Before we delve into the structure of a term paper, let’s first define it and look into the objectives of this writing assignment. A term paper is a research paper required at the end of a school semester. It tracks and evaluates the students’ knowledge about the course. Usually a scientific report or a discussion of an assigned topic, the term paper requires a lot of research and technical writing expertise. This academic writing assignment as this reflects your knowledge of a certain course.
Table Of Contents
How To Outline a Term Paper
The outline of the paper should be made before researching and writing because this will serve as your skeleton as you continue on your work. There are a lot of paper templates to choose from, but most of the time your instructor will require a certain essay format for the whole class to follow. The main parts should include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
Instructors usually provide topics related to your course. However, sometimes you are free to choose your own paper topic, read articles, news, magazines, and blogs to get ideas for a term paper topic. Make sure that the topic you choose will fulfill the objectives of your course and will interest you. If a certain topic interest you, researching and writing about it will be easier and more fun.
The following should be considered when choosing a topic:
- Length: Consider the length of the required paper. Will it be a 10-page long or 5-page short? How many words are required? Considering the length will help you choose a certain topic because you will be able to decide how broad your subject will be.
- Resources: Check out your school or community library for available resources. Go through available online research resources and make sure you will have hands on books and other materials needed for reference.
- Complexity: Make sure that you will be able to explain your topic no matter how complex it may be. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask experts. Let your professor explain a certain area in your topic.
How To Start
Before starting, make sure to follow instructions given to you. Clarifications should be made with your instructor before doing any research or writing work. If you want quality work and a high grade, plan ahead and make time every day for writing your paper. Allot time for proofreading your work before handing it to your professor.
A good way to start is by creating a compelling and creative title. Your title page is the first impression of your work so make sure that it will capture your reader’s attention. Take note of the parts as you research and write away.
The structure should be organized and well-researched. Our academic writer reminds that technical writing skills should be crucial in organizing your ideas. The following is the term paper rubric, abstract, or layout that you should follow in presenting your argument or topic:
- Cover page: Align the text containing your name, course number, your teacher’s name and the date of the deadline.
- Abstract: Usually less than a page long, It lets the readers know where the paper is headed, the issue at hand and why the subject was interesting or important enough that you decided to write about it.
- Introduction:The introduction should begin with a statement on the topic to be discussed. Give current social events that are linked or explain the significance of the problem at hand.
- Body: The body of your text should contain the synthesis of your research. Provide information about the topic so that Don’t forget certain positions pertaining to the issue and the analysis of the research you have done.
- Results:. How has your view changed from when you began the project? Has it stayed the same, and why? Tie everything you’ve been explaining into what you started saying in your introduction.
- Discussion: Finish by stating an opening question or by prompting the reader to continue his or her own research on the subject through a discussion.
Download: Term Paper Example
How to Write a Proposal
Before researching and writing, you should know what a term paper proposal is. Basically, you should be able to defend your topic to your instructor through this proposal. This proposal must be handed in and approved before writing the actual term paper.
Include recent studies or research about your topic. Show relevance of your topic to your course effectively by submitting a short article with a clear explanation. Provide your objectives and observe organization in the flow of your ideas.
Related: How To Write a Research Proposal
If your professor didn’t provide a proposal template or sample, you could follow this format:
- Title: This is a draft title of what you want to research on. Make it clear and comprehensible.
- Objectives: This part should define your outcomes after your research. You should be able to answer questions above all, in a term paper.
- Relevance and Importance: Include recent news, social events, articles, and blogs leading to the importance of the topic. Your topic should be up to date and capture the attention of the reader.
There are many examples available online including formats and templates. You can follow these formats but make sure that you maintain your proposal’s organization and don’t forget to highlight main points and objectives.
In arranging the format, consider first the length and the citation style to be used. When you have researched on a certain topic, you are required to use a specific citation style. If you forget to reference properly, you might be accused of plagiarism. Also, a term paper is an academic writing assignment therefore, APA or MLA citation styles are commonly used.
- Use APA (American Psychological Association) term paper format for social sciences. To reference a book in an APA style term paper, the publication name, date, and location are needed. So make sure to take note of this during your research.
- The MLA (Modern Language Association) term paper format are used for liberal arts and humanities. The publication name, date, and location are needed in this format as well.
Good Term Paper Example
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
Tutor Joseph, from EssayPro
This article is very helpful. However, I would like to add my advice to the topic selection process. When you select a topic, choose one that enhances your understanding of the subject. Usually, I would advise choosing a topic that one finds interesting, but with this kind of paper, demonstrating knowledge as opposed to finding something particularly interesting to write about. To begin, get an idea to act as the foundation of the term paper. The idea should relate to the text and the subject. If this is written for a particular class, note down some of the class discussions that you had while taking the class and consider writing about those. That will get you brownie points with the professor. That being said, avoid general topics. Narrow it down according to the article’s directions. Before finally choosing the topic, clarify it with your professor if possible. Go during office hours and ask if they have any advice for in what direction you can take the term paper.
