How to Write a Term Paper With Examples and Tips

Students in higher learning institutions must submit their term papers at the end of each semester. Basically, these papers play a crucial role in evaluating the learner’s knowledge in a specific subject. In this case, scholars should engage in adequate preparation before writing a complete term paper. Then, some of the essential steps include defining a topic, finding credible sources, creating and revising a paper’s outline, and drafting a term work. Moreover, an outline of a term paper differs from that of other essays since it must include subsections. Further on, writers should ensure that all the subtopic relates to a thesis statement. Besides, each body paragraph must contain a topic sentence, supportive proof, appropriate descriptions, and a concluding and transitioning statement. In turn, the term paper’s conclusion should include a concise summary of the main points discussed in such work. Hence, students need to learn how to write a term paper to pass their academic goals.

Definition of a Term Paper

Students must prepare research papers for them to succeed in their studies. For example, a term paper refers to a serious research paper that a student should submit at the end of a semester. In this case, professors use these works to track and evaluate their learners’ knowledge about the area of expertise. Moreover, the process of organizing a term paper involves comprehensive research and methodological writing skills. Then, outstanding term papers contain analytical and organized structures. Besides, they have well-researched evidence that supports significant claims. In turn, learners in higher educational institutions prepare terms papers when reflecting on their knowledge in a specific study area.

How to write a term paper

Possible Topics for Term Papers

Students in higher learning institutions may come across different topics for writing their term papers. In practice, term paper themes vary from one subject to another and require one to engage in detailed research. Hence, possible topics for writing a term paper that one may come across are:

  1. Is there a cancer epidemic due to industrial chemicals in the environment?
  2. Should federal courts be bound by the “original intent” of the framers?
  3. Do foreign investments threaten U.S. economic independence?
  4. Should morality and human rights influence foreign trade policy?
  5. Do rich nations have a responsibility to help developing countries?
  6. Partnership benefits at state and federal institutions.
  7. Same-sex adoption and access to reproductive technologies.
  8. Partnership benefits at state and federal institutions.
  9. Execution of juveniles.
  10. The lengthy appealing process for death row inmates.
  11. The Constitutional question of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Term paper topics have a broad scope. Basically, term paper themes given above show that a writer must carry out extensive research to provide a comprehensive response. Also, students decide on the content that they must include in their term papers to give a comprehensive analysis of a subject.

Step-by-Step Guide for Writing a Term Paper

A student must prepare a term paper to achieve desired grades and complete a study course. Basically, adequate preparation allows scholars to gather relevant evidence and draft a term paper effectively. Hence, the necessary steps in writing a term paper that one should take to organize an academic piece are:

Step 1: Preparation

A. Defining a Topic for a Term Paper

Defining a specific subject for a term paper is the first and most crucial activity that a writer must consider. For instance, describing an issue allows scholars to understand their course prompts and understand key ideas required to complete a term paper. In this case, one must understand the meaning of essential terms with the paper’s context. Moreover, students should use resources, like a dictionary and thesaurus, to obtain the necessary definitions. In turn, writers may opt to seek help from peers and lecturers when defining a topic for a term paper.   

B. Preparing Ideas

Preparing ideas for a term paper leads to outstanding works. For example, writers should identify all the relevant ideas and points needed to be covered before engaging in the actual writing process. Unfortunately, many learners fail to consider preparing thoughts as an essential step when writing a term paper. As a result, they prepare low-quality papers and achieve low grades. In turn, students need to redo their papers to pass their classes. Hence, writers should prepare ideas for writing a term paper by using acceptable methods.

