Tips to Help You Ace Your Next Term Paper
Writing a term paper is easily accomplished if you have a game plan for getting the job done. Here are five tips to help you ace your next term paper.
Once you’ve narrowed down your term paper topic, start by reading about it in authoritative source material. Once you’ve collected and studied the information you need, you’ll be well-equipped to put your thoughts down on paper or your keyboard. To make the research process easier, take detailed notes. Whether you’re writing a term paper for an American history class or grade 11 physics exam papers, precise note-taking helps you retain information more easily and keeps you organized.
Creating a solid outline is crucial to writing a stellar term paper. Map out the introduction, the main body of the term paper, and then the conclusion. Make sure the thesis and the major points of the term paper are clearly defined. If you have any questions about the topic, go back and review your notes or do additional research, if necessary. Writing the term paper will be much easier if you have the structure and key points of the paper already nailed down.
With your outline complete, you’re ready to begin the writing process. Because most of us have an inner critic when we write, it’s a good idea to acknowledge this fact and carry on with the writing process anyway without procrastinating. A good way to circumvent the inner critic, which tends to slow us down while writing, is to create a quick first draft. Afterwards, you can go back and make revisions.
Make sure you provide information about all of the source material you’ve used for your term paper — even information that you’ve reworded — to avoid plagiarism. Any direct quotations must have a citation. However, sources aren’t necessary for information that’s common knowledge, such as the location of a specific Civil War battle or the educational background of an American president.
How to Write a Term Paper From Start to Finish
The term paper, often regarded as the culmination of a semester's hard work, is a rite of passage for students in pursuit of higher education. Here's an interesting fact to kick things off: Did you know that the term paper's origins can be traced back to ancient Greece, where scholars like Plato and Aristotle utilized written works to explore and document their philosophical musings? Just as these great minds once wrote their thoughts on parchment, you, too, can embark on this intellectual voyage with confidence and skill.
How to Write a Term Paper: Short Description
In this article, we'll delve into the core purpose of this kind of assignment – to showcase your understanding of a subject, your research abilities, and your capacity to communicate complex ideas effectively. But it doesn't stop there. We'll also guide you in the art of creating a well-structured term paper format, a roadmap that will not only keep you on track but also ensure your ideas flow seamlessly and logically. Packed with valuable tips on writing, organization, and time management, this resource promises to equip you with the tools needed to excel in your academic writing.
Understanding What Is a Term Paper
A term paper, a crucial component of your college education, is often assigned towards the conclusion of a semester. It's a vehicle through which educators gauge your comprehension of the course content. Imagine it as a bridge between what you've learned in class and your ability to apply that knowledge to real-world topics.
For instance, in a history course, you might be asked to delve into the causes and consequences of a significant historical event, such as World War II. In a psychology class, your term paper might explore the effects of stress on mental health, or in an environmental science course, you could analyze the impact of climate change on a specific region.
Writing a term paper isn't just about summarizing facts. It requires a blend of organization, deep research, and the art of presenting your findings in a way that's both clear and analytical. This means structuring your arguments logically, citing relevant sources, and critically evaluating the information you've gathered.
For further guidance, we've prepared an insightful guide for you authored by our expert essay writer . It's brimming with practical tips and valuable insights to help you stand out in this academic endeavor and earn the recognition you deserve.
How to Start a Term Paper
Before you start, keep the guidelines for the term paper format firmly in mind. If you have any doubts, don't hesitate to reach out to your instructor for clarification before you begin your research and writing process. And remember, procrastination is your worst enemy in this endeavor. If you're aiming to produce an exceptional piece and secure a top grade, it's essential to plan ahead and allocate dedicated time each day to work on it. Now, let our term paper writing services provide you with some valuable tips to help you on your journey:
- Hone Your Topic : Start by cultivating a learning mindset that empowers you to effectively organize your thoughts. Discover how to research a topic in the section below.
- Hook Your Readers: Initiate a brainstorming session and unleash a barrage of creative ideas to captivate your audience right from the outset. Pose intriguing questions, share compelling anecdotes, offer persuasive statistics, and more.