Get Help from Experts
Researching and writing really take a lot of time and effort. Also, school assignments and examinations usually pile up at the end of the semester. If you need custom writing help, don’t hesitate to use EssayPro. This is your number one go-to site for term paper writing service. Experienced writers from all around the world will attend to your writing needs immediately. These writers can proofread and improve your academic paper. They can also help you choose a topic and edit your referencing into an APA or MLA format. What are you waiting for? Head on over to EssayPro!
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This is a formal outline for your final research paper. It will present your thesis, the major points in support of that thesis, and the sub-points supporting each major point. It may have additional levels of sub-sub-points if you feel that is necessary.
The basic idea of a formal outline is that different types of letters or numbers (I, A, 1, a, i) represent different levels of the hierarchy of your paper, and sub-levels are indented below main levels. For example:
- This is the first main point
- This is the first sub-point under I
- This is the second sub-point under I
- Sub-point B has its own sub-points
- But you�d only list them if there were more than one
- Here�s the second main point
- It has two sub-points
- But this one has no sub-sub points
(If you�re using Microsoft Word, you might find yourself getting frustrated by its �helpful� approach to formatting lists. My advice is, don�t sweat the formatting too much. I�d prefer that you follow this or a similar format, but the main thing is that the relations among ideas should be clear. The reader should be able to see at a glance which are the main points, which are the secondary points, which are at the third level of importance, and so on. It should also be obvious which secondaery points belong under which main points. Usually this is accomplished by using different numbering for different levels, and indenting the less important levels. But if you can�t make that work, do whatever you have to so that the relationships are clear.)
Some guidelines for formal outlines are presented in Developing an Outline at the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Please follow those guidelines when writing your outline.
In addition to the elements of a formal outline, please also:
- Include a thesis statement at the start.
- Cite your sources: list all authors used in each section in parentheses at the end of that section
- Attach a list of sources that includes all the sources used for the outline and no others. This list may differ from the one you submitted for the Preliminary Bibliography, if you have added new sources or eliminated old ones.
Topic and Sentence Outlines
There are two major types of outline:
- Topic Outline
- Sentence Outline
A topic outline lists words or phrases. A sentence outline lists complete sentences.
A topic outline arranges your ideas hierarchically (showing which are main and which are sub-points), in the sequence you want, and shows what you will talk about. As the name implies, it identifies all the little mini-topics that your paper will comprise, and shows how they relate.
A sentence outline does all of this, plus it shows exactly what you will say about each mini-topic. Each sentence, instead of simply identifying a mini-topic, is like a mini-thesis statement about that mini-topic. It expresses the specific and complete idea that that section of the paper will cover as part of proving the overall thesis.
The method described below will produce a sentence outline.
Your sentence outline should, if done thoroughly and carefully, represent almost a first draft of your research paper. Once youve written it, the paper will practically write itself. Youll just be filling in the blanks, so to speakproviding specific examples and other support to flesh out and prove the ideas youve already sketched out. The purpose, in other words, of doing this work is not to make work for you, but to save you work in the long run by breaking the job down into smaller, manageable tasks.
Tip: Outlines can be very detailed or very general, but the more detail you have the farther youll get toward writing your paper. Heres an example. A paper of 12 pages (about 4,500 words) might have four major topics or points, represented by roman numerals (I - IV) in the outline. This would mean each point would represent about three pages of the final paper. These three pages will include background information, multiple sources, different pieces of evidence and explanation supporting that point, and often a brief description of alternative views and an explanation of why those views are not so convincing. Smaller points supporting each of the main points might then take up a single page, or 2 - 3 paragraphsagain with evidence, explanation, alternative views and so on. Finally, even smaller points under these might correspond to individual paragraphs in the final draft.
Writing the Sentence Outline
- Write out your thesis at the top of the page.
- Make a list of points you must prove to prove your thesis. What would someone have to agree with, in order to agree with the thesis?
- These will be the main sections of your paper. Like the thesis, these should be complete, declarative sentencessomething you can either prove or disprove.
Once you have the main points and supporting points written down, its time to start organizing. First make sure which are main and which are supporting points. For example, you may find that what you thought was a main point is really part of proving another main point. Or, what you first listed under a main point may need its own section. This may change as you continue to work on the outline and draft the paper.
Now you can decide what order you want to present your ideas in. Again, label them with letters or numbers to indicate the sequence.
Tip: Dont just settle for one organization. Try out at least two different sequences. Youll be surprised at the connections that emerge, the possibilities that open up, when you rearrange your ideas. You may find that your thesis suddenly snaps into focus, or that points that seemed unrelated in fact belong together, or that what you thought was a main idea is actually a supporting idea for another point. Good writing is all about re-vision, which literally means seeing againseeing your work from a fresh perspective. You can do this at every stage of the writing process, and especially at the organization stage.
Finally, write up the outline in the order youve chosen. Remember to include a thesis statement at the start of the outline, and cite and list your sources.