How to Write a Term Paper Well?

term paper writing guideline

Writing a consistent term paper isn’t a walk in the park. The assignment is tedious, time-consuming and quite challenging. To succeed, you have to be 100% focused and committed to put forth a solid manuscript 8-10 standard college papers long. Prior to rolling up the sleeves and commencing to research the prompt topic, read this detailed guide to learn all the ins and outs which will help produce a marvelous text in a quality fashion.

What is a term paper?

Term Paper Definition

To define a term paper, we usually talk a complex composition assigned at the end of the term or an academic year. Term paper goal is to evaluate student’s knowledge of the material taught during a semester or the entire course, as well as check the abilities for critical and analytical thinking.

Speaking about the amount of effort you have to put in to prepare a school or college term paper, it’s much greater than spent doing essays. Since the text reflects on the overall level of knowledge you gained during a year, and not only of a single topic you’ve just finished in the framework of a taken course, some really good work is due to earn an A. That’s why, it would be a really nice idea to start off writing in advance and go through the following 10 term paper writing stages on time:

  1. Study the prompt, gather specified reference sources to conduct the research
  2. Think of a relevant topic, get it approved by an instructor
  3. Do your research, gather quotes, background data, evidence, figures, etc.
  4. Take notes, decide on which reference materials will suit your research paper best
  5. Draw up an outline based on gathered data, think ahead the paper structure
  6. Prepare a bulletproof thesis statement
  7. Start writing Main Body first, prepare the first paper draft
  8. Proceed with writing an Introduction featuring your thesis statement
  9. Conclude the term paper protocol with appropriate Conclusion
  10. Take time to proofread the paper A to Z

Choosing a term paper topic

As a rule, instructors will offer a list of nice topics for students to choose from. However, in case you have an interesting term paper topic which is relevant to the course, any instructor will let you work with your own topic. There’re also cases when students are free to choose a topic they like from the start and work on it in a written form. Are you asked to pick a topic you like, too? Then there’re 3 general rules of thumb to follow:

  • Be smart – There’re topics that are slightly easier than others within a given course. It’s also necessary to point out that some topics are just too complex to elaborate on within the scope of a term paper. Right topic should be neither too profound nor too easy. Somewhere in-between lies the golden middle.
  • Have enough background materials at hand – It happens often that a student picks a savvy topic but there’re just too few reference sources available within a close reach to meet the deadline. That’s why, before you tell an instructor about which topic you chose, make sure you’ve collected required resources and materials to start off the research.
  • Have a backup plan – Losing interest in working on a topic is normal and happens more often than not. In such case, a smart student would always have a couple of backup topics to be able to switch to a fallback variant, just in case.

Where to start writing term paper?

How to start a term paper

Given you’ve already got all the required reference sources for the research, got the selected topic approved by the instructor, and placed the previously taken notes in front of you, it’s high time to enter into the active phase of writing your term paper. Thinking of a strong thesis statement is on the agenda. Elaborate on a single powerful idea regarding the chosen topic and lay focus on studying it in your paper. Thesis statements are never longer than two sentences, so yours should be laconic yet meaningful, too. Make your point regarding the topic, back it up with feasible evidence base and sum it up with a knowledgeable conclusion. Where a thesis statement should be placed in a paper? Right in the clinching passage of Introduction.

How to structure a term paper

All in all, there’re no strict requirements and formats regarding how a standard term paper has to look like. In most colleges the issue is left to professors’ and instructors’ personal consideration. Instructors might normally have their own ideas for term paper organization. That’s why it would be a sound idea to consult a professor for guidelines and learn of the required structure components beforehand. However, it’s possible to synthesize a certain outline and a structure of a standard term paper college students are usually assigned with. Let’s start with an outline.

Basic term paper outline

The first steps in making a term paper imply thinking of a great topic, gathering and organizing background materials, and then drawing up an outline for the future text. In simple terms, it’s a skeleton of the entire paper, letting a student see what comes after what in the text. It’s possible to say that outlines are the visual representation of data to be presented in a paper as a consecutive sequence of information. In an outline, each paragraph is marked off with a topic sentence, also showing where quotes are to be used throughout the text. Is an outline some sort of a brief writing plan? To a certain extent, it is. Just as when doing essays, the common text outlining stands as Introduction, Main Body, and Conclusion.

