Guidelines For Writing Term Papers

Once you’ve started your university career, you are going to be asked to present a term paper. What’s the difference between a term paper and a research paper? How can you write a good term? What’s the best way to structure it? Where can you find some tips to make the writing process faster? In this article, we’ll discuss a few tips to help you prepare a term paper quickly and professionally.

Contents

What Is a Term Paper… And What Is The First Step?

A term paper is a critical and analytical report on the topic or subject that you covered within the course of studies. It usually consists of two separate but equally important aspects: your own thoughts about the topic and a demonstration of your understanding of the existing literature. The main goal of this assignment is to summarize the material you learned and showcase your understanding of the topic. This aspect makes the term paper a universal instrument of assessing student’s proficiency. It also explains why term papers cost so many points of your course grade.

We usually associate a term paper with a research paper, but although the concepts are quite similar, a research paper requires a more academic approach and a deeper investigation into the literature of your field of study.

To write an outstanding college term paper, you must understand that your professor has requested it in order to test your analytical thinking skills. You must collect relevant data, analyze it, and then make a summary or solve a particular problem. Such skills are highly relevant to the business world, so this type of the task is as practical as it is educational.

So, let’s start the preparation!

Before you begin writing

Unfortunately, there is no magical recipe that allows you to get everything done fast. You will need to choose the best way forward in whatever situation you find yourself, but here are some tips to help you prepare for the assignment.

To begin with, take the research stage seriously. Sometimes, when students are really interested in a topic, they only want to present their personal ideas about the problem. Unfortunately, if you’re not completely familiar with all the data from the various sources, you will need to reinvent the bicycle.

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In the initial stages of your research, investigate everything you can find on the topic. This may sound like a tall order, but you’ll find that it doesn’t actually entail that much reading. At this point you are only compiling the research, so you will be skimming through numerous prospects rather than reading them completely. Bear in mind that your aim is to get acquainted with the various aspects of your problem. The term paper summarizes the knowledge you gained within a course, just like the coursework; and requires to familiarize yourself with the research that other people have already made on your topic.

Thinking that your opinions are completely original and unique is quite egocentric, and it can get you into trouble. So, “your” thoughts about the problem are usually just somebody else’s statements that you have rephrased (or even a well-established academic concept!). Remember that your professor will be familiar with all the literature surrounding the issue: if you merely rewrite someone else’s thoughts and present them as your own (even if you don’t realize doing it), be prepared for criticism!

Applying a Structure To Your Term Paper

Once you have read all the leading authors and their approaches to your problem, it’s time to create a structure for your work. This is not yet an outline; you just need to decide what to write about. Sketch out the topic for the theoretical portion of your work and think about practical aspects and how you can approach the research in the best possible way.

At this point, you really need to call or email your supervisor. Your professor will have seen hundreds of term papers like yours (i.e., they have not yet been written, but a definite idea exists!) and will be prepared to give you feedback and advice. He or she will tell you what literature you have omitted, offer suggestions about what you should read, and give you feedback about your paper. It may well be that your approach has already occurred to somebody else, in which case there is no need to repeat it.

Choosing a Topic: Easy as Riding a Bike?

When you choose your topic, make sure you choose something that you are interested in. That’s our advice if you want a painless term paper. If you prefer to investigate a field that you’ve never really explored before, you can challenge yourself to do that, too. That might be sophisticated, but why not?

If you decide to investigate a topic or a problem that you are pretty familiar with, your writing will be more fluid. You will focus your attention on a specific aspect of the chosen field and expand your knowledge within that scope. On the contrary, choosing an unfamiliar subject matter can wash out your expertise.

Be prepared to change the topic if you find out that your research isn’t going anywhere. It might occur that you presuppose that your topic has a potential but somewhere at the stage of initial research, you find that it just won’t work. It’s always a good idea to consider two or three topics when you kick off the term paper writing – even if they are just different ways of examining the same problem. By doing this, you will be able to choose the best version, which may not be the one you started with at all!

Formulating a Thesis statement

Writing a proper thesis statement can also be challenging. To begin with, write down a couple of prominent ideas or concepts, then try to make rough drafts of them to see how they’ll work in the structural framework. You will probably find that one idea fits your style, interests, and knowledge base: you can choose that one as your thesis statement.

Remember that the thesis statement is the skeleton, the central concept of your paper. It is the elemental attribute of almost any academic paper – from master’s thesis to a simple five paragraph essay. If you do a thorough job on it, you will find that writing (and defending!) your argument is much easier.

Be aware that all of these stages are parts of a procedure – one leads to another. When writing a term paper, you should collect the material and wrap it up at the same time.

Planning – The Key To Success

Some people claim that they can write a term paper without any planning. In our opinion, this is impossible. If you don’t have a postgraduate degree and you aren’t a certified genius, you need to prepare an outline for your project. It may come as a surprise, but even people who claim otherwise actually prepare outlines – in their heads. But if you don’t have that much experience, use a pencil and your notebook to ensure that you don’t forget anything.