C. Brainstorming

Scholars should consider brainstorming as an acceptable method to prepare ideas for a term paper. For example, brainstorming helps learners to come up with fresh and new facts. In this case, students think of the ideas that relate to their research topics. Moreover, the process generates unique ideas that can make one’s work to stand out. Hence, some ideas for brainstorming that one may use when preparing concepts and thoughts for term papers are:

  • Come up with bad ideas first – Learners should think about research concepts related to their topics. In this case, successful students do not consider raising positive thoughts during brainstorming. Instead, they should present both good and bad ideas concerning their subjects. Also, writers should not feel stupid for raising bad ideas since the strategy helps identify weaker and more robust ideas. Then, one should allow ideas to flow during the brainstorming strategy. Besides, scholars should focus on raising positive opinions after exhausting throwaway thoughts. Hence, authors should increase both bad and good ideas that relate to their research topics.
  • Breaking and building ideas – One of the most effective strategies of turning a few ideas into many is to break them down. Basically, learners should identify general themes that relate to a term paper and break them into smaller details. In this case, the process helps authors to see if some narrower ideas branch from main themes. Alternatively, one may combine different ideas to create a broader subtopic for a term paper. Hence, writers should break down more general concepts while combining narrow ones.
  • Play word games – Outstanding term papers contain original and unique ideas. For example, word games are instrumental tools that prevent learners from producing generic and unoriginal ideas. In this case, word games motivate some out-of-box thinking. Moreover, “word storm” is an excellent method for a student to generate related ideas. In turn, this method allows authors to create thoughts naturally without overthinking.
  • Creating a mood board – Learners should rely on methods that motivate them to generate fresh and unique ideas related to a research topic. For instance, combining imagery, color, and visual-spatial elements evoke emotions and feelings that spark fresh and new thoughts. In this case, students manage to recall some concepts acquired during learning by improving the term paper’s quality.
  • Doodling – Successful students spur creativity insights and increase attention when generating essential ideas for a term paper. Basically, doodling allows a learner to engage with visuals that spark new thoughts. Also, practical doodling approaches help authors to break out of the traditional brainstorming approaches that rely on reading and talking. In this case, learners should break visual objects into small objects or combine unrelated items. Hence, these approaches motivate the brain to generate unique ideas for supporting a central theme.
  • Changing a physical environment – Ordinary motivation plays a crucial role in the generation of new ideas. For example, students should change the physical environment to avoid boredom. In this case, enriched and attractive environments affect how the human brain works and speeds up how one generates new ideas and thoughts. In turn, a successful learner must select the location for brainstorming effectively. 

D. Reading

Reading is an appropriate method that students may consider when generating ideas for term papers. For instance, reading is a traditional method that writers use to raise arguments related to a specific topic. In this case, scholars should identify credible sources that relate to a research topic and read them to understand an assigned subject better. Also, this strategy plays a crucial in raising viable and accurate ideas about the term paper’s topic. However, scholars must take the necessary precautions since extensive reading is a tedious and monotonous process.   

E. Considering an Academic Audience

Different scholars read term papers for specific reasons. Basically, students must consider the target audience as academic readers to ensure that term papers meet their needs. In most cases, writers must use the official language when expressing thoughts. Moreover, formal language suits academic documents because it reveals professionalism and academic excellence.

Step 2: Setting Up the Stage

A. Researching for Sources

Terms papers must contain credible evidence obtained from academic sources. Basically, scholars must gather adequate evidence from different reliable sources, like books, journal articles, financial and laboratory reports, credible websites, and magazines. As a ground rule, all sources must provide adequate and irrefutable evidence to support the main arguments. Also, one should find scholarly sources published in the last ten years because they contain the latest evidence and facts on research issues. Hence, writers should look for credible sources to support the main arguments in their term papers.

B. Making Notes for a Term Paper

Taking notes is a crucial step when writing term papers. Basically, scholars should read all the sources critically. In this case, the strategy allows one to understand the major concepts and ideas that relate to a research topic. Moreover, students should consider writing short notes to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding of the main messages made by authors of credible sources. Then, successful scholars take notes and revise them to ensure that they obtain the most substantial evidence that supports their research work. In turn, improving research notes involves breaking broader ideas into smaller ones and combining others to make them stronger and sensible. Therefore students should take the necessary points to support the main arguments in their term papers.    