- Craft a Concise Thesis Statement Example : If you find yourself struggling to encapsulate the main idea of your paper in just a sentence or two, it's time to revisit your initial topic and consider narrowing it down.
- Understand Style Requirements: Your work must adhere to specific formatting guidelines. Delve into details about the APA format and other pertinent regulations in the section provided.
- Delve Deeper with Research : Equipped with a clearer understanding of your objectives, dive into your subject matter with a discerning eye. Ensure that you draw from reputable and reliable sources.
- Begin Writing: Don't obsess over perfection from the get-go. Just start writing, and don't worry about initial imperfections. You can always revise or remove those early sentences later. The key is to initiate the term papers as soon as you've amassed sufficient information.
Term Paper Topics
Selecting the right topic for your term paper is a critical step, one that can significantly impact your overall experience and the quality of your work. While instructors sometimes provide specific topics, there are instances when you have the freedom to choose your own. To guide you on how to write a term paper, consider the following factors when deciding on your dissertation topics :
- Relevance to Assignment Length: Begin by considering the required length of your paper. Whether it's a substantial 10-page paper or a more concise 5-page one, understanding the word count will help you determine the appropriate scope for your subject. This will inform whether your topic should be broad or more narrowly focused.
- Availability of Resources : Investigate the resources at your disposal. Check your school or community library for books and materials that can support your research. Additionally, explore online sources to ensure you have access to a variety of reference materials.
- Complexity and Clarity : Ensure you can effectively explain your chosen topic, regardless of how complex it may seem. If you encounter areas that are challenging to grasp fully, don't hesitate to seek guidance from experts or your professor. Clarity and understanding are key to producing a well-structured term paper.
- Avoiding Overused Concepts : Refrain from choosing overly trendy or overused topics. Mainstream subjects often fail to captivate the interest of your readers or instructors, as they can lead to repetitive content. Instead, opt for a unique angle or approach that adds depth to your paper.
- Manageability and Passion : While passion can drive your choice of topic, it's important to ensure that it is manageable within the given time frame and with the available resources. If necessary, consider scaling down a topic that remains intriguing and motivating to you, ensuring it aligns with your course objectives and personal interests.
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Term Paper Outline
Before embarking on the journey of writing a term paper, it's crucial to establish a well-structured outline. Be mindful of any specific formatting requirements your teacher may have in mind, as these will guide your outline's structure. Here's a basic format to help you get started:
- Cover Page: Begin with a cover page featuring your name, course number, teacher's name, and the deadline date, centered at the top.
- Abstract: Craft a concise summary of your work that informs readers about your paper's topic, its significance, and the key points you'll explore.
- Introduction: Commence your term paper introduction with a clear and compelling statement of your chosen topic. Explain why it's relevant and outline your approach to addressing it.
- Body: This section serves as the meat of academic papers, where you present the primary findings from your research. Provide detailed information about the topic to enhance the reader's understanding. Ensure you incorporate various viewpoints on the issue and conduct a thorough analysis of your research.
- Results: Share the insights and conclusions that your research has led you to. Discuss any shifts in your perspective or understanding that have occurred during the course of your project.
- Discussion: Conclude your term paper with a comprehensive summary of the topic and your findings. You can wrap up with a thought-provoking question or encourage readers to explore the subject further through their own research.
How to Write a Term Paper with 5 Steps
Before you begin your term paper, it's crucial to understand what a term paper proposal entails. This proposal serves as your way to introduce and justify your chosen topic to your instructor, and it must gain approval before you start writing the actual paper.
In your proposal, include recent studies or research related to your topic, along with proper references. Clearly explain the topic's relevance to your course, outline your objectives, and organize your ideas effectively. This helps your instructor grasp your term paper's direction. If needed, you can also seek assistance from our expert writers and buy term paper .
Draft the Abstract
The abstract is a critical element while writing a term paper, and it plays a crucial role in piquing the reader's interest. To create a captivating abstract, consider these key points from our dissertation writing service :
- Conciseness: Keep it short and to the point, around 150-250 words. No need for lengthy explanations.
