Creating A Complex Research Paper Outline

It can be extremely intimidating to write a large-scale research paper, which is worth a large percentage of your grade. Many students struggle with this type of writing assignment because they a.) Do not know how to approach it and b.) Have never written anything of this monumental size before. Any assignment that is more than 5 paragraphs and requires extensive research can be difficult to tackle especially for individuals who are the beginning of their academic writing career. Often instructors will feel the need to challenge freshmen with a big research assignment in order to weed out students who are not committed.

One way that we can get these complex research assignments done without any additional stress is by composing an outline template for our research. This is a great way to organize ideas and start sorting out your composition before you sit down to write. Consider this, the outline is actually the skeleton of your writing assignment, the more in-depth we make it the less “filling in” we have to do later on.

Example of An In-depth Outline


  • Who you are
  • Your purpose for writing
  • What You wish to achieve
  • Your Thesis
  • Introduce 3 Supporting Points
  • Make a hypothesis

  • Supporting Paragraphs #1, #2, #3

  • Your first supporting point
  • Piece of Evidence A
  • Piece of Evidence B
  • Piece of Evidence C

  • Conclusion

  • Restate your purpose
  • Restate your thesis
  • Reword your 3 supporting points
  • Comment on you hypothesis
  • Make a concluding remark

Using An Outline

An outline like this can be applied to a writing assignment of nearly any size. If you need to expand the length of your project use each point as an entire paragraph/ section rather than just one paragraph for each. The purpose of writing a complex research paper is to demonstrate your in-depth understanding of particular topic or idea and use evidence to support your conclusions.

In order to save yourself time while writing create a similar outline template and fill in each blank as you go. Then when the time comes to sit down and write all the details are there in point form and all you have to do is structure them into full sentences. This is a foolproof way to write a properly formatted research paper, every single time, not to mention you will be able to work faster and get better grades which I am sure you won’t be complaining about.