C. Developing a Term Paper Outline

Organizing thoughts play a crucial role in preparing a quality paper. Basically, one should combine research notes obtained from scholarly sources and those gathered during brainstorming and put them into developing a term paper outline. Basically, an essay outline helps writers to connect ideas. However, a term paper outline should contain a research topic with the main thoughts and concepts needed to be covered. Besides, clear outlines have smaller ideas that relate to the main ones. In turn, the strategy allows one to see direct connections between the main ideas and leads to an organized term paper. Hence, students should follow the basic steps below to create a clear term paper outline:

  1. Organize notes and relevant evidence into groups of related ideas.
  2. Review a thesis statement to determine if it communicates the intended message
  3. Identify the main points that support a working thesis statement or research hypothesis.
  4. Include ideas and thoughts that support the main points.
  5. Match supportive ideas with relevant sources obtained through research.
  6. Organize all the ideas to achieve a unique flow of information logically.
  7. Identify if some of the points presented need more research and where thoughts require development.
  8. Revise points and ideas to enhance the overall quality of a term paper.

D. Writing an Annotated Bibliography for a Term Paper

Successful scholars prepare annotated bibliographies that contain relevant and irrefutable research. Basically, each entry in an annotated bibliography for a term paper should include citation information with a short description and analysis. In this case, scholars should follow accepted citation styles, depending on instructions given by professors. Besides, an annotated bibliography must focus on a research topic of a term paper. The scholar should ensure that all sources remain relevant to the topic. However, one should remember that the annotated bibliography requirements may vary depending on the topic and term paper’s requirements. In turn, a useful annotated bibliography should help learners to keep track of research readings and gain a sense of a literature review. Hence, one should prepare an annotated bibliography for a term paper when conducting research.

Step 3: Start Writing a Term Paper

A. Organizing a First Draft of a Term Paper

Drafts of the term papers help one to organize ideas in a good flow. Basically, students should use their outlines and annotated bibliographies to write the first draft of a term paper. In this case, scholars should focus on presenting all the ideas in this draft. Moreover, an appropriate draft enables one to test an outline and elaborate theories to support the central argument. In practice, good drafts resemble complete term papers. Also, good drafts should contain a title page, abstract, introduction, body, and conclusion with a reference page.

B. Putting Everything Together

A scholar should put all the ideas together into a complete term paper. For example, learners should ensure that a written document contains a logical flow of ideas. In this case, the strategy enables students to identify some research gaps in the presented concepts of a term paper. Besides, putting everything together helps authors to identify some points that require more investigation.

C. Finding New Sources or Deleting Old Ones

Term papers must contain compelling ideas and arguments. For example, learners must review their drafts to determine if all sources provide relevant and credible evidence. In practice, scholars must change some sources that offer weak arguments. Besides, writers should remove previous scholarly sources that provide weak points of view or irrelevant to a study since a research hypothesis may be changed during writing the first draft. Hence, one must change credible sources where necessary.

D. Altering an Outline

Learners should change their outlines of the term papers to make such pieces more substantial and compelling. For instance, one must use the first draft and new scholarly sources to make relevant changes in a term paper’s outline. Besides, the primary goal of this strategy is to strengthen study arguments and improve their clarity.

E. Creating a Working Thesis

Compelling term papers must contain well-organized thesis statements by considering research hypotheses and rationales. Basically, scholars must develop a working thesis statement that includes the claim and significant points that scholars try to make. In this case, writers should create a sentence that explains their positions taken on topics in question based on their hypotheses and rationales. Also, lecturers evaluate all the body paragraphs and how they relate to the thesis and research question. In this case, one should use a revised outline, draft, and annotated bibliography to create the working hypothesis and ensure that it meets the necessary quality.

Step 3: Wrapping It Up

A. Revisions

Outstanding term papers contain minimal or no flaws. Basically, learners must revise their drafts to remove all the mistakes. For example, some of the factors that one must consider are spelling and grammatical errors, various writing technicalities, and ideas flow. In this case, revisions play a significant role in improving the term paper’s overall quality and ensuring that readers develop the motivation to evaluate all its sections. Hence, students must revise the term paper’s draft to remove unnecessary mistakes.  