- Highlight Key Elements: Summarize the problem you're addressing, your research methods, and primary findings or conclusions. For instance, if your paper discusses the impact of social media on mental health, mention your research methods and significant findings.
- Engagement: Make your abstract engaging. Use language that draws readers in. For example, if your paper explores the effects of artificial intelligence on the job market, you might begin with a question like, 'Is AI revolutionizing our work landscape, or should we prepare for the robots to take over?'
- Clarity: Avoid excessive jargon or technical terms to ensure accessibility to a wider audience.
Craft the Introduction
The introduction sets the stage for your entire term paper and should engage readers from the outset. To craft an intriguing introduction, consider these tips:
- Hook Your Audience: Start with a captivating hook, such as a thought-provoking question or a compelling statistic. For example, if your paper explores the impact of smartphone addiction, you could begin with, 'Can you remember the last time you went a whole day without checking your phone?'
- State Your Purpose: Clearly state the purpose of your paper and its relevance. If your term paper is about renewable energy's role in combating climate change, explain why this topic is essential in today's world.
- Provide a Roadmap: Briefly outline how your paper is structured. For instance, if your paper discusses the benefits of mindfulness meditation, mention that you will explore its effects on stress reduction, emotional well-being, and cognitive performance.
- Thesis Statement: Conclude your introduction with a concise thesis statement that encapsulates the central argument or message of your paper. In the case of a term paper on the impact of online education, your thesis might be: 'Online education is revolutionizing learning by providing accessibility, flexibility, and innovative teaching methods.'
Develop the Body Sections: Brainstorming Concepts and Content
Generate ideas and compose text: body sections.
The body of your term paper is where you present your research, arguments, and analysis. To generate ideas and write engaging text in the body sections, consider these strategies from our research paper writer :
- Structure Your Ideas: Organize your paper into sections or paragraphs, each addressing a specific aspect of your topic. For example, if your term paper explores the impact of social media on interpersonal relationships, you might have sections on communication patterns, privacy concerns, and emotional well-being.
- Support with Evidence: Back up your arguments with credible evidence, such as data, research findings, or expert opinions. For instance, when discussing the effects of social media on mental health, you can include statistics on social media usage and its correlation with anxiety or depression.
- Offer Diverse Perspectives: Acknowledge and explore various viewpoints on the topic. When writing about the pros and cons of genetic engineering, present both the potential benefits, like disease prevention, and the ethical concerns associated with altering human genetics.
- Use Engaging Examples: Incorporate real-life examples to illustrate your points. If your paper discusses the consequences of climate change, share specific instances of extreme weather events or environmental degradation to make the topic relatable.
- Ask Thought-Provoking Questions: Integrate questions throughout your text to engage readers and stimulate critical thinking. In a term paper on the future of artificial intelligence, you might ask, 'How will AI impact job markets and the concept of work in the coming years?'
Formulate the Conclusion
The conclusion section should provide a satisfying wrap-up of your arguments and insights. To craft a compelling term paper example conclusion, follow these steps:
- Revisit Your Thesis: Begin by restating your thesis statement. This reinforces the central message of your paper. For example, if your thesis is about the importance of biodiversity conservation, reiterate that biodiversity is crucial for ecological balance and human well-being.
- Summarize Key Points: Briefly recap the main points you've discussed in the body of your paper. For instance, if you've been exploring the impact of globalization on local economies, summarize the effects on industries, job markets, and cultural diversity.
- Emphasize Your Main Argument: Reaffirm the significance of your thesis and the overall message of your paper. Discuss why your findings are important or relevant in a broader context. If your term paper discusses the advantages of renewable energy, underscore its potential to combat climate change and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
- Offer a Thoughtful Reflection: Share your own reflections or insights about the topic. How has your understanding evolved during your research? Have you uncovered any unexpected findings or implications? If your paper discusses the future of space exploration, consider what it means for humanity's quest to explore the cosmos.
