The American Psychological Association came up with guidelines in 1929 to assist in maintaining consistency in scientific writing. Although an APA research paper outline template might not serve as an official segment of an APA paper, most professors may ask you to include the outline as another assignment or even with the paper. Adhering to guidelines for composing a research paper outline template APA while considering APA style recommendations will assist you to write a good, balanced outline.

Universal Rules for an APA Research Paper Outline

  • Font, Font size and Spacing – The preferred font type is Times New Roman, and font size is 12 points. A font that is “serif-ed’ (that is a font with liens at the ends of letters) is ideal for reading. In addition, the lines in your paper’s body ought to be double-spaced, with a first line indent of .5 inches.
  • 1 inch margins – All the margins in your paper ought to be 1-inch. Fortunately, in MS Word, this is the default setting.
  • Presence of a Running Head on every page – One thing to note is that APA requires the Running Head to be different on the initial page from the rest of the other pages. On each page, the Running Head ought to be in all capital letters and not more than 50 characters (including spaces). On the first page, however, the Running Head ought to be preceded with “RUNNING HEAD.” On the following pages, “RUNNING HEAD” is omitted.
  • Page numbering beginning from the first page – Every page must be numbered from the first one (in most cases it’s the Title page). The numbers aren’t supposed to be inserted manually and shouldn’t include any identifying information like your name.

The Major Sections of an APA Research Paper

The three main sections are the Title page of research paper, Body, and the Reference page. Moreover, there can be other sections as well: The Abstract, Table of Contents, and Appendices. Also, there are several basic rules that are universal for the whole paper.

Research Paper Outline APA – Title Page

The Title Page is the initial page of your research paper and has the paper’s identifying information. Furthermore, it is the page where you the Running Head will appear as indicated above. The Title page of your APA research paper outline template should contain three pieces of information plus any other information that your instruction will ask you to include:

  1. Title of the paper
  2. Writer’s name
  3. Institutional affiliation

This information must be center aligned and appear on the top half of the page. Below this information is where you will include the additional information your instructor requests, for example, class, and instructor’s name.

The Body

The second major section of your paper is the body. Nonetheless, if you include an Abstract or Table of Contents, they would appear between the Title Page and The Body. Also, one important thing to note is that the body begins with the title of the paper, which is centered and placed at the top of the page. On the next line, you should begin your research paper outline apa with the right font, size, spacing, and indentation.

Your paper’s body is where you argue out your points and also layout ideas. Moreover, it is where the research you have done is included, while remembering to cite appropriately. In your research paper, you can also include Figures, Tables, and other relevant information to support your arguments.

Research Paper Outline Template APA – Reference Page

This is the last required section of your research paper. You can include the Appendices after if there are any. The Reference page always begins with “References,’ which is centered on the first line of the page. It is then followed by a list of references which were cited in the paper. Moreover, if you researched a Reference but did not utilize it in your research paper, you should not list it on the references page.

The references ought to be listed in alphabetical order. If there are any references that begin with numbers rather than letters should be alphabetized as if they were spelled out. Moreover, the references ought to have a hanging indent. You can view this as the opposite of the Body indentation. Rather than indenting the first line of a paragraph (reference) in an APA research paper outline, you will leave the first line and indent every subsequent line after it. Eventually, it will look like the first line’s hanging over the rest of the paragraph.

Formatting Guidelines for an APA Research Paper Outline

  • Your title ought to reflect your paper’s scope. It should be placed on the first line. The thesis statement should follow in the next line. It’s supposed to state your key point.
  • Sub-topics or subheadings in your research paper outline apa must be assigned Roman numerals (I, II, III, etc.) Split your topic or paper into various large segments according to subject or chronology. Subheading ought to follow the order used in your paper.
  • Supporting points should be labeled. Just like the paragraphs of the body will have supporting sentences, your APA research paper outline template should also have points that support your topics and subtopics. These points should be preceded by English capital letters (A, B, C).
  • In case of further divisions, utilize Arab numerals (1, 2, 3). If there is need for more details, the next level of your research paper outline template apa should be assigned lower-case letters (a, b, c). Depending on the amount of information, you can further divide the information into even smaller segments. The next two segments of your apa research paper outline can be designated with arab numerals in parentheses [(1), (2)], then [(a),(b)].
  • Moreover, you shouldn’t forget to double space your research paper outline apa, use Times New Roman with a 12 point font size, and balance your information.


The points above are established ways of coming up with an apa research paper outline conclusion. Even though some students tend to overlook writing an outline for their papers, it plays a crucial role in your overall success. A good research paper outline apa increases your chances of composing a quality paper.