Term papers or academic papers are scientific reports or discussions about a topic or a theme. It requires intense research and technical writing expertise. When you write a term paper, it should demonstrate your critical thinking, research, and analytical skills. Naturally, many students struggle to score perfect grades on these papers. Difficulties in starting the paper, understanding its structure, writing, and placing evidence plague students. But after reading this guide, you will feel ready and confident to write a successful term paper.
Purposes of Writing a Term Paper
A term paper evaluates student knowledge over an academic term. Whatever you write should be fully original, backed by your research. Students must conduct extensive research and demonstrate methodological writing skills to score well.
Depending on the degree, the paper can be 15 to 30 pages long and should be submitted before the final examination. Here are the objectives of term paper writing:
- A term paper provides students with a clear idea of their progress during the term.
- The professor gets a tangible indication of the commitment and progress of the student.
- The student learns a new topic comprehensively and expresses their original thoughts on it.
- The paper assesses the logical thinking capabilities of the student.
- Literature term papers evaluate the creativity and accuracy of students’ verbalization.
The Process to Write a Term Paper
Before we delve deep into different parts of creating this academic piece, it would be best to know about the writing process. Here’s a quick rundown of the process to follow when you write a term paper.
- Find a genuinely interesting topic.
- Narrow down the topic.
- Create a term paper outline.
- Research the topic well.
- Figure out the facts and references.
- Find different sources to include in the research.
- Create the thesis statement.
- Write the body paragraphs and conclusion.
- Edit and proofread your work.
How Should Your Term Paper Look Like?
Term papers follow a specific style as per the topic or theme. You can use the literature review or the style of a scientific report. Ensure that you refer to specific written guidelines about the term paper format given by your professor.
Usually, the paper will have the following key components:
- Abstract – It summarizes the core points of the paper.
- Introduction – It gives background information and the significance of the issue. End it with a strong claim or thesis statement.
- Main sections – It has various sections, like the topics of the paper.
- Conclusion – It ends the paper logically. Restate your main findings and signal their importance to the current state of research.
- References – List all the references alphabetically.
- Appendix – This is optional but gives information that cannot fit into the scope of your writing. Use it in questionnaires, images, and large tables.
How to Write a Term Paper
There are specific necessary steps every student needs to follow to create a good paper. The stepwise process of creating this academic work is as follows.
1. Choose a topic for the paper.
The first step of term paper writing is defining a topic. Explaining an issue enables you to understand the key ideas for writing the paper. It is necessary to understand all the terms related to the context of your subject. Ask your lecturer or supervisor if you need paper help defining a topic.
2. Identify relevant ideas
Identifying relevant ideas is necessary to create an excellent paper. If you don’t pay much attention to this process, you’ll likely achieve a low grade. Here are some ways to find out relevant themes.
- Select a topic that you are truly excited about. After conducting research, you’ll find plenty of topics that’ll pique your interest.
- Go from broad to narrow. It takes more work to directly choose a narrowed-down topic. So, start researching a broader concept, and soon you’ll find various narrow subjects.
- Develop a question or problem. See the subject as an issue to be solved. It will help you find relevant ways of resolving it and give readers something valuable.
Here are some examples of good term paper topics.
- Kinds of internet crimes The patterns of change in child abuse over the last century.
- Expand on a significant event in American history
- Globalization of communications and media
- The prevalence of religious fundamentalism in America
- Why do people look at religion as a form of therapy
3. Research to write well
Next, research the topic carefully when you have to write a term paper. Perform the research from authoritative sources. You must gather material from books, lab reports, journal articles, and credible websites.
Use these tips to identify credible sources for research.
- The information in the content is current and up-to-date.
- The source is relevant to your investigation.
- The author and publication are trusted authorities on your subject.
- The sources of the author are unbiased and clear.
PRO TIP: Use encyclopedias, textbooks, and websites with .edu or .org domains to conduct your research.
4. Create a thesis statement
The thesis statement or objectives are an essential part of term papers. It must be very specific and unambiguous about your stance on the topic. A good thesis predicts the paper’s content, gives the basic hypothesis or suggests that you are arguing about a specific way of thinking about a subject.
Concretely state the most crucial elements of the topic and suggest your main approach. This example of term paper will help you understand it better.
- This paper will show that the main issue behind the Arab-Israeli dispute is the absence of an effective resolution to the partition, preventing every effort to make peace.
- Since automobiles generate vast levels of emissions, it is wise for the drivers to use public transport as much as possible.
5. Create a term paper outline
A good outline comprises the research topic and the major concepts you’ll cover. The outline contains the sub-ideas that link to the major argument. Thus, it lets you see the connections between the main idea and the smaller ones.
- Categorize your notes and the gathered evidence into related groups of similar ideas.
- Establish your topic and communicate its significance to the reader.