- End with Impact: Conclude your term paper with a powerful closing statement. You can leave the reader with a thought-provoking question, a call to action, or a reflection on the broader implications of your topic. For instance, if your paper is about the ethics of artificial intelligence, you could finish by asking, 'As AI continues to advance, what ethical considerations will guide our choices and decisions?'
Edit and Enhance the Initial Draft
After completing your initial draft, the revision and polishing phase is essential for improving your paper. Here's how to refine your work efficiently:
- Take a Break: Step back and return to your paper with a fresh perspective.
- Structure Check: Ensure your paper flows logically and transitions smoothly from the introduction to the conclusion.
- Clarity and Conciseness: Trim excess words for clarity and precision.
- Grammar and Style: Proofread for errors and ensure consistent style.
- Citations and References: Double-check your citations and reference list.
- Peer Review: Seek feedback from peers or professors for valuable insights.
- Enhance Intro and Conclusion: Make your introduction and conclusion engaging and impactful.
- Coherence Check: Ensure your arguments support your thesis consistently.
- Read Aloud: Reading your paper aloud helps identify issues.
- Final Proofread: Perform a thorough proofread to catch any remaining errors.
Term Paper Format
When formatting your term paper, consider its length and the required citation style, which depends on your research topic. Proper referencing is crucial to avoid plagiarism in academic writing. Common citation styles include APA and MLA.
If unsure how to cite research paper for social sciences, use the APA format, including the author's name, book title, publication year, publisher, and location when citing a book.
For liberal arts and humanities, MLA is common, requiring the publication name, date, and location for referencing.
Adhering to the appropriate term paper format and citation style ensures an organized and academically sound paper. Follow your instructor's guidelines for a polished and successful paper.
Term Paper Example
To access our term paper example, simply click the button below.
The timeline of events from 1776 to 1861, that, in the end, prompted the American Civil War, describes and relates to a number of subjects modern historians acknowledge as the origins and causes of the Civil War. In fact, pre-Civil War events had both long-term and short-term influences on the War—such as the election of Abraham Lincoln as the American president in 1860 that led to the Fall of Fort Sumter in April of the same year. In that period, contentions that surrounded states’ rights progressively exploded in Congress—since they were the initial events that formed after independence. Congress focused on resolving significant issues that affected the states, which led to further issues. In that order, the US’s history from 1776 to 1861 provides a rich history, as politicians brought forth dissimilarities, dissections, and tensions between the Southern US & the people of slave states, and the Northern states that were loyal to the Union. The events that unfolded from the period of 1776 to 1861 involved a series of issues because they promoted the great sectional crisis that led to political divisions and the build-up to the Civil War that made the North and the South seem like distinctive and timeless regions that predated the crisis itself.
What is the Difference between a Term Paper and a Research Paper?
To master how to write a research paper , it's crucial to grasp the fundamental distinction between a term paper and a research paper: their scope and purpose.
A term paper is typically given at the conclusion of a course, serving as a comprehensive summary of the knowledge acquired during that term. It follows a structured format and may delve into specific topics covered within the course.
On the other hand, a research paper delves deeper, involving original research, thorough analysis, and the exploration of a specific subject. It often necessitates the use of primary sources and contributes novel insights to the field of study. Research papers are most commonly encountered in higher education and advanced academic levels, where in-depth exploration and critical thinking are paramount.
What Is the Fastest Way to Write a Term Paper?
To expedite your term paper writing process, the key is to initiate early, manage your time wisely, and maintain unwavering focus. Break the task into manageable segments and craft a well-defined outline. Prioritize your research, gather pertinent information efficiently, and resist the allure of unrelated sources. Write your paper systematically and with precision, and be sure to review and correct any errors. Always keep in mind that maintaining a steady work pace and committing to the task at hand are vital for achieving efficient term paper completion.
In closing, approach the task of writing term papers with determination and a positive outlook. Begin well in advance, maintain organization, and have faith in your capabilities. Don't hesitate to seek assistance if required, and express your individual perspective with confidence. You're more than capable of succeeding in this endeavor!