B. Editing

Editing is an important task that helps authors to make term papers compelling. In particular, students must focus on enhancing the readability and relevance levels of a term paper. Hence, when writing a term paper, one must consider:

  • Scholars should change the order of words during the editing process. In this case, the primary purpose of enhancing the term paper’s euphony is to improve the rhythm and other dynamics. Also, students should replace weak expressions to remove clichés and conversational style.
  • Effective editing helps authors to enhance the brevity of statements and claims made throughout a term paper. In turn, short and concise words sound better than long or wordy statements.
  • An effective editing process improves the honesty of claims made and evidence presented throughout a study work. In this case, term papers should include proven facts in each paragraph. Moreover, one should specify scholarly sources of any data used in supporting topic sentences.
  • Students should edit their term papers to improve the quality of their literacy levels. For instance, one must proofread the work to remove punctuation, spelling and syntax mistakes, and typos. Also, this process requires reading a term paper several times to identify all errors and correct them accordingly.

C. Topic Sentences

Every paragraph in the body of a term paper must begin with a topic sentence. For example, learners must ensure that each section dwells on a single point related to the thesis statement. Moreover, one should reread the work to ensure that all paragraphs have the necessary opening statements.

E. Concluding Sentences

Every paragraph of a term paper should end with a concluding sentence. In this case, students should summarize covered ideas in a section. Besides, last sentences of paragraphs should include a summative claim that brings all the concepts and thoughts into a unique closure.  

F. Transitions

All ideas presented in a term paper must have a unique transitioning of ideas. For example, writers should use the necessary phrases to transition sentences and paragraphs. In particular, the approach improves the overall readability and flow of ideas in a research paper. As a rule, each paragraph’s last sentence must act as a transition to the next section. Hence, readers must find connections between all the paragraphs in a term paper.

G. Formatting

Any learning institution requires students to follow specific formatting rules. In this case, learners must follow such guidelines when writing their term papers. Also, marking rubrics are useful tools that each learner must use to format their works.

H. Peer Reviewing

Peer review is an essential step in enhancing the term paper’s quality. Basically, one should identify scholars who are familiar with a study subject to read a term paper. Also, qualified scholars help students to identify some mistakes that may undermine the term paper’s readability. Besides, peers provide positive criticism that allows students to make the necessary changes to their works.

Step 4: Writing a Final Draft of a Term Paper

The term paper’s final draft must include all the changes made during revisions, editing, formatting, and peer review. In this case, scholars should focus on submitting flawless documents that do not contain any forms of plagiarism. Besides, the final draft must capture all the aspects covered during a research study with results, discussion, recommendations, limitations, and information for further research.

Basic Outline Template of a Term Paper Format

Cover Page with a Title of a Term Paper

Abstract (150 words)

Outline (if needed)

I. Introduction

A. Relevance of research.

B. The purpose of a term paper or a discussed problem.

C. Personal reaction to a study subject.

D. Hypothesis and Rationale

E. Short descriptions of methodology and key findings.

F. Principal conclusions and thesis statement.

II. Body

A. Literature Review

  • Topic sentence.
  • Evidence.
  • Explanation.
  • Concluding sentence and transition.

B. Methodology

  • Topic sentence.
  • Evidence.
  • Explanation.
  • Concluding sentence and transition.

C. Results

  • Topic sentence.
  • Evidence.
  • Explanation.
  • Concluding sentence and transition.

D. Discussion

  • Topic sentence.
  • Evidence.
  • Explanation.
  • Concluding sentence and transition.

E. Recommendations and Limitations (if needed)

  • Topic sentence.
  • Evidence.
  • Explanation.
  • Concluding sentence and transition.

III. Conclusion

A. Summary of the main points.

B. A strong response to the thesis statement.

C. A summative statement.

The outline of the term paper appears different since it contains different sections. For example, a term paper includes various subheadings that relate to the main topic. Each subheading may have several body paragraphs. However, each paragraph must contain a topic sentence, a supporting example, and the relevant explanation.