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That’s when we get to preparing your first draft. There’s only one thing to add here: do as many drafts as you need in order to achieve your goal. Understand that your aim is to create an excellent term paper and keep working at it until you are satisfied.

Once you have all the required information, remember to…

Write Everything In The Proper Section!

In the Introduction, state the topic that you are going to investigate and the context of your work. This is the critical ‘selling’ moment of your work. In a nutshell, your introduction combined with a conclusion should give a sneak peek into what the whole paper is about. If your introduction is well-prepared, it will be quite complacent about the body of your project. The introduction must include an abstract that presents your thesis statement. You should explain your motivation (why should the reader be concerned about this problem?), your methods (what scientific tools did you use?), and the results (what you achieved).

The Literature Review totally corresponds to its name – it is here to review the literature you compiled. Your professor will double check it to make sure that you understand the context of your argument. One more thing to add is: collect all the information you can! Ideally, you should read or at least glance through every book and author that you can find on the topic. Think of your task as a fascinating journey: if you approach it like that, reading hundreds of pages won’t seem like that much of a challenge.

In the Discussion, you must present the interpretations of the problem. Be honest, explain what you pieces of data you don’t agree with and what ideas and concepts you support. This section connects the dots between theory and practice when writing a term paper. Wherever possible, provide several interpretations of the subject matter, then choose the one(s) that are most relevant to the case you are presenting.

In the Body, focus on those arguments that prove your thesis statement. This section must be absolutely logical. If you have chosen a more complicated topic, use heading and sub-headings to improve the appearance of this section. While writing the body, keep your target audience (your professors) in mind. In other words, don’t just record the obvious causes/effects/solutions but also showcase your own findings – what you have discovered and how that proves your thesis statement. Demonstrate that you are familiar with the details and you will stun your readers with the prolific mastery of the topic.

Now, the Conclusionis her to summarize both the content and the purpose of the paper. The most challenging part is not to make it too dry. Reiterate your thesis statement and briefly show how your results justified your proposition. At the very end, you can suggest a call to action or pose a rhetorical question or statement that leaves your reader wanting more.

What to do next?

When you have finished, reread your work a couple of times. You will almost certainly find a few faults, whether they are contextual, factual, syntactical, grammatical, or even simple spelling mistakes. A very useful tip is to wait for two or three days after writing your term paper to proofread it afterward. Your brain will have time to process the information, and you’ll be able to look at it with a fresh view.

When proofreading, take care to polish the structural problems. The skeleton (the logic and the thesis statement) should make sense. If they don’t, try to approach the problem from another perspective. The changes may take some time, but bear in mind that your objective is to produce a professional work. Be patient!

After that, print the term paper. The human eye processes information differently on the paper than on a computer screen; that’s why you need to print it and take one final look for any possible mistakes. Even if you don’t see any serious defects, pay attention to formatting, punctuation, and synonyms. It’s an academic text, so make it shine!

Term Paper Sample

Be sure to check the sample of a term paper, completed by our writers. Use it as an example to perfect your own writing. Link: Term Paper Sample: Consumer Buying Behavior.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Term Paper Writing

Do’s:Don’ts:
  • Write down every idea you have, even if there’s no structure to them. Just record any phrases, tips, quotes or thoughts you come across. This is an outstanding way to collect a lot of material.
  • Follow your outline, but don’t be a slave to it. Many people dedicate too much effort to making their term papers conform to their outlines. Although a plan or outline is one of the best things you can have, you must be flexible. The only thing we don’t recommend is that you start with the Introduction. This is usually written at the end, once you have completed the rest of the paper.
  • Remember to cite your sources whenever you refer to someone else’s thoughts or works. Do that from the first quote, even in the draft. This is important because it is all too easy to forget where the information comes from. If you do forget and lose the reference, don’t panic: just Google it or use Google Scholar. It’s a handy tool for finding quotes from notable works.
  • Peer-check your work with a colleague. Nobody is perfect, and your project will probably benefit from another pair of eyes to check for faults. We always recommend that you check your colleague’s work while he or she checks yours: a win-win situation!
  • Don’t presume that all your ideas are original. It’s heart-breaking and frustrating to have to rewrite everything, so we want to emphasize one more time: read, read, and read! If you do, you’ll have the proper tools to complete any academic task that is set for you.
  • Don’t be afraid to start writing before you have finished investigating all the literature – in fact, have the courage to start writing as soon as you examine the first book on the topic. It’s better to rewrite your content than to sit with a blank piece of paper in front of you. Remember, you can always change it later!
  • Don’t try to overwrite. This approach seems like a charm to most students, but it can be a real dilemma for those who want to write everything they know. Too many quotes, too many citations, additional biographical information… those are not what the professor wants to read. Be as precise and professional as possible.
  • Don’t simplify your language. Your use of language is a good indication of your level of thinking. Every word has its semantics (meaning). When you use words with specific semantic applications, you are demonstrating your knowledge, too.

There you have the most important tips to help you succeed in writing a term paper. Now it’s up to you to stop reading and start writing!

Guides

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.

Sample Topics

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.

Structure Example

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.

Format

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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