It’s no secret that writing a term paper can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re encountering this task for the first time.
But the challenge of term paper writing is easy to overcome. You just have to follow a specific plan, and you’ll end up with a paper that will earn you a good grade.
So what is this plan?
Well, it just so happens that you’re about to find out from this helpful term paper guide! Keep on reading, and you’ll learn about the importance of a term paper and what it takes to make one flawless. We’ll lead you through the stages of writing a term paper, so when the time comes for you to write one, you’ll know exactly what to do.
Let’s make the definition clear before jumping into the writing process.
A term paper is a type of a research paper that students usually write at the end of a semester. It typically describes a certain concept or event or argues a point. It discusses a topic in great detail, reflecting the student’s knowledge of the course or the topic in general.
But why is term paper writing important?
The thing is this: Writing a term paper requires quite a bit of effort. In order to make it good, you need to conduct solid research, sort all the information you’ve gathered to keep only the most important pieces, and then put it all together. Plus, your writing needs to be clear, easy to understand, and comprehensive.
It may sound difficult, but term paper writing is important because it expands your knowledge of a certain topic or sphere. It also improves your writing and analytical skills. Yes, all the research and preparation may be quite difficult. But as a result, you’ll develop skills that will certainly help you in your future career. Sounds good, right?
So now it’s time to talk about how to write a term paper.
But before we dive right in, check out the links below for some more information on the different types of term papers and the importance of term paper writing:
- An overview of the 5 different types of term papers
- Why students should still write research papers
- On the importance of writing papers
When well organized, the process of writing a term paper can be smooth and painless.
Before starting it all, you need to think about who is going to read your paper because they’ll be the ones receiving your message, considering your thoughts and arguments, and evaluating your work.
When writing a term paper, you need to complete a certain number of steps:
- Compile all important materials—paying special attention to those that are hard to find but valuable for your topic—and make a clear and digestible presentation.
- Include a diversity of sources and information and show how the components of your paper relate to each other.
- Structure your materials properly in order to make sure readers don’t get lost and can understand what you’re talking about.
- Make critical analyses of arguments. You need to demonstrate all the evidence and explain why those arguments are valid. Also, make sure to point out all potential flaws.
- Make sure that the arguments you discuss are as clear as possible. Do the same with the pieces of evidence that support them. Simplify material that would take too much time to discuss fully.
- Show the relationship between your subject and other fields or disciplines. Also, describe possible ways to develop your topic further or to use your findings for further research.
- Get rid of all unnecessary and irrelevant information. Your term paper needs to be clear and to the point.
Now that you know about the objectives you’ll need to complete for your term paper to be perfect, let’s get down to business and go through each stage of writing a term paper.
And while you’re here, check out the following links for more suggestions on how to write a term paper:
Sure thing, everyone has their own way of getting ready to write a paper. So there’s no “ultimate ritual” that’ll fit everyone.
However, there are some common mistakes that many students make, which then have a bad effect on their term paper. So it’s better to address them right away, before it’s too late.
The trickiest mistake is always thinking that you have enough time and putting off your paper until the last minute. This procrastination results in a poorly written term paper, with a lack of preparation and proper editing and with lots of mistakes. So make sure to build a plan—and stick to it!—from the very beginning. Make use of reminders so you won’t get lost in a world of procrastination and waste all your time.
And one more thing.
Always clarify the instructions before you start. Doing things wrong is almost as bad as doing them at the last minute. If you have doubts about whether you’ve understood everything correctly, go ahead and ask for some extra explanation. It’s a much better solution that won’t hurt you. After all, you don’t want to keep guessing until it’s time to turn your work in, only to realize that you did the complete opposite of what the instructions asked for!
Check out the following links to learn what else you can do when preparing to write a term paper:
The next thing you have to do is decide what you’re going to write about. This decision requires quite a bit of thinking, so it’s better not to rush it.
First and foremost, you need to make sure that the topic fits the instructions and the assignment you’ve received. Apart from that, it’s best to pick a topic that you’re actually interested in. The reason for this is that you need to make the research and writing process as enjoyable as possible. And having an interesting topic is the first step in that direction.
When selecting a topic, you should also think about the term paper’s required length. If your topic is too broad or massive, it’ll be impossible to cover well, so it’s better to narrow it down or choose something else. You need to show the full depth of your topic in your term paper. If you try to fit an overly broad subject into a term paper format, you’ll end up with shallow writing—which definitely won’t get you that A.