Basic term paper structure

Term Paper Structure

  1. Cover Page – Also known as the title page, it’s basically the front page of the manuscript, containing your full name, name of the course, instructor’s name, due date and the rubric of the paper;
  2. Abstract – Short summary of the entire text, usually half a page long. It gives readers a brief idea of your research and sets the tone for the rest of the paper, stating the problem and giving reasons why you’ve decided to opt-in for this particular topic;
  3. Introduction – Passage which explains the significance of a chosen topic and gives a general overview of why it’s worth researching. Thesis statement is put closer to the end of Introduction;
  4. Main Body – It’s here where your main argumentation in support of the claim made by a thesis statement is unraveled. Main Body paragraphs contain a central sentence and pieces of evidence to support the claim, which altogether form the key message of the paper. In plain English, Main Body is a home to all the topic analysis you’ve done;
  5. Results – This section of a term paper connects the dots for the information given in Introduction and the analysis suggested in Main Body. Results mainly give answers to such questions as has your take on a topic changed since you had begun the research? Did it remain the same? Was your original intent to study a certain aspect of the course material successful?
  6. Conclusion – Also known as Discussion, this section of a term paper is where you tally up everything you’ve done and achieved with the research. Slightly restating the purpose of a paper stated in Introduction, you clearly specify whether the goal was achieved and what are the outcomes;
  7. Reference list – All the quotes used as in-text citations must be duly referenced in a text, as well as listed on the Reference list at the end of the manuscript. Plagiarism regulations don’t allow using someone else’s words without proper formatting of such extracts.

Basic term paper format

In a term paper APA format, MLA or Chicago/Turabian are to be used to manage in-text citations and format the list of references. Depending on whether you’re doing a research in Humanities, Natural or Social Sciences, Law, or Business, the term paper referencing format is applied accordingly. Remember that some courses are taught in subjects having their individual citation styles, such as ASA, ACS, AIP, AMA, Bluebook, IEEE, etc. Consult an instructor as to what particular style to use at the early stages of the writing process.

Is a proposal required?

Some colleges will require you to draw up a term paper proposal to be able to work with a selected instructor, who’ll be helping you do the research and improve paper contents. Unlike a dissertation proposal, which is quite a heavy piece of writing, proposals regarding term papers are relatively short texts without any specific template or guideline. All you have to do is make sure the 3 criteria are met:

  • Draft title of the future paper is provided
  • Estimated outcomes of the research are stated
  • Paper relevance and importance is vivid

Mind that best instructors will want to work on thought-provoking, captivating and engaging topics, which offer a challenge to them 100% worth their time and effort. So, in case you’ve chosen a topic just for the check in the box, a prolific instructor won’t agree to work with you. On the other hand, you never needed it anyways, in such case.

Writing advice from our experts

Term paper is a serious academic writing assignment, way higher in rank than an essay or short composition. That being said, let us share a couple of best practices learnt from top academic ghostwriters in the business – specialists of TermPaper.Help.

Dos

  • Split the writing process into small sessions taking you 2-3 hours a day
  • Start doing the assignment in advance to have enough time for researching, drafting and proofreading
  • If running out of time, better ask the professor for more time rather than submit a paper which is below the par in terms of quality
  • Consult an instructor often, show drafts and receive feedback
  • Collect as many background data is possible, it’s always better to work with more evidence than with little or none at all
  • Study the prompt carefully and do what’s required in the task, wandering off the path won’t be appreciated
  • Found yourself in a writer’s block? Download a sample acknowledgement for term paper or example of any other part of a paper for your referential and inspirational needs
  • Proofread the final variant of your manuscript carefully till it sounds spotless

Don’ts

  • Put an assignment in a cold storage
  • Violate prompt requirements
  • Seek to do a college term paper in an evening or two
  • Get distracted often, leave the text be for days
  • Swap topics often looking for allegedly the easiest one
  • Ignore meetings with an instructor
  • Ignore basic structural and outlining patterns
  • Re-write a paper found online and turn it in as your own
  • Don’t work with in-text citations properly
  • Proofread your research paper manuscript sloppily
  • Present foul grammar, syntax, and punctuation, use improper vocabulary

Having studied this guide, you are beyond prepared to tackle a term paper of any difficulty. But different things happen, so you can suddenly find yourself in need of competent and affordable help. In such case, don’t hesitate to contact TermPaper.Help and get consistent writing solutions to put forth quality college texts worth an A+.

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