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Term Paper – Master Your Fear of Writing
Just be honest and tell me, how many words? And how much time have you got to do it? If you’re about to embark on writing a term paper, I have excellent news for you – this is a crash course! I’m about to introduce you to the fine art of writing term papers for any topic. We will look at an airtight outline example, some life hacks, and the usual formatting tips. Let’s dive right in!
What Is a Term Paper? Definition and Guidelines
If you’ve only just started university and have already been slammed by this frightful word, welcome to this new level of study! University is not only about cramming from tons of books: It should also, ideally, foster critical thinking, teach you how to argue your points effectively, and help you develop research skills. And you will need all three of these to write a stellar term paper!
But hang on a sec, what is a term paper? A term paper is a longer type of research-based homework on a particular topic. Term papers range from 15 to 25 pages because any less is considered lazy and any more is too much for any professor to read (trust me, I teach at a university).
In general, you should be free to select a topic for your term paper, but regardless of whether you’re free to do it or are assigned one, term papers mostly have the same goal. Namely, they test your ability to formulate and support your arguments and locate yourself in a particular theoretical framework. Sound scary yet? Don’t worry! I’m here to illuminate some of the vaguer aspects of term paper writing.
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Structuring Your Term Paper Outline (+ Sample Term Paper Outline PDF)
Before you begin writing, it’s advisable to have an idea about where exactly your writing is going. The best way to achieve this is to write an outline, or (as we sleep-deprived academics like to call it) an abstract. An abstract is a short description of your paper/article/project that outlines your main research questions and the theoretical framework you will be working with.
I generally suggest that people start with a very simple pyramid structure when writing an abstract:
- The foundation. This is where you introduce a broad, general statement on the topic of your choice. You can clarify and specify this in a few more sentences to ease your readers into the research project.
Example: Contemporary drama boasts the power to transform the audience through careful selection and crafty delivery of impactful images. By creating faux-reality, drama sometimes appeals to the affective side of the audience in order to provide commentary on a number of social and psychological issues. Duncan Macmillan’s Every Brilliant Thing capitalises on its affect-inducing potential, tackling the issue of suicidal depression.
- The middle. In this part of the outline, you state the aims of your study. Some of my favourite phrases to signal your intentions include: this paper aims to shed light on, the goal of this research paper is, the idea behind this term paper is, etc. Feel free to add some powerful verbs of action such as examine, assess, illuminate, discern, analyse, cross-reference, etc. to emphasise your ideas.
Example: This paper aims to explore how the play creates a more realistic setting by deviating from the audience’s expectations, thus blurring the line between drama and real life. It may be argued that simulated reality, exemplified through a number of exaggerations, impacts the affective component in the audience’s attitude formation and that its neglect of the cognitive reinforces the transformative power of Every Brilliant Thing .
- The top. The final part of your outline should highlight coherent hypotheses or research questions that your study will answer. While academic papers usually dream of some originality, this should not concern you yet – you don’t need to invent hot water in your term papers, but as you gain experience, novel conclusions will become easier to form.
Example: This paper will then take a final look at how the structure of the play simulates depression in order to sensitise the audience and to which extent it attains its goal of conveying the message of the universality and repercussions of the disease.
Writing an outline is a good way to organise your thoughts, figure out what kind of books you need, and anticipate your results.
In the abovementioned examples, the books you’d need would have to do with theatre, psychological influences, and simulation of reality.
This process applies to any subject. The outline can be more detailed, but it needn’t go over 300 words. A word of advice: if you cannot summarise the key points of your topic in 300 words, you should do some more brainstorming until you reach the specific goal.
PS Check out this excellent term paper outline sample !
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Term Paper Format – The Safety Net
Each term paper should follow a relatively familiar structure and way of arguing your points. Let’s start with the basics:
- Cover page. This is where your title goes (centred, bolded, pt24 ideally). The cover page should also list your personal details, such as name, address, email, student ID number, phone number (maybe), and the institution and the department for which you are writing your term paper. Each university tends to have its own layout for the cover page, but the rule of thumb is that institutional information goes above the title, whereas personal information is below.
