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Outlines are great tools to help you organize your thoughts to get started with a variety of complex tasks. Whether you are writing a paper, business plan, or letter, a blank outline will do some of the organization for you so you can focus on the more substantial parts.

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How to Write a Generic Outline

For a paper, this will include an introduction, body, conclusion, and perhaps a reference page and a title page. With the introduction, you should try to grab the reader’s attention and present your thesis (primary argument) and briefly include points to support your thesis. Your body will contain perhaps two or three (or more for a long paper) main points that support your thesis. You will provide evidence that logically supports each of these. The conclusion will restate your thesis and supporting points in a different way than the introduction does.

The structure of other written projects will vary from a research paper’s. The case study, for example, is similar, with an introduction, discussion, and conclusion sections, but it will also feature a methodology section that discusses how the researcher investigated the issues as well as a recommendation section. Some of these sections may have subsections as well if needed.

A business plan will be quite organized as well. The beginning will feature an introduction, referred to as an executive summary. This leads into a description of the company (its products and strategy), and then an analysis of the market the company is in. The next two sections discuss how the business is organized and managed and go into more depth about its products or services. These are followed by marketing strategy, financial projections, and perhaps a request for funding or appendices.

Here is an example of a basic outline for a paper:

I. Introduction

II. Body

1. First Point
a.
b.
c.

2. Second Point
a.
b.
c.

3. Third Point
a.
b.
c.

III. Conclusion

IV. References

Sources

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