Explanations for Key Aspects of a Term Paper’s Outline Format

1. Introduction Part of a Term Paper

The introduction must state the primary purpose of a term paper. Basically, scholars should ensure that the first part of the work acquaints readers with a problem under discussion. Besides, one must include a compelling and robust thesis statement in this section. As a rule, the introduction should not take up a large part of the entire paper. Hence, the introduction should provide an overview of the whole work in a straightforward and precise manner.

2. Body

The term paper’s body should have different headings and subheadings that connect to the topic. In this case, scholars must ensure that the process of dividing a term paper into different sections enhances the clarity of the message. Moreover, the strategy should not distract readers from appreciating the intended message.

3. Conclusion

The closing paragraph should restate the thesis statement included in the introduction. Basically, students must sum up the ideas presented in all the body paragraphs. Also, the most effective strategy that one may use is to restate all the topic sentences. Besides, authors must provide a concluding statement that brings the entire work into a unique closure.

How to Write a Term Paper Proposal

A term paper proposal outlines the structure of the future work that scholars must complete. Basically, practical recommendations provide crucial elements that support the research included in the actual term paper. In this case, term proposals aim to constrict a wide area of interest into a complicated or specific topic. Moreover, writers define the intention to discover a study issue and base the decision on the need to make changes, improve the condition of the matter, or advance the scholarly knowledge in the specific area of interest. In turn, one should select essential parts of a term paper and put them together in a unified format. Besides, one should briefly describe each section and tie key details to a chosen topic. Hence, a good term paper proposal should include the following parts:

  • Title – A term paper should have a concise and brief title. In practice, this title should resemble that of the actual term paper.
  • Objectives – Term paper proposals should state the research goals of a study. In this case, one must include the intended purpose of the research.
  • Research question – An outstanding proposal must state research questions that scholars intend to answer through adequate research.
  • Thesis statement – Term paper proposals should include a clear thesis statement that responds to the research question directly. In this case, a suitable thesis should be factual, clear, and subjective. Besides, one must ensure that the central claim is a verifiable statement.
  • Methodology – Research proposals should state study methods used to gather and evaluate the relevant data. Moreover, students should use appropriate and proven methods to conduct their research.

Possible Writing Formats for Term Papers

Different educational institutions require learners to use writing formats when preparing term papers. For example, the most common formatting styles that one may come across include MLA 8, APA 7, Harvard, and Chicago/Turabian. In turn, each of these formats has specific guidelines that one must observe.

1. MLA 8

Term papers formatted in MLA 8 do not require a cover page unless specified. In particular, writers must include a header that contains surname and page numbers. Moreover, one must flush these details to the right margin of the page. In turn, all in-text citations should have the author’s last name and the exact page containing the evidence used.

2. APA 7

Term papers formatted in APA 7 should contain a title page that includes the relevant heading and identifies the student, date, and relevant institution. In this case, each page must contain a header that consists of a shortened title of the term paper and the specific page. However, the first page should have the phrase “running head” preceding the shortened title. In turn, in-text citations should contain the author’s last name and publication date.

3. Harvard

Term paper formatted in Harvard style must contain a title page that includes the title and other details identifying the student, professor or tutor, and the relevant institution. Also, one must write the title in capital letters. Then, the header should contain the title and page number. However, one must flush these details to the right margin. As a result, in-text citations should include the author’s surname, publication date, and the page containing the relevant evidence.

4. Chicago/Turabian

Term papers formatted in Chicago/Turabian should contain a title page that has the title and identifies the author. Basically, one must capitalize all the letters in the heading. Moreover, page numbers should begin on the second page and must appear on the top right side. In turn, in-text citations should appear as footnotes that contain full bibliographic details of sources.    

Sample of Writing a Simple Term paper

Research Topic: Is the “war on terror,” a global civil war?

Abstract

Scholars develop different conceptions of the term “war on terror.” Basically, some scholars argue that the United States uses the war on terror to control the weaker nations. In this case, the current research examined whether the war on terror is a civil war. Then, a review of relevant literature was an effective method of gathering the necessary data. In turn, study results show that the United States uses the war on terror to protect citizens’ rights, which proves the alternative hypothesis to be a valid statement.