- Table of contents – your readers need to know what to expect!
- Introduction. This is a more elaborate version of your project outline. You should specify what the paper is dealing with, what theoretical framework you’re using, and what your hypothesis is. My pro tip is to write the introduction last because term papers tend to grow as you write and you may end up with vastly different results from those you had expected.
- Theoretical framing. Explain which theories or ideas you’re using.
- Methodology. This is mostly present in scientific papers where you must explain what methods will guide your study (i.e. experiments).
- Analysis. Close readings, experiments, data surveys – whatever your project is doing, it should be doing it here.
- Discussion . Feel free to start interpreting your results in this section. A great paper does not simply list data – it compares and contrasts. You must be able to draw conclusions about what your analysis has shown you. Results as expected? Hypothesis confirmed. Results not ideal? There’s something to write about. Consider why something turned out differently and what that means for future studies.
- Optional: pitfalls and future improvements. Again, this is more present in sciences than humanities, but you could address possible pitfalls or blind spots in your study and suggest how they can be improved upon in the future. You can also talk about what lines of research your project can inspire.
- Conclusion . Time to wrap it all up. Briefly summarise the key points of research and main results. If you haven’t already devoted a separate section of the paper to this, you can also write about indications for future research in your conclusion.
Term Paper Structure Example
To give you a more precise example of a structured term paper, here’s a more detailed structure of the above-described example on theatre:
Still Unsure about How to Write a Term Paper?
Excellent, I love good questions! The truth is, writing a term paper is a labour of love (it is hard labour, especially if you’re carrying all the books!), so I will give you some tips on how to make it an enjoyable experience.
- Pick a topic you’re interested in. There’s nothing you can say to convince me that your subject is so absolutely wretchedly uninteresting that you simply cannot find such a topic. You just haven’t done your work yet. Start digging and follow the internet clicking abyss until you stumble upon something that takes your fancy. My master thesis idea was based on a single line I read in a magazine about Neil Gaiman’s American Gods – I managed to turn it into 80 pages, two scientific articles, and two talks just fine, even though it may not have been researched previously. So, whatever you’re writing about, there’s got to be a fun angle to it.
- Start reading. You cannot write a term paper from nothing. Once you have a general topic and an outline, you should start collecting your materials. Check out your library and inform yourself about the inter-library loan. Get acquainted with various scientific databases like JSTOR and ResearchGate – your university probably has wide access to many knowledge repositories you can use through an official VPN or library computers. Search by keywords and titles and save everything that sounds interesting. Learn to recognise important elements and ideas in those texts and be ready to use them to support your arguments.
- Know when to stop, too. Sometimes you’ll find yourself deep in the excitement of learning something new, but there will come a point when you realise you’re ready to put what you’ve found into your own words. Set up an experiment, survey, or study and follow up on the results. In humanities, this may mean a closer analysis of selected texts. This is where you start writing – again, leave the introduction for later and jump right into the core of the work.
- Mind the style. When writing a term paper, you need to keep certain standards up. Term papers are written in the ‘academic’ style and involve lots of passive voice, verbs of enlightenment (illustrate, examine, assess), and words marking cause-effect relationships. Don’t be afraid to use transition words to make your text and conclusions flow easily.
- Cite properly! Oh, how I hated learning all the citation styles when I was just starting out, but once you do learn the ropes, it gets easier. It’s a bit of drudgery, but my advice is to write down your sources meticulously as you go along. As soon as you cite someone, make sure you add the full citation at the end of the text (I like having them in a separate document), and don’t forget in-text citations. Depending on what field you’re studying in, you will have different citation styles (like MLA, Chicago, APA) at your disposal – make sure you check the requirements for each course and consult the corresponding websites with guidelines.
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Don’t Forget about Term Paper Editing!
And there goes the last-minute churning of text and hitting send before passing out for the next two days. Writing a term paper at university should not be left for the last minute. If you’re a chronic procrastinator, it’s time to learn to organise your time and devote enough of it to your assignments.
