Research Paper Outline Sample Turabian Bibliography

  • Margins
    • Paper size - 8.5 inch x 11 inch
    • 1 inch on all four edges of the page
  • Typeface/Font size
    • Easily read; preferably serifed, ex. Times New Roman
    • 12-point is accepted size
  • Spacing/Indentation  
    • Double-space text with exceptions that are single-spaced:
      • Block quotations
      • Table elements, ex. titles and figure captions
      • Appendices' lists
    • Footnotes/endnotes are single-spaced but separated by a space between each item.
    • Items in a bibliography/reference list are single-spaced but each item is separated by a space.
  • Pagination
    • Do not number the title page.
    • Start arabic numbers (at 1) on first page of paper that is not considered front matter (front matter = title page).
    • Place page numbers consistently in same location throughout paper: 
      • Options for page numbers include: centered in footer OR right-hand of footer OR centered in header OR right-hand of header
  •    Title Page elements
    • Center all elements
    • Use consistent typeface and font size
      • font size can increase slightly for title elements
      • preferred format is boldface for title
    • Employ Headline Capitalization with All Elements (first letter of each noun/pronoun is capitalized) (definition of Headline Style Capitalization)
    • Title is placed approx. 1/3 down the page. A subtitle follow the main title with a colon and starts on a new line.
    • Two-thirds down the page, your name, any title page information provided by your professor, and the date should be included.
  • Body of Paper (Text)
    • Includes 
      • Introduction
      • Body
      • Conclusion
      • Quotations, including block quotations, should follow Turabian's standard formatting rules.
  • Text Formatting
    • Be consistent throughout body of paper with typeface, font size, and other formatting elements.
    • Make sure text is aligned left.
    • Do not add color in the text (hyperlinked text will automatically become blue; this is unavoidable).
    • Block quotations should be set apart by blank space above and below and, internally, should be single-spaced. 
  • Back Matter elements
    • Includes
    • Center page titles
    • Use consistent typeface and font size
      • Font size can increase slightly for title elements.
      • Preferred format is boldface for title
      • Leave two blank spaces between heading and first endnote/work referenced.
    • Notes section
      • Use standard paragraph indentations for each endnote.
      • Single-space each endnote and separate each by a blank space.
      • Use standard-size numbers with periods to enumerate your endnote list.
    • Bibliography/References/Works Cited section
      • Use hanging indentations for works referenced (first line is not indented; second and remaining lines are indented standard tab of five spaces)
      • This section is typically arranged alphabetically by author, then alphabetically by title if you list multiple works by one author. 

All information comes from 

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and DissertationsChicago Style for Students & Researchers. 8th ed. Chicago:    University of Chicago Press, 2013. 


  • Construct an argument that answers the writing prompt by arranging your notes linearly.
  • Unless your teacher wants a 5 paragraph essay (an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph), don’t feel constrained by that model.


Now that you’ve grouped your notes, thought about your transitions, and developed a high-powered thesis, its time to build the scaffold upon which you’ll structure your paper: the outline.

Some teachers prefer a standard 3 body paragraph format. Three is a nice number aesthetically, but there is nothing particularly magical about having three body paragraphs. Unless your teacher states that you must have a certain number of body paragraphs, don’t feel constrained by this 3 paragraph format. The number of body paragraphs you have should be determined by your research and how you grouped your notes, not by an arbitrary number. Have one main claim expressed in each paragraph.

Tip: Keep in mind that the outline needs to be flexible. Don’t feel constrained by your outline once it’s created. If you get a surge of inspiration part way through writing your paper and decide to take your paper in a new direction, go ahead and change your outline.

There are several different ways to format an outline, but the MLA method (below) is a solid way to do it. Note how easily all the previous work you’ve done (grouping your notes and thinking about transitions) slides into the outline format:

Links to sample outlines:


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