Term Paper

How to Write a Term Paper

One of the first things you’ll need to do as a student is learn how to write a term paper.  Anyone can learn the basics but not everyone knows how to produce A+ research papers time after time. Read these guidelines on how you can improve your term papers.

Choosing a Term Paper Topic

Sometimes you'll be given a topic to write about, but when you're given the opportunity to write about whatever you want, choosing the topic is an important step.

  • Opt for a topic with which you feel comfortable about writing about.  It may be a topic close to your heart or something you're particularly familiar with.
  • Consider whether the subject can be honed down to make it more interesting.  Steer away from topics which are too broad.
  • If the topic has been selected for you, try to write about it from an interesting angle so that the term paper will stand out from the others in your course.

Researching a Term Paper

  • Gather all your facts beforehand and write them down in draft form.
  • Use a variety of sources including primary sources such as original texts and documents, as well as secondary texts which include interpretations of original sources by others.
  • Check out examples of a term paper online to understand how research is used throughout a successful paper.

Create a Term Paper Outline

It may be tempting to skip this step, but it will help you develop your ideas and see that the ideas flow naturally.

The outline should include the following:

  • An introduction.
  • Paragraphs which elaborate on the background or theme on the paper.
  • Sections which include an analysis or argument of the facts. This is where your research comes in.
  • A conclusion or summary,

The Introduction of the Term Paper

  • Ask yourself what message you want to get across to the reader and write this as the thesis of the paper in the first paragraph of your term paper.  Make a strong statement which can be elaborated on in the rest of the text in a way that flows and is easy to comprehend.
  • Use the HIT method for a successful introduction: H is for Hook - Hook the reader of your term paper through the clever use of quotes or questions.  I is for Introduce - Introduce the reader to the theme of the term paper in a manner that is easy to understand. T is for Thesis - Make sure that it is clear and defined in the introductory paragraph.

The Body of your Term Paper

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does each paragraph support my thesis in a different way?
  • Have I used enough research to support my thesis?
  • Do my arguments sound convincing?
  • Do the paragraphs flow together to create one good term paper?

Term Paper Conclusion

  • The conclusion should include a re-statement of your thesis.
  • Make sure that the conclusion wraps up your entire term paper neatly and logically.
  • Leave the reader with an interesting point to ponder in your closing paragraph.

Tips to Write a Term Paper

  • Don't copy/paste other people's ideas.  Put everything your own words and be as original as possible.
  • Find out which style the term paper should written in (e.g. MLA, APA) and stick to the requirements of this style.
  • Put your term paper through a spell check and read it several times over before handing it in.

Helpful Links

How to Write a Term Paper

Writing an Outline

Writing a Thesis Statement

A Guide to APA Citation

A Guide to MLA Citation

Recently published term papers