When you’re done with writing, you should leave your paper alone for a few days – sleep on it, as they say. You can treat this distance like any good study break – it’ll help you clear your mind, prevent resentment towards the subject, and allow you to see it through new eyes. Before submitting, re-read your text carefully and edit the writing. Weed out spelling and grammatical errors and prune unnecessary examples or repetitive statements. A good way to do this is to change the font or even font size in your writing software – this engages your perception and makes spotting mistakes easier.
Editing is also the time to consider how your arguments are holding together and whether you need to add or replace some text and/or rearrange your points. It’s an extremely important part of the writing process, but you shouldn’t overdo it either. Perfectionism can get you into the editing spiral that usually leads to messing up parts that were initially good. A few re-reads are fine, but anything more and you might as well start to rewrite the whole thing.
The last question to consider is whether you are happy with your result. Remember, this is a term paper and you’re still learning, so nobody expects it to be perfect, but you should be satisfied with what you’ve accomplished.
The Key Takeaways of Writing a Term Paper
Writing a term paper is a longer commitment than a simple essay. To ensure your success, start well ahead of time or you might find yourself rushed and stressed .
- Try to find a topic of personal interest to you.
- Scribble an outline to work out your angle or general direction of the paper.
- Read enough materials. Your library and online databases are your friends.
- Form hypotheses and set up experiments or analyses.
- Get down to business (and stop procrastinating !).
- Don’t forget to edit the paper well and format it correctly.
Source: Danica Stojanovic, ‘Theatrical (Hyper)Reality: The Effects of Breaking Formal Boundaries in Every Brilliant Thing ’, Over The Horizon, London, 2020, pp. 81‑100.
What is a term paper?
How do you write a term paper, how do you write a term paper proposal, how do you write a term paper outline, how long should a term paper be, how do you prepare a term paper, how do you write a conclusion for a term paper, how do you write a term paper introduction.
How to Write a Term Paper
Last Updated: October 25, 2022 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Matthew Snipp, PhD . C. Matthew Snipp is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. He is also the Director for the Institute for Research in the Social Science’s Secure Data Center. He has been a Research Fellow at the U.S. Bureau of the Census and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has published 3 books and over 70 articles and book chapters on demography, economic development, poverty and unemployment. He is also currently serving on the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Population Science Subcommittee. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,208,830 times.
C's may get degrees, but only an A+ essay earns a place on your grandmother's fridge or your own fridge. Have you been busting your little collegiate butt just to get mediocre results? Well, tell Granny to get the magnets ready: follow these steps, and take your term papers to the head of the class.
Writing Your Own Term Paper
- Take great care not to choose a topic and be so set on how you see the outcome of your paper that you're closed to new ideas and avenues of thinking as you work through the paper. This is known in academia as "premature cognitive commitment". It can mar an otherwise good paper because an outcome that is pre-determined in your head, regardless of the research findings along the way, will be molded to fit the outcome, rather than the outcome reflecting a genuine analysis of the discoveries made. Instead, ask continuous questions about the topic at each stage of your research and writing and see the topic in terms of a " hypothesis " rather than as a conclusion. In this way, you'll be prepared to be challenged and to even have your opinion changed as you work through the paper.
- Reading other people's comments, opinions and entries on a topic can often help you to refine your own, especially where they comment that "further research" is required or where they posit challenging questions but leave them unanswered.
- For some more help, see How to establish a research topic .
- How to research a paper.
- How to take notes , How to take better notes , How to take notes from a textbook , How to take notes on a book and How to take Cornell notes .
- Remember that the research doesn't stop here. And nor does the thesis statement, necessarily. Allow room for flexibility as you continue working through both the research and the writing, as you may wish to make changes that align with the ideas forming in your mind and the discoveries you continue to unearth. On the other hand, do be careful not to be a continuous seeker who never alights upon a single idea for fear of confinement. At some point you are going to have to say: "Enough is enough to make my point here!" If you're so taken with a topic, there is always the possibility of postgraduate study some day but remember that the term paper has a finite word length and due date!
- Introduction, discussion paragraphs/sections and conclusion or summary.
