, which should be one-inch below the top edge of the paper. The word should also be centered. On the next line - remembering that MLA papers need to be double-spaced - the word “THESIS” is written left justified. It is followed by a colon and then the thesis itself. Like all thesis statements, this one should be one sentence.

  • Understanding Traditional Outlining Eases the Process
  • Once the thesis is written, the next step is to craft the outline itself. This is done in the traditional manner with capitalized Roman numerals, followed by capital letters on the next indent. Each indent requires the use of a differently formatted letter or number. The capitalized Roman numerals designate the main idea for each paragraph. The capital letters designate the details that support the main ideas. Every entry on the MLA outline should be written in complete sentences. Like all traditional outlines, the complete sentences should have a similar structure, too.


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