Keywords: War on terror, hypothesis, and review of literature

I. Sample of a Term Paper’s Introduction

The term war on terror became standard after the extremist attacks of September 11, 2001. Basically, President George W. Bush’s government confirmed a global campaign that involved open and secret military actions, new security lawmaking, and determinations to block extremism’s sponsoring, among other factors. In this case, the movement rallied for support from other countries, which willingly joined in the fight against terrorism. Although most scholars argue that the war on terror is an American strategy to control other countries, civil war theories prove otherwise.

Hypotheses:

H0 – The United States uses the war on terror to control other countries.

H1 – The United States uses the war on terror to protect the rights of the citizens.

II. Example of Body Paragraphs for a Term Paper

A. Literature Review

Different theories of civil wars prove that persistent rebel groups that engage in criminal activities. For example, some of the civil war philosophies include motivation and feasibility, ideas of rebellion, organization of the uprising, and evidence on the causes, among other factors (Kimbrough & Sheremeta, 2019). In turn, these theories prove that civil war results from the emergence and persistence of a rebel army. Moreover, motivation and feasibility theories argue that rebels with excessive power engage in terrorism. Hence, persistent rebel groups engage in terrorism as a way of addressing their interests.

B. Methodology

A review of relevant literature is a suitable method for gathering the necessary data for the essay. According to Reale et al. (2017), a literature review is an effective method for gathering information for research papers in history and other social sciences. Therefore, reviewing scholarly sources related to civil war and terrorism will contribute towards gathering the necessary data.

C. Results

Standard game theory shows that economic grievances lead to terrorism. According to traditional game theory, economic dissimilarities in the community motivate some people to engage in crime (Kimbrough & Sheremeta, 2019). In this case, the less productive but healthy groups tend to participate in violence against industrious but weak groups. Besides, such conflict levels undermine the fairness, equity, or coercion, depending on the analyst’s political standpoint. Hence, economic grievances motivate some groups to engage in terrorism.

D. Discussion

Study findings show that the United States targets specific terror groups since their predatory behavior in a country or region leads to adverse economic and social outcomes. In this case, militant groups lead to redistribution-through-violence when productive and weak agents engage in defensive actions. Moreover, militant groups engage in activities that cause other people to reiterate. In turn, research results from such activities include reciprocated hatred that inflicts harm to innocent citizens. Hence, the United States participates in peacekeeping missions that can lower the negative impacts of such conflicts.

III. Conclusion Sample in a Term Paper

Most scholars argue that the war on terror is an American strategy to control other countries. In this case, different theories on civil wars prove that terrorism results from grievances and economic interests of some specific groups. Moreover, such activities destabilize the economic and social welfare of ordinary citizens. Thus, citizens focus on such terror groups intending to protect citizens of the affected countries. 

References

Kimbrough, E. O., & Sheremeta, R. M. (2019). Theories of conflict and war. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 159, 384–387. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.007

Reale, E., Avramov, D., Canhial, K., Donovan, C., Flecha, R., Holm, P., Larkin, C., Lepori, B., Mosoni-Fried, J., Oliver, E., Primeri, E., Puigvert, L., Scharnhorst, A., Schubert, A., Soler, M., Soòs, S., Sordé, T., Travis, C., & Van Horik, R. (2017). A literature review on evaluating the scientific, social, and political impact of social sciences and humanities research. Research Evaluation, 27(4), 298–308. https://doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvx025

Summing Up on How to Write a Good Term Paper

Term papers refer to a research assignment completed by learners toward the end of educational semesters. In this case, students must ensure that research papers meet the necessary quality since they track and evaluate one’s knowledge. Hence, when writing a term paper, one should remember:

  • rely on comprehensive research and methodological writing skills.
  • include analytical and organized structures;
  • present well-researched evidence that supports significant claims;
  • consider various formatting strategies as required by learning institutions.