- Descriptive or explanatory paragraphs following the introduction, setting the background or theme.
- Analysis and argument paragraphs/sections. Using your research, write out the main idea for each body paragraph.
- Any outstanding questions or points you're not yet sure about.
- See How to write an outline for more details.
- H ook the reader using a question or a quote. Or perhaps relate a curious anecdote that will eventually make absolute sense to the reader in the context of the thesis.
- I ntroduce your topic. Be succinct, clear and straightforward.
- Don't forget to define the words contained in the question! Words like "globalization" have many differing meanings and it's important to state which ones you'll be using as part of your introductory section.
- Try to relate the actual subject of the essay (say, Plato's Symposium) to a tangentially related issue you happen to know something about (say, the growing trend of free-wheeling hookups in frat parties). Slowly bring the paragraph around to your actual subject, and make a few generalizations about why this aspect of the book/subject is so fascinating and worthy of study (such as, how different the expectations for physical intimacy were then compared with now).
- R estate your thesis statement.
- O ne important detail which is usually found in your last paragraph.
- C onclude – wrap it up.
- C lincher – where you give the reader something left to think about.
- It's helpful to sort out your bibliography from the beginning, to avoid having a last minute scramble: How to write a bibliography , How to write an APA style bibliography and How to write a bibliography in MLA format.
- Trade in weak "to-be" verbs for stronger "action" verbs. For example: "I was writing my term paper" becomes "I wrote my term paper."
- Decent grammar should be a given. You need a teacher to give you the benefit of the doubt, not correct your apostrophe use . A few too many errors and the message is soon lost beneath the irritation of the errors involved.
- The best essays are like grass court tennis – the argument should flow in a "rally" style, building persuasively to the conclusion. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you get stuck, consider giving the prof a visit. Whether you're still struggling for a thesis or you want to go over your conclusion, most instructors are delighted to help and they'll remember your initiative when grading time rolls around. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1
- At least 2 hours for 3-5 pages.
- At least 4 hours for 8-10 pages.
- At least 6 hours for 12-15 pages.
- Double those hours if you haven't done any homework and you haven't attended class.
- For papers primarily research-based, add about two hours to those times (although you'll need to know how to research quickly and effectively, beyond the purview of this brief guide).
- If you use outside sources and do not credit those sources, you have cheated (plagiarized). You will fail and possibly get kicked out of school. Do not cheat; it's not worth it from the point of view of losing your chances to continue studying and it's hardly useful for helping you retain the knowledge and develop the analytical and in-depth understanding you'll need to apply for the rest of your career path. Put the effort in now, so that the rest of your knowledge gaining grows easier later. Thanks Helpful 38 Not Helpful 8
- Never hand in a paper written for one subject to another subject. The only time this is permissible is where you've asked for permission and have the all-clear to do so. Remember that your professors or lecturers do talk among one another and they've seen everything before. Thanks Helpful 26 Not Helpful 10
- Remember that term paper writing is an important part of your academic career. Be sure to include title page, table of contents, body of the paper and reference page. Thanks Helpful 39 Not Helpful 18
- Do not forget to check the final draft for mistakes and omissions. These irk markers to the point of reducing your overall marks if there are enough errors. Thanks Helpful 28 Not Helpful 12
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- ↑ Matthew Snipp, PhD. Research Fellow, U.S. Bureau of the Census. Expert Interview. 26 March 2020.
- ↑ https://emory.libanswers.com/faq/44525
- ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/planresearchpaper/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/thesis_statement_tips.html
- ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/outline
- ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26731827
- ↑ https://gallaudet.edu/student-success/tutorial-center/english-center/writing/guide-to-writing-introductions-and-conclusions/
- ↑ https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185937
About This Article
If you need to write a term paper, choose your topic, then start researching that topic. Use your research to craft a thesis statement which states the main idea of your paper, then organize all of your facts into an outline that supports your thesis. Once you start writing, state your thesis in the first paragraph, then use the body of the paper to present the points that support your argument. End the paper with a strong conclusion that restates your thesis. For tips on improving your term paper through active voice, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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