- Find the significant points that back up your thesis.
- Match the supportive ideas with associated research sources. State why your research material is relevant.
- Establish your paper’s thesis statement.
- Categorize the ideas, so you achieve a logical flow of information.
- Find whether all the points are sufficiently researched. Note those points that need more research.
QUICK TIP: Add topic sentences to every term paper outline section. It will make the writing process easier.
6. Write the first draft
Now begins the writing process. Since you have created the outline after researching, it’ll not be difficult for you to write a term paper. You need to put everything together clearly.
Note that while writing, present all the ideas. Your draft should have a title page, abstract, introduction, body sections, conclusions, and references.
Reread the draft after writing these sections. Include valuable examples relevant to your study. Here are some key points to follow during the term paper writing process.
- Analyze the information you find to make specific connections for readers.
- Ensure that the details follow a good structure.
- Give strong evidence to validate your statements.
- Your research must be thorough.
- Demonstrate how your topic aligns with the broader context.
- Also, find out the topic’s historical significance.
- Write compelling arguments.
- Change sources that you think give weak arguments.
- Sometimes you may even need to alter your paper outline if the arguments don’t turn out to be compelling.
PRO TIP: Keep the abstract to around 250 words and write it at the end.
The introduction is the part where you grab the reader’s attention. Go straight into your argument. Do not deviate from the main topic. For example, if you are writing a term paper on the supply and demand of a metal, write straightforwardly that your paper will describe the uses of metal. Try suggesting an overall argument. Keep the introduction focused on the problem and provide adequate background information.
The body of your paper has various parts. You should organize the body parts using an overarching principle that supports your thesis statement. For example, if you suggest methods to resolve a specific problem, these methods will form different body sections.
Use various headings and sub-headings and name them clearly, so the reader understands the flow of your paper. Never deviate from the major argument. Each body para begins with a topic sentence. It is a clear introduction of the major idea of this specific para. You can seek assignment help if you struggle to write the body sections.
POINT TO REMEMBER – Don’t only present information in the sources. You are the author of this paper and should retain your original idea about the topic.
The conclusion is the final section of the term paper. In this part, you summarize the information included in the paper. This is also the section where you discuss further implications of your study. Your conclusion acts as a grateful termination of your argument. So, while writing it, focus on presenting the bottom line.
The conclusion should reflect directly on your paper’s hypothesis. Here are some things to remember while writing a conclusion.
- Restate the thesis without adding new information.
- Briefly explain the results of your study.
- Explain the significance of your paper.
- Finally, pen down the concluding sentence.
PRO TIP – If you feel stuck while writing this part, look at the introduction and see if you can re-emphasize your paper’s goals by defining how you have fulfilled them.
7. Revise and edit the first draft
After you write a term paper, it is essential to revise it. Revising removes spelling and grammatical errors. It also makes the ideas flow logically and improves the quality of the whole paper.
Revising lets, you answer questions like did you develop your subject matter correctly, did your thesis change during writing, and if you communicated your ideas clearly.
But there’s a difference between revising and editing.
While revising a term paper, you add, cut, or shift the information to bring clarity to the ideas. While editing the paper draft, you add or change words, fix grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure problems.
Some tips for revising the first draft
- Return to the draft after a while of writing. It will help you gain a clearer perspective of your writing.
- Examine the central point of the paper. Is it suitable to the prompt?
- Go through the paper and find out if your writing deviates from the topic at any point.
- Read your thesis carefully. Does it need a modification?
- Determine if there’s a need to make structural changes. It means changing the underlying ideas and re-ordering the main points.
- Do not be in a rush. Revising may take sustained effort, but it will make your term paper persuasive and sophisticated.
The last step of term paper writing is editing. While editing, you review the surface features of your paper. You go through things like grammar, spelling, punctuation, and the usage of sentences. Its also essential to find whether you’ve adhered to the proper format of this academic work.
Some things that should be remember while editing
- Readers notice incorrect spellings almost instantaneously. So ensure that your paper is free of spelling errors.
- Unless your professor explicitly says so, writing perfectly clear sentences isn’t a necessity. It’s because unless the sentences are extremely poorly constructed, readers get past them to understand your ideas.
- Your professor can make out the formal tone of your writing. So ensure to not use an informal tone anywhere.
- Remember to use pronouns such as ‘their,’ there,’ and they’re.’ their incorrect usage will be obvious to the reader.
- Give attention to detail while writing the paper, as readers can distinguish a paper written with an effort from an average one.
Get Ready to Write a Term Paper Successfully!
Term papers require extensive research and systematic writing skills. It’s essential to present well-researched evidence in the correct format that supports your argument. The body sections must flow logically and link to the main idea. Finally, revise and edit the paper to make it insightful and appealing. If you need assistance in creating a term paper, feel free to connect with an assignment expert online.