A research paper outline serves as a guideline on how the author would want his paper or project to move about. It maps out the author's plan for the papers. The author may already know the basic parts of a researching document such as the introduction, the formulation of the hypothesis, the discussion of result findings and the conclusion.
Also, it makes the discussion less stressful by having a more manageable way of tackling the topic. Many instructors often want their students to make file outlines first before planning to start doing the study itself. This is because a researching document guide provides a picture on how the student would want to go about on his material. The issue is not on the substance or content of the researching project itself, but on the direction of the course of study.
Oftentimes, even though the content of a written material is very substantial, with an unorganized flow of the researching papers, the readers will not only misunderstand reading them but they will lose interest in it because of lack of organization.
In planning to construct a document project guide, it is important for the author to first read carefully all the gathered and collated sources and materials for the researches. Then, he can try to figure out a classification for the findings gathered and connect them with the thesis or the formulated researching question. There are a lot of ways where an author would be able to classify the investigative findings. One helpful way would be taking notes on an index or file card and put together all the articles that are of the same content or of the same classification.
These can then be shuffled in order to have the best organization of ideas. On the other hand, the author may also use different colors of the index or file cards by having a variety of colored symbols and highlighters. In this manner, having a lot of concepts may help the author discover that there will be some articles or sections that are very strong and substantial while others may be weaker. The author may do further in-depth researches about the weaker information gathered or try merging weak information together and see if they fit in.
As a whole, it doesn't really matter how the research paper outline looks like, unless the project is ready to be handed to the professor as a requirement. However, while on the process of doing the researching papers, it may be helpful for the author not to over stress himself with whether a Roman numeral structure or an alphabet character is better to use.
What is more important is that, the written project is organized and the content is very informative and substantial for the readers.