When picking a topic, also make sure that you have enough resources available. If the topic is too hard to research or if the required resources are too difficult to access, you might get into trouble. Check all possible sources of information at your disposal, and take this knowledge into account when deciding what to write about.
Before moving on to the next step, check out the following links to help you select your term paper’s topic:
- Choosing a successful paper topic
- Choosing and narrowing a topic to write about (for research papers)
- Selecting a research topic: overview
- How to select a research topic
This is where the serious work begins. Research is one of the most vital parts of writing a term paper (and writing any paper in general, actually). It’s important to conduct it properly and find the best sources possible.
Because poor research won’t give you enough resources to work with. Or it’ll give you resources of low quality, which will result in writing that lacks depth, originality, and valuable findings.
To avoid these problems, start off your research by looking through secondary sources (like encyclopedias). Their reference lists will lead you to some reliable primary sources, and they’ll provide you with enough background information on your topic.
Note all the materials you’re going to use in your work. This will save you some serious time in the future when it comes to citing and referencing your resources.
Other sources you need to consider using in your research are journal articles, newspapers and magazines, government publications, and books you may have found from examining secondary sources. And don’t forget about posts and articles on the Internet!
Of course, the best way to select specific sources depends on what your topic is.
Follow the links below to find out more about researching for a term paper or any paper in general:
- The term paper researching process
- How to do research for an excellent essay: the complete guide
- Conducting research and gathering information
- Term paper: using the library to research and write a term paper
After gathering all the required information, it’s time to put everything in order.
Without a specific outline to follow, writing a term paper can turn into chaos. On the other hand, a clear outline will help you understand what you’ve already done and what’s coming up next. It will help you stick to your writing plan and not waste any time trying to figure out what exactly you have to do.
Taking the time to write a term paper outline is important because it allows you to see the structure of your paper and decide whether it’s suitable and fulfills its objectives.
Any outline for term paper can be roughly divided into 3 parts:
- Introduction. This section tells your reader what your paper is about. You let them know right away what your objectives are and how you’re going to achieve them. You need to make your readers understand the structure of your work, so they know what’s waiting for them.
- Main body. This is the core of your work. Make sure to organize it logically in order not to confuse your reader. Especially if the topic is difficult or your paper is quite lengthy, it’s a good idea to divide your writing into smaller sections with subheadings. These will not only make your term paper more visually appealing but easier to understand as well.
- Conclusion. Here, you sum up your whole work. You also should emphasize your main thoughts and ideas and refer back to the evidence that supports your findings.
Knowing how to write a research paper outline can save you a great deal of time in the future.
To learn more about organizing your work effectively, follow the links below:
- How to structure & organize your paper
- Organizing your research paper: making an outline
- Organizing and writing a research paper
- Writing a paper: organizing your thoughts
By this stage, you’ve done all the preparations for writing a term paper.
Even though the writing is the most important part of the whole work, there’s not much to say about it apart from some general tips and recommendations. The reason is that there are many, many different requirements for term papers regarding writing style, length, language, and so on. The diversity of instructions out there makes it impossible to come up with specific advice that will be equally useful for everyone.
For instance, college term papers often greatly differ from other school papers or even other examples of a term paper.
Nevertheless, here are some things to consider when writing your term paper:
- Start with a first draft—but just because it’s a draft doesn’t mean it should be careless. Make the draft as if you were writing a clean copy of your paper. When you have the full work in front of you, you’ll be able to spot imperfections and get rid of them more easily. It’s better to solve issues beforehand than to hand in your paper and get a low grade.
- Structure your sentences properly. Make sure to have as few long and complicated sentences as possible.
- As with sentences, your paragraphs also shouldn’t be too long. They need to contain only relevant and important information and to stay on point.
- Take care to write smooth transitions between paragraphs. You need to create an uninterrupted flow, so those reading your work have the best experience possible. Use words and phrases like however, also, as a result, nevertheless, still, etc.
- Run your text through a number of checks. If you’re typing your paper on the computer, you probably already have spellchecker active. Still, be sure to carefully read what you write, paying attention to grammar as well as spelling.
- Avoid misused pronouns. This is a common problem that can greatly damage your writing. Remember just one thing: A pronoun should refer to the last noun and be of the correct gender and person.
- Along with spelling and grammar, keep an eye on punctuation. The proper use of punctuation goes along with any required writing style.
If you want to get even more suggestions on term paper writing, check out the following links: