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Examples of Term Papers that Got an A

Listed below are links to some term papers that got an "A" grade last year. When you compare these examples with each other, you will notice that there are three important aspects of an “A” paper. First, they are passionately written and captivating to read. Second, they have good grammar and style (following MLA, APA, or CMS style). Third, they are well documented with in-text references (in parentheses) linking their assertions to scholary articles in the list of references at the end of the paper. You will see what I mean when you follow these links to student papers that earned an “A” last year. All of these papers are copyrighted by their authors. Please respect these copyrights.

  • Aisha-McCormick-Digital-Marketing
  • Allie-Modica-Effectiveness
  • Allison-Winters-Technology-And-Learning-Styles
  • Amanda-Yanez-Social-Media-Advertising
  • Amanda-Warren-Social-Media-Likes
  • Austin-Abbruzzesi-Computer-Science-Classes-in-High-School-Curricula
  • Ben-Rohe-MOOCs
  • Brianna-Patrizio-Gender-Equality
  • Collette-Small-Social-Media
  • Danielle-Piha-CyberBullying
  • Danielle-Ragno-LinkedIn
  • David-Palgon-Facebook-and-Employers
  • Donna-Muchio-Self-Esteem
  • Ebenezer-Riverson-3D-Printing
  • Elizabeth-Hansen-WII-Physical-Therapy
  • Faith-Lumpkin-LinkedIn
  • Giselle-Malenchek-Digital-Piracy
  • Jessica-Morris-Healthy-Lifestyles
  • Katy-Snyder-Social-Media-Advertisers
  • Jillian-Loeffler-Social-Media-in-Your-Job-Search
  • Lauren-Vandaniker-Technology-Impact-On-Nursing-Practice
  • Lisa-Plumley-Multimedia-Young-Children
  • Madison-Gamble-Technology-As-A-Means-For-Therapeutic-Modalities
  • Maria-Medved-Hospitality-Industry
  • Lisa-Tossey-POV-Cameras-Education
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  • Sarah-Ibarguen-Twitter
  • Taylor-Soave-Social-Media-Classroom
  • Tim-Ware-Social-Media-News-Outlet

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Everything You Need to Know to Write an A+ Term Paper

Last Updated: March 4, 2024 Fact Checked

Sample Term Papers

Researching & outlining.

  • Drafting Your Paper
  • Revising Your Paper

Expert Q&A

This article was co-authored by Matthew Snipp, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Raven Minyard, BA . C. Matthew Snipp is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. He is also the Director for the Institute for Research in the Social Science’s Secure Data Center. He has been a Research Fellow at the U.S. Bureau of the Census and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has published 3 books and over 70 articles and book chapters on demography, economic development, poverty and unemployment. He is also currently serving on the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Population Science Subcommittee. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,241,978 times.

A term paper is a written assignment given to students at the end of a course to gauge their understanding of the material. Term papers typically count for a good percentage of your overall grade, so of course, you’ll want to write the best paper possible. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to write an A+ term paper, from researching and outlining to drafting and revising.

Quick Steps to Write a Term Paper

  • Hook your readers with an interesting and informative intro paragraph. State your thesis and your main points.
  • Support your thesis by providing quotes and evidence that back your claim in your body paragraphs.
  • Summarize your main points and leave your readers with a thought-provoking question in your conclusion.

sample term papers

  • Think of your term paper as the bridge between what you’ve learned in class and how you apply that knowledge to real-world topics.
  • For example, a history term paper may require you to explore the consequences of a significant historical event, like the Civil War. An environmental science class, on the other hand, may have you examine the effects of climate change on a certain region.
  • Your guidelines should tell you the paper’s word count and formatting style, like whether to use in-text citations or footnotes and whether to use single- or double-spacing. If these things aren’t specified, be sure to reach out to your instructor.

Step 2 Choose an interesting topic.

  • Make sure your topic isn’t too broad. For example, if you want to write about Shakespeare’s work, first narrow it down to a specific play, like Macbeth , then choose something even more specific like Lady Macbeth’s role in the plot.
  • If the topic is already chosen for you, explore unique angles that can set your content and information apart from the more obvious approaches many others will probably take. [3] X Research source
  • Try not to have a specific outcome in mind, as this will close you off to new ideas and avenues of thinking. Rather than trying to mold your research to fit your desired outcome, allow the outcome to reflect a genuine analysis of the discoveries you made. Ask yourself questions throughout the process and be open to having your beliefs challenged.
  • Reading other people's comments, opinions, and entries on a topic can often help you to refine your own, especially where they comment that "further research" is required or where they posit challenging questions but leave them unanswered.

Step 3 Do your research.

  • For example, if you’re writing a term paper about Macbeth , your primary source would be the play itself. Then, look for other research papers and analyses written by academics and scholars to understand how they interpret the text.

Step 4 Craft your thesis statement.

  • For example, if you’re writing a paper about Lady Macbeth, your thesis could be something like “Shakespeare’s characterization of Lady Macbeth reveals how desire for power can control someone’s life.”
  • Remember, your research and thesis development doesn’t stop here. As you continue working through both the research and writing, you may want to make changes that align with the ideas forming in your mind and the discoveries you continue to unearth.
  • On the other hand, don’t keep looking for new ideas and angles for fear of feeling confined. At some point, you’re going to have to say enough is enough and make your point. You may have other opportunities to explore these questions in future studies, but for now, remember your term paper has a finite word length and an approaching due date!

Step 5 Develop an outline for the paper.

  • Abstract: An abstract is a concise summary of your paper that informs readers of your topic, its significance, and the key points you’ll explore. It must stand on its own and make sense without referencing outside sources or your actual paper.
  • Introduction: The introduction establishes the main idea of your paper and directly states the thesis. Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing sentence to intrigue your readers, and provide any necessary background information to establish your paper’s purpose and direction.
  • Body paragraphs: Each body paragraph focuses on a different argument supporting your thesis. List specific evidence from your sources to back up your arguments. Provide detailed information about your topic to enhance your readers’ understanding. In your outline, write down the main ideas for each body paragraph and any outstanding questions or points you’re not yet sure about.
  • Results: Depending on the type of term paper you’re writing, your results may be incorporated into your body paragraphs or conclusion. These are the insights that your research led you to. Here you can discuss how your perspective and understanding of your topic shifted throughout your writing process.
  • Conclusion: Your conclusion summarizes your argument and findings. You may restate your thesis and major points as you wrap up your paper.

Drafting Your Term Paper

Step 1 Make your point in the introduction.

  • Writing an introduction can be challenging, but don’t get too caught up on it. As you write the rest of your paper, your arguments might change and develop, so you’ll likely need to rewrite your intro at the end, anyway. Writing your intro is simply a means of getting started and you can always revise it later. [10] X Trustworthy Source PubMed Central Journal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of Health Go to source
  • Be sure to define any words your readers might not understand. For example, words like “globalization” have many different meanings depending on context, and it’s important to state which ones you’ll be using as part of your introductory paragraph.

Step 2 Persuade your readers with your body paragraphs.

  • Try to relate the subject of the essay (say, Plato’s Symposium ) to a tangentially related issue you happen to know something about (say, the growing trend of free-wheeling hookups in frat parties). Slowly bring the paragraph around to your actual subject and make a few generalizations about why this aspect of the book/subject is so fascinating and worthy of study (such as how different the expectations for physical intimacy were then compared to now).

Step 3 Summarize your argument with your conclusion.

  • You can also reflect on your own experience of researching and writing your term paper. Discuss how your understanding of your topic evolved and any unexpected findings you came across.

Step 4 Write your abstract.

  • While peppering quotes throughout your text is a good way to help make your point, don’t overdo it. If you use too many quotes, you’re basically allowing other authors to make the point and write the paper for you. When you do use a quote, be sure to explain why it is relevant in your own words.
  • Try to sort out your bibliography at the beginning of your writing process to avoid having a last-minute scramble. When you have all the information beforehand (like the source’s title, author, publication date, etc.), it’s easier to plug them into the correct format.

Step 6 Come up with a good title.

Revising & Finalizing Your Term Paper

Step 1 Make your writing as concise as possible.

  • Trade in weak “to-be” verbs for stronger “action” verbs. For example: “I was writing my term paper” becomes “I wrote my term paper.”

Step 2 Check for grammar and spelling errors.

  • It’s extremely important to proofread your term paper. If your writing is full of mistakes, your instructor will assume you didn’t put much effort into your paper. If you have too many errors, your message will be lost in the confusion of trying to understand what you’ve written.

Step 3 Have someone else read over your paper.

  • If you add or change information to make things clearer for your readers, it’s a good idea to look over your paper one more time to catch any new typos that may have come up in the process.

Matthew Snipp, PhD

  • The best essays are like grass court tennis—the argument should flow in a "rally" style, building persuasively to the conclusion. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • If you get stuck, consider giving your professor a visit. Whether you're still struggling for a thesis or you want to go over your conclusion, most instructors are delighted to help and they'll remember your initiative when grading time rolls around. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1
  • At least 2 hours for 3-5 pages.
  • At least 4 hours for 8-10 pages.
  • At least 6 hours for 12-15 pages.
  • Double those hours if you haven't done any homework and you haven't attended class.
  • For papers that are primarily research-based, add about two hours to those times (although you'll need to know how to research quickly and effectively, beyond the purview of this brief guide).

sample term papers

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  • ↑ https://www.binghamton.edu/counseling/self-help/term-paper.html
  • ↑ Matthew Snipp, PhD. Research Fellow, U.S. Bureau of the Census. Expert Interview. 26 March 2020.
  • ↑ https://emory.libanswers.com/faq/44525
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/planresearchpaper/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/thesis_statement_tips.html
  • ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/outline
  • ↑ https://gallaudet.edu/student-success/tutorial-center/english-center/writing/guide-to-writing-introductions-and-conclusions/
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26731827
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/writing-an-abstract-for-your-research-paper/
  • ↑ https://www.ivcc.edu/stylesite/Essay_Title.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.uni-flensburg.de/fileadmin/content/institute/anglistik/dokumente/downloads/how-to-write-a-term-paper-daewes.pdf
  • ↑ https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185937
  • ↑ https://www.cornerstone.edu/blog-post/six-steps-to-really-edit-your-paper/

About This Article

Matthew Snipp, PhD

If you need to write a term paper, choose your topic, then start researching that topic. Use your research to craft a thesis statement which states the main idea of your paper, then organize all of your facts into an outline that supports your thesis. Once you start writing, state your thesis in the first paragraph, then use the body of the paper to present the points that support your argument. End the paper with a strong conclusion that restates your thesis. For tips on improving your term paper through active voice, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Research Method

Home » Term Paper – Format, Examples and Writing Guide

Term Paper – Format, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents



Term paper is a type of academic writing assignment that is typically assigned to students at the end of a semester or term. It is usually a research-based paper that is meant to demonstrate the student’s understanding of a particular topic, as well as their ability to analyze and synthesize information from various sources.

Term papers are usually longer than other types of academic writing assignments and can range anywhere from 5 to 20 pages or more, depending on the level of study and the specific requirements of the assignment. They often require extensive research and the use of a variety of sources, including books, articles, and other academic publications.

Term Paper Format

The format of a term paper may vary depending on the specific requirements of your professor or institution. However, a typical term paper usually consists of the following sections:

  • Title page: This should include the title of your paper, your name, the course name and number, your instructor’s name, and the date.
  • Abstract : This is a brief summary of your paper, usually no more than 250 words. It should provide an overview of your topic, the research question or hypothesis, your methodology, and your main findings or conclusions.
  • Introduction : This section should introduce your topic and provide background information on the subject. You should also state your research question or hypothesis and explain the importance of your research.
  • Literature review : This section should review the existing literature on your topic. You should summarize the key findings and arguments made by other scholars and identify any gaps in the literature that your research aims to address.
  • Methodology: This section should describe the methods you used to collect and analyze your data. You should explain your research design, sampling strategy, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.
  • Results : This section should present your findings. You can use tables, graphs, and charts to illustrate your data.
  • Discussion : This section should interpret your findings and explain what they mean in relation to your research question or hypothesis. You should also discuss any limitations of your study and suggest areas for future research.
  • Conclusion : This section should summarize your main findings and conclusions. You should also restate the importance of your research and its implications for the field.
  • References : This section should list all the sources you cited in your paper using a specific citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).
  • Appendices : This section should include any additional materials that are relevant to your study but not essential to your main argument (e.g., survey questions, interview transcripts).

Structure of Term Paper

Here’s an example structure for a term paper:

I. Introduction

A. Background information on the topic

B. Thesis statement

II. Literature Review

A. Overview of current literature on the topic

B. Discussion of key themes and findings from literature

C. Identification of gaps in current literature

III. Methodology

A. Description of research design

B. Discussion of data collection methods

C. Explanation of data analysis techniques

IV. Results

A. Presentation of findings

B. Analysis and interpretation of results

C. Comparison of results with previous studies

V. Discussion

A. Summary of key findings

B. Explanation of how results address the research questions

C. Implications of results for the field

VI. Conclusion

A. Recap of key points

B. Significance of findings

C. Future directions for research

VII. References

A. List of sources cited in the paper

How to Write Term Paper

Here are some steps to help you write a term paper:

  • Choose a topic: Choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to your course. If your professor has assigned a topic, make sure you understand it and clarify any doubts before you start.
  • Research : Conduct research on your topic by gathering information from various sources such as books, academic journals, and online resources. Take notes and organize your information systematically.
  • Create an outline : Create an outline of your term paper by arranging your ideas and information in a logical sequence. Your outline should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • Write a thesis statement: Write a clear and concise thesis statement that states the main idea of your paper. Your thesis statement should be included in your introduction.
  • Write the introduction: The introduction should grab the reader’s attention, provide background information on your topic, and introduce your thesis statement.
  • Write the body : The body of your paper should provide supporting evidence for your thesis statement. Use your research to provide details and examples to support your argument. Make sure to organize your ideas logically and use transition words to connect paragraphs.
  • Write the conclusion : The conclusion should summarize your main points and restate your thesis statement. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion.
  • Edit and proofread: Edit and proofread your term paper carefully to ensure that it is free of errors and flows smoothly. Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
  • Format and cite your sources: Follow the formatting guidelines provided by your professor and cite your sources properly using the appropriate citation style.
  • Submit your paper : Submit your paper on time and according to the instructions provided by your professor.

Term Paper Example

Here’s an example of a term paper:

Title : The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity

As the world becomes more digitally interconnected, cybersecurity threats are increasing in frequency and sophistication. Traditional security measures are no longer enough to protect against these threats. This paper explores the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity, including how AI can be used to detect and respond to threats in real-time, the challenges of implementing AI in cybersecurity, and the potential ethical implications of AI-powered security systems. The paper concludes with recommendations for organizations looking to integrate AI into their cybersecurity strategies.

Introduction :

The increasing number of cybersecurity threats in recent years has led to a growing interest in the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve cybersecurity. AI has the ability to analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate a security breach. Additionally, AI can automate responses to threats, allowing for faster and more effective mitigation of security incidents. However, there are also challenges associated with implementing AI in cybersecurity, such as the need for large amounts of high-quality data, the potential for AI systems to make mistakes, and the ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI in security.

Literature Review:

This section of the paper reviews existing research on the use of AI in cybersecurity. It begins by discussing the types of AI techniques used in cybersecurity, including machine learning, natural language processing, and neural networks. The literature review then explores the advantages of using AI in cybersecurity, such as its ability to detect previously unknown threats and its potential to reduce the workload of security analysts. However, the review also highlights some of the challenges associated with implementing AI in cybersecurity, such as the need for high-quality training data and the potential for AI systems to be fooled by sophisticated attacks.

Methodology :

To better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with using AI in cybersecurity, this paper conducted a survey of cybersecurity professionals working in a variety of industries. The survey included questions about the types of AI techniques used in their organizations, the challenges they faced when implementing AI in cybersecurity, and their perceptions of the ethical implications of using AI in security.

The results of the survey showed that while many organizations are interested in using AI in cybersecurity, they face several challenges when implementing these systems. These challenges include the need for high-quality training data, the potential for AI systems to be fooled by sophisticated attacks, and the difficulty of integrating AI with existing security systems. Additionally, many respondents expressed concerns about the ethical implications of using AI in security, such as the potential for AI to be biased or to make decisions that are harmful to individuals or society as a whole.

Discussion :

Based on the results of the survey and the existing literature, this paper discusses the potential benefits and risks of using AI in cybersecurity. It also provides recommendations for organizations looking to integrate AI into their security strategies, such as the need to prioritize data quality and to ensure that AI systems are transparent and accountable.

Conclusion :

While there are challenges associated with implementing AI in cybersecurity, the potential benefits of using these systems are significant. AI can help organizations detect and respond to threats more quickly and effectively, reducing the risk of security breaches. However, it is important for organizations to be aware of the potential ethical implications of using AI in security and to take steps to ensure that these systems are transparent and accountable.


  • Alkhaldi, S., Al-Daraiseh, A., & Lutfiyya, H. (2019). A Survey on Artificial Intelligence Techniques in Cyber Security. Journal of Information Security, 10(03), 191-207.
  • Gartner. (2019). Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2020/
  • Kshetri, N. (2018). Blockchain’s roles in meeting key supply chain management objectives. International Journal of Information Management, 39, 80-89.
  • Lipton, Z. C. (2018). The mythos of model interpretability. arXiv preprint arXiv:1606.03490.
  • Schneier, B. (2019). Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World. WW Norton & Company.
  • Wahab, M. A., Rahman, M. S., & Islam, M. R. (2020). A Survey on AI Techniques in Cybersecurity. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, 11(2), 22-27.

When to Write Term Paper

A term paper is usually a lengthy research paper that is assigned to students at the end of a term or semester. There are several situations when writing a term paper may be required, including:

  • As a course requirement: In most cases, a term paper is required as part of the coursework for a particular course. It may be assigned by the instructor as a way of assessing the student’s understanding of the course material.
  • To explore a specific topic : A term paper can be an excellent opportunity for students to explore a specific topic of interest in-depth. It allows them to conduct extensive research on the topic and develop their understanding of it.
  • To develop critical thinking skills : Writing a term paper requires students to engage in critical thinking and analysis. It helps them to develop their ability to evaluate and interpret information, as well as to present their ideas in a clear and coherent manner.
  • To prepare for future academic or professional pursuits: Writing a term paper can be an excellent way for students to prepare for future academic or professional pursuits. It can help them to develop the research and writing skills necessary for success in higher education or in a professional career.

Purpose of Term Paper

The main purposes of a term paper are:

  • Demonstrate mastery of a subject: A term paper provides an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. It requires students to research and analyze the topic, and then present their findings in a clear and organized manner.
  • Develop critical thinking skills: Writing a term paper requires students to think critically about their subject matter, analyzing various sources and viewpoints, and evaluating evidence to support their arguments.
  • Improve writing skills : Writing a term paper helps students improve their writing skills, including organization, clarity, and coherence. It also requires them to follow specific formatting and citation guidelines, which can be valuable skills for future academic and professional endeavors.
  • Contribute to academic discourse : A well-written term paper can contribute to academic discourse by presenting new insights, ideas, and arguments that add to the existing body of knowledge on a particular topic.
  • Prepare for future research : Writing a term paper can help prepare students for future research, by teaching them how to conduct a literature review, evaluate sources, and formulate research questions and hypotheses. It can also help them develop research skills that they can apply in future academic or professional endeavors.

Advantages of Term Paper

There are several advantages of writing a term paper, including:

  • In-depth exploration: Writing a term paper allows you to delve deeper into a specific topic, allowing you to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.
  • Improved writing skills: Writing a term paper involves extensive research, critical thinking, and the organization of ideas into a cohesive written document. As a result, writing a term paper can improve your writing skills significantly.
  • Demonstration of knowledge: A well-written term paper demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, which can be beneficial for academic or professional purposes.
  • Development of research skills : Writing a term paper requires conducting thorough research, analyzing data, and synthesizing information from various sources. This process can help you develop essential research skills that can be applied in many other areas.
  • Enhancement of critical thinking : Writing a term paper encourages you to think critically, evaluate information, and develop well-supported arguments. These skills can be useful in many areas of life, including personal and professional decision-making.
  • Preparation for further academic work : Writing a term paper is excellent preparation for more extensive academic projects, such as a thesis or dissertation.

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sample term papers

How to Write a Term Paper From Start to Finish

sample term papers

The term paper, often regarded as the culmination of a semester's hard work, is a rite of passage for students in pursuit of higher education. Here's an interesting fact to kick things off: Did you know that the term paper's origins can be traced back to ancient Greece, where scholars like Plato and Aristotle utilized written works to explore and document their philosophical musings? Just as these great minds once wrote their thoughts on parchment, you, too, can embark on this intellectual voyage with confidence and skill.

How to Write a Term Paper: Short Description

In this article, we'll delve into the core purpose of this kind of assignment – to showcase your understanding of a subject, your research abilities, and your capacity to communicate complex ideas effectively. But it doesn't stop there. We'll also guide you in the art of creating a well-structured term paper format, a roadmap that will not only keep you on track but also ensure your ideas flow seamlessly and logically. Packed with valuable tips on writing, organization, and time management, this resource promises to equip you with the tools needed to excel in your academic writing.

Understanding What Is a Term Paper

A term paper, a crucial component of your college education, is often assigned towards the conclusion of a semester. It's a vehicle through which educators gauge your comprehension of the course content. Imagine it as a bridge between what you've learned in class and your ability to apply that knowledge to real-world topics.

For instance, in a history course, you might be asked to delve into the causes and consequences of a significant historical event, such as World War II. In a psychology class, your term paper might explore the effects of stress on mental health, or in an environmental science course, you could analyze the impact of climate change on a specific region.

Writing a term paper isn't just about summarizing facts. It requires a blend of organization, deep research, and the art of presenting your findings in a way that's both clear and analytical. This means structuring your arguments logically, citing relevant sources, and critically evaluating the information you've gathered.

For further guidance, we've prepared an insightful guide for you authored by our expert essay writer . It's brimming with practical tips and valuable insights to help you stand out in this academic endeavor and earn the recognition you deserve.

How to Start a Term Paper

Before you start, keep the guidelines for the term paper format firmly in mind. If you have any doubts, don't hesitate to reach out to your instructor for clarification before you begin your research and writing process. And remember, procrastination is your worst enemy in this endeavor. If you're aiming to produce an exceptional piece and secure a top grade, it's essential to plan ahead and allocate dedicated time each day to work on it. Now, let our term paper writing services provide you with some valuable tips to help you on your journey:

start a term paper

  • Hone Your Topic : Start by cultivating a learning mindset that empowers you to effectively organize your thoughts. Discover how to research a topic in the section below.
  • Hook Your Readers: Initiate a brainstorming session and unleash a barrage of creative ideas to captivate your audience right from the outset. Pose intriguing questions, share compelling anecdotes, offer persuasive statistics, and more.
  • Craft a Concise Thesis Statement Example : If you find yourself struggling to encapsulate the main idea of your paper in just a sentence or two, it's time to revisit your initial topic and consider narrowing it down.
  • Understand Style Requirements: Your work must adhere to specific formatting guidelines. Delve into details about the APA format and other pertinent regulations in the section provided.
  • Delve Deeper with Research : Equipped with a clearer understanding of your objectives, dive into your subject matter with a discerning eye. Ensure that you draw from reputable and reliable sources.
  • Begin Writing: Don't obsess over perfection from the get-go. Just start writing, and don't worry about initial imperfections. You can always revise or remove those early sentences later. The key is to initiate the term papers as soon as you've amassed sufficient information.

Ace your term paper with EssayPro 's expert help. Our academic professionals are here to guide you through every step, ensuring your term paper is well-researched, structured, and written to the highest standards.

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Term Paper Topics

Selecting the right topic for your term paper is a critical step, one that can significantly impact your overall experience and the quality of your work. While instructors sometimes provide specific topics, there are instances when you have the freedom to choose your own. To guide you on how to write a term paper, consider the following factors when deciding on your dissertation topics :

choose a term paper topic

  • Relevance to Assignment Length: Begin by considering the required length of your paper. Whether it's a substantial 10-page paper or a more concise 5-page one, understanding the word count will help you determine the appropriate scope for your subject. This will inform whether your topic should be broad or more narrowly focused.
  • Availability of Resources : Investigate the resources at your disposal. Check your school or community library for books and materials that can support your research. Additionally, explore online sources to ensure you have access to a variety of reference materials.
  • Complexity and Clarity : Ensure you can effectively explain your chosen topic, regardless of how complex it may seem. If you encounter areas that are challenging to grasp fully, don't hesitate to seek guidance from experts or your professor. Clarity and understanding are key to producing a well-structured term paper.
  • Avoiding Overused Concepts : Refrain from choosing overly trendy or overused topics. Mainstream subjects often fail to captivate the interest of your readers or instructors, as they can lead to repetitive content. Instead, opt for a unique angle or approach that adds depth to your paper.
  • Manageability and Passion : While passion can drive your choice of topic, it's important to ensure that it is manageable within the given time frame and with the available resources. If necessary, consider scaling down a topic that remains intriguing and motivating to you, ensuring it aligns with your course objectives and personal interests.

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Term Paper Outline

Before embarking on the journey of writing a term paper, it's crucial to establish a well-structured outline. Be mindful of any specific formatting requirements your teacher may have in mind, as these will guide your outline's structure. Here's a basic format to help you get started:

  • Cover Page: Begin with a cover page featuring your name, course number, teacher's name, and the deadline date, centered at the top.
  • Abstract: Craft a concise summary of your work that informs readers about your paper's topic, its significance, and the key points you'll explore.
  • Introduction: Commence your term paper introduction with a clear and compelling statement of your chosen topic. Explain why it's relevant and outline your approach to addressing it.
  • Body: This section serves as the meat of academic papers, where you present the primary findings from your research. Provide detailed information about the topic to enhance the reader's understanding. Ensure you incorporate various viewpoints on the issue and conduct a thorough analysis of your research.
  • Results: Share the insights and conclusions that your research has led you to. Discuss any shifts in your perspective or understanding that have occurred during the course of your project.
  • Discussion: Conclude your term paper with a comprehensive summary of the topic and your findings. You can wrap up with a thought-provoking question or encourage readers to explore the subject further through their own research.

How to Write a Term Paper with 5 Steps

Before you begin your term paper, it's crucial to understand what a term paper proposal entails. This proposal serves as your way to introduce and justify your chosen topic to your instructor, and it must gain approval before you start writing the actual paper.

In your proposal, include recent studies or research related to your topic, along with proper references. Clearly explain the topic's relevance to your course, outline your objectives, and organize your ideas effectively. This helps your instructor grasp your term paper's direction. If needed, you can also seek assistance from our expert writers and buy term paper .

how to write a term paper

Draft the Abstract

The abstract is a critical element while writing a term paper, and it plays a crucial role in piquing the reader's interest. To create a captivating abstract, consider these key points from our dissertation writing service :

  • Conciseness: Keep it short and to the point, around 150-250 words. No need for lengthy explanations.
  • Highlight Key Elements: Summarize the problem you're addressing, your research methods, and primary findings or conclusions. For instance, if your paper discusses the impact of social media on mental health, mention your research methods and significant findings.
  • Engagement: Make your abstract engaging. Use language that draws readers in. For example, if your paper explores the effects of artificial intelligence on the job market, you might begin with a question like, 'Is AI revolutionizing our work landscape, or should we prepare for the robots to take over?'
  • Clarity: Avoid excessive jargon or technical terms to ensure accessibility to a wider audience.

Craft the Introduction

The introduction sets the stage for your entire term paper and should engage readers from the outset. To craft an intriguing introduction, consider these tips:

  • Hook Your Audience: Start with a captivating hook, such as a thought-provoking question or a compelling statistic. For example, if your paper explores the impact of smartphone addiction, you could begin with, 'Can you remember the last time you went a whole day without checking your phone?'
  • State Your Purpose: Clearly state the purpose of your paper and its relevance. If your term paper is about renewable energy's role in combating climate change, explain why this topic is essential in today's world.
  • Provide a Roadmap: Briefly outline how your paper is structured. For instance, if your paper discusses the benefits of mindfulness meditation, mention that you will explore its effects on stress reduction, emotional well-being, and cognitive performance.
  • Thesis Statement: Conclude your introduction with a concise thesis statement that encapsulates the central argument or message of your paper. In the case of a term paper on the impact of online education, your thesis might be: 'Online education is revolutionizing learning by providing accessibility, flexibility, and innovative teaching methods.'

Develop the Body Sections: Brainstorming Concepts and Content

Generate ideas and compose text: body sections.

The body of your term paper is where you present your research, arguments, and analysis. To generate ideas and write engaging text in the body sections, consider these strategies from our research paper writer :

  • Structure Your Ideas: Organize your paper into sections or paragraphs, each addressing a specific aspect of your topic. For example, if your term paper explores the impact of social media on interpersonal relationships, you might have sections on communication patterns, privacy concerns, and emotional well-being.
  • Support with Evidence: Back up your arguments with credible evidence, such as data, research findings, or expert opinions. For instance, when discussing the effects of social media on mental health, you can include statistics on social media usage and its correlation with anxiety or depression.
  • Offer Diverse Perspectives: Acknowledge and explore various viewpoints on the topic. When writing about the pros and cons of genetic engineering, present both the potential benefits, like disease prevention, and the ethical concerns associated with altering human genetics.
  • Use Engaging Examples: Incorporate real-life examples to illustrate your points. If your paper discusses the consequences of climate change, share specific instances of extreme weather events or environmental degradation to make the topic relatable.
  • Ask Thought-Provoking Questions: Integrate questions throughout your text to engage readers and stimulate critical thinking. In a term paper on the future of artificial intelligence, you might ask, 'How will AI impact job markets and the concept of work in the coming years?'

Formulate the Conclusion

The conclusion section should provide a satisfying wrap-up of your arguments and insights. To craft a compelling term paper example conclusion, follow these steps:

  • Revisit Your Thesis: Begin by restating your thesis statement. This reinforces the central message of your paper. For example, if your thesis is about the importance of biodiversity conservation, reiterate that biodiversity is crucial for ecological balance and human well-being.
  • Summarize Key Points: Briefly recap the main points you've discussed in the body of your paper. For instance, if you've been exploring the impact of globalization on local economies, summarize the effects on industries, job markets, and cultural diversity.
  • Emphasize Your Main Argument: Reaffirm the significance of your thesis and the overall message of your paper. Discuss why your findings are important or relevant in a broader context. If your term paper discusses the advantages of renewable energy, underscore its potential to combat climate change and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Offer a Thoughtful Reflection: Share your own reflections or insights about the topic. How has your understanding evolved during your research? Have you uncovered any unexpected findings or implications? If your paper discusses the future of space exploration, consider what it means for humanity's quest to explore the cosmos.
  • End with Impact: Conclude your term paper with a powerful closing statement. You can leave the reader with a thought-provoking question, a call to action, or a reflection on the broader implications of your topic. For instance, if your paper is about the ethics of artificial intelligence, you could finish by asking, 'As AI continues to advance, what ethical considerations will guide our choices and decisions?'

Edit and Enhance the Initial Draft

After completing your initial draft, the revision and polishing phase is essential for improving your paper. Here's how to refine your work efficiently:

  • Take a Break: Step back and return to your paper with a fresh perspective.
  • Structure Check: Ensure your paper flows logically and transitions smoothly from the introduction to the conclusion.
  • Clarity and Conciseness: Trim excess words for clarity and precision.
  • Grammar and Style: Proofread for errors and ensure consistent style.
  • Citations and References: Double-check your citations and reference list.
  • Peer Review: Seek feedback from peers or professors for valuable insights.
  • Enhance Intro and Conclusion: Make your introduction and conclusion engaging and impactful.
  • Coherence Check: Ensure your arguments support your thesis consistently.
  • Read Aloud: Reading your paper aloud helps identify issues.
  • Final Proofread: Perform a thorough proofread to catch any remaining errors.

Term Paper Format

When formatting your term paper, consider its length and the required citation style, which depends on your research topic. Proper referencing is crucial to avoid plagiarism in academic writing. Common citation styles include APA and MLA.

If unsure how to cite term paper for social sciences, use the APA format, including the author's name, book title, publication year, publisher, and location when citing a book.

For liberal arts and humanities, MLA is common, requiring the publication name, date, and location for referencing.

Adhering to the appropriate term paper format and citation style ensures an organized and academically sound paper. Follow your instructor's guidelines for a polished and successful paper.

Term Paper Example

To access our term paper example, simply click the button below.

The timeline of events from 1776 to 1861, that, in the end, prompted the American Civil War, describes and relates to a number of subjects modern historians acknowledge as the origins and causes of the Civil War. In fact, pre-Civil War events had both long-term and short-term influences on the War—such as the election of Abraham Lincoln as the American president in 1860 that led to the Fall of Fort Sumter in April of the same year. In that period, contentions that surrounded states’ rights progressively exploded in Congress—since they were the initial events that formed after independence. Congress focused on resolving significant issues that affected the states, which led to further issues. In that order, the US’s history from 1776 to 1861 provides a rich history, as politicians brought forth dissimilarities, dissections, and tensions between the Southern US & the people of slave states, and the Northern states that were loyal to the Union. The events that unfolded from the period of 1776 to 1861 involved a series of issues because they promoted the great sectional crisis that led to political divisions and the build-up to the Civil War that made the North and the South seem like distinctive and timeless regions that predated the crisis itself.

Final Thoughts

In closing, approach the task of writing term papers with determination and a positive outlook. Begin well in advance, maintain organization, and have faith in your capabilities. Don't hesitate to seek assistance if required, and express your individual perspective with confidence. You're more than capable of succeeding in this endeavor!

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What is the Difference between a Term Paper and a Research Paper?

What is the fastest way to write a term paper.

Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

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is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

How to Write an Essay Introduction

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  • A Research Guide
  • Writing Guide
  • Assignment Writing

How to Write a Term Paper

  • Purpose of a term paper
  • How to start a term paper
  • Structure and outline

Step-by-step writing guide

Standard term paper format.

  • Term paper examples
  • Writing tips

What is the purpose of a term paper?

How to start a term paper correctly.

  • Choose your topic by focusing on what inspires you unless you are already given a topic.
  • Take time to research and analyze your subject.
  • Start with a term paper outline (see our templates in the next sections).
  • Come up with a strong thesis statement before writing anything for body paragraphs.
  • Provide topic sentences and practical examples.
  • Provide a strong lesson in the conclusion if it suits the subject you write about.
  • Edit and proofread available information for trustworthiness.

Term paper structure and outline

  • Introduction. This is where you talk about the subject and a problem you are researching. It helps to introduce your thesis statement and explain the objectives that have been set.
  • Body Paragraphs. As a rule, in writing college term papers, one must write down several subheadings and headings to divide ideas and arguments into several (at least four) paragraphs. As done below, each body paragraph should contain one idea and a strong topic sentence.
  • Heading 1: History of the argument and background.
  • Heading 2: Extent of the problem that you write about.
  • Heading 3: Effects of the problem and possible causes.
  • Heading 4: Possible solutions and outcomes.
  • Conclusion. The final part should represent a strong summary and a response to your thesis statement.

Step 1: Data collection

Step 2: explaining research relevance, step 3: introducing your subject, step 4: literature review preparation, step 5: offering results and conclusions, step 6: structural term paper evaluation, step 7: check your citations and references.


Helpful term paper examples

  • Term paper examples that earned an A grade from the University of Delaware
  • Sample term paper offered by the Justus-Liebig Universitat Giessen
  • Purdue Owl Lab Citation Formats Database
  • Simon Fraser University Sample Term Paper

Term paper writing tips

  • Choose a topic that inspires you if you have an opportunity. If you have been given an already existing prompt to write, research your subject online and ask about the use of course materials. It will help you to narrow things down and already have source materials for referencing purposes.
  • If you can choose a subject to write a final paper for your course, think about something you can support with statistical data and some practical evidence.
  • Most importantly, keep your term paper relevant to the main objectives of your study course.
  • Keep your tone reflective and natural as you write.
  • Double-check your grading rubric regarding limitations and obligatory requirements that must be met.
  • Always proofread your term paper aloud!
  • If you have an opportunity, consider editing your term paper with the help of a friend or a fellow college student.

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How to write a term paper

Published September 27, 2020. Updated June 1, 2022.

Term Paper Definition

A term paper is usually the culmination of a semester-long class and is meant to synthesize the information that you learned.

Overview of term paper

To start writing a term paper, you should first choose a topic that you are interested in that is related to the class. Then, do some pre-searching to identify preliminary sources that you could potentially use. Write a thesis statement addressing your topic that is arguable and provable. Thorough research should be conducted to identify a variety of credible sources. Recording and citing the sources as you go helps to make sure nothing is missed. An outline should be created before you write to make sure that the structure and organization of the paper are logical. After completion of the paper, make sure to read each section carefully and edit your draft. Double-check if all the required rules are followed for in-text citations and formatting. In addition to self-editing, it is also a good idea to get another person to read it and provide feedback if possible.

Worried about your writing? Submit your paper for a Chegg Writing essay check , or for an Expert Check proofreading . Both can help you find and fix potential writing issues.

This page will cover the following points:

Key takeaways

Choosing a topic, writing a thesis statement, read, analyze, and take notes, organize your ideas into categories and create an outline, write the paper, edit your draft.

  • Turn in your paper and relax !
  • Choose a term paper topic that you are interested in and have knowledge of, and then do some pre-searching to identify preliminary sources that you could potentially use.
  • Write a thesis statement that is arguable, provable, adequately addresses your topic, and is not too broad or narrow.
  • Conduct thorough research to identify a variety of credible sources and begin recording and citing your sources as you go to make sure nothing is missed.
  • Create an outline before you write to make sure that the structure and organization of your paper is logical.
  • Be sure to edit your draft and have another person read it and provide feedback if possible.

The magic of writing lies in writing about what you know. A term paper is the culmination of a semester’s worth of learning, so you should already have a good head start if you’ve been paying attention in class. In order to choose a strong topic, the following tips will help:

  • Consult your class syllabus carefully.
  • Clarify what the professor is asking you to do.
  • Utilize your professor’s office hours to ask questions if confused.

Finding clarity at the beginning of the project will lead to smoother sailing throughout the journey.

In the process of writing the term paper, perhaps no step is more important than PRE-searching. After carefully reading the syllabus and clarifying what is expected of you, take some time to examine your own interests and skills that align with the assignment. In other words, what do you already know about the topic that would make a good term paper? Is there anything related to this topic that you feel passionate about?

Pre-searching involves asking yourself a few pointed questions:

  • Do I fully understand what is expected of me with this project?
  • What skills do I already possess surrounding this topic?
  • What do I already know about the topic that would make a good term paper?
  • What am I passionate about?

The more you already know, and the more invested you are in the project, the easier it will be. Once you start narrowing down your topic, your pre-search should also include some quick online searching to ensure that you will be able to find valid sources on your chosen topic. Taking time at this stage to ensure a solid topic with viable sources will save you time and aggravation in the future.

A thesis statement is the road map for your paper. There are several tips for writing a good thesis statement:

  • Write a provable, arguable statement. You are not stating a fact; you are stating a debatable idea. You will use the rest of your paper to prove this statement.
  • Usually, it is written in the third person.
  • It should address the requirements and topic of your assigned project.
  • Too broad: Plastic straws are bad.
  • Too narrow: Because plastic straws with stripes harm marine life and contribute to Atlantic ocean pollution, so we should consider banning them in coastal towns with populations of more than 60,000.
  • Just right: Because plastic straws harm marine life and contribute to ocean pollution, we should consider banning them.
  • Put your thesis statement at the end of your first paragraph.
  • Understand that your thesis statement will grow and change. As you research and learn more, it’s natural to tweak your thesis statement to account for new information and conclusions.

The art of research cannot be overstated. Working smarter and not harder is the key to your success here.

  • Use your college library’s databases. Most of these can be accessed in the library or online. Since these databases have been vetted by librarians, you can trust the sources you find on them.
  • Evaluate any sources you find via an online search engine. Though there are some great sources online (government data, newspaper articles, etc.), you have to be careful about what you choose to use. Not every source is reputable enough to include in a term paper.
  • Use a mix of sources. You don’t want to only cite one or two sources over and over again or only cite sources from the same author. The more variety you have, the stronger your argument will be. At the college level, some academic journal articles should definitely be included (these can be found in the above–mentioned databases).
  • Make a bibliography of your sources as you research. It’s easier to record your sources from the start rather than forgetting a source later on and being accused of accidental plagiarism.

What makes a good source? One guide to consider following is the CRAAP method of evaluating sources:

  • Currency: How recent is your source? Does it present the most up-to-date information? Does it have information from a time period you’re focusing on? Check the copyright, posting date, or publication date carefully.
  • Relevance: Your source needs to contain pertinent information for the topic you have chosen. It should also be at an appropriate scholarly level for the assignment.
  • Authority: The source’s author needs to be credible. Check the author’s credentials, as well as the publisher’s or website’s background. Avoid personal blogs and random sources that are not written by experts.
  • Accuracy: Your information needs to give you solid evidence to write your paper. Analyze a source’s use of language and information to make sure it is accurate.
  • Purpose: You need to determine why your source was written. Was it written by an objective expert, or did an author or company with a vested interest in the topic write the article? Avoid articles with heavy bias.

One final note on research: Now is a good time to note that the word “research” means just what it sounds like. The prefix “re-” means ¨to do again,¨ so research means to search and search again. Don’t become discouraged if it takes a while to find good sources. The more work you do on the front end of the project, the better off you will be.

Want to look at a sample paper first? Check out this example term paper .

Once you have your sources, the hard work begins. You will need to read and analyze your source information. Taking notes is a MUST. In order to organize your thoughts and prove what you are trying to prove, you need to take detailed, relevant notes. Here are some reading strategies that will help streamline the process:

  • Read your source through once to get a general idea of what it is talking about.
  • Read it a second time to take notes and focus on the points you want to include in your paper.

The kind of notes you take could range from summarizing the material to making bullet points of useful facts to jotting down direct quotes. There are also specific note-taking approaches you can follow. If you’re interested in learning more, visit this helpful site .

The next step in the process is to organize the information you have gathered in your note-taking stage. There are several tips that will help you stay on track in this stage:

  • Organize your notes into categories.
  • Take the information in each category and decide what order to put it in to create the strongest argument.
  • Write an outline. After organizing your notes, writing a phrase or full-sentence outline will really help you organize your thinking and keep your writing focused. You can be as informal or formal as you like, but this step is a lifesaver when it comes time to compose.

Consider using this outline template:

Creative Title of Research Paper

  • Opening Statement (this is the “hook” for your reader)
  • Thesis Statement
  • ______________________________
  • Recap thesis statement
  • Summarize argument

At this point, you already have all the hard work done. All you have to do now is build out the sections in your outline using the research you’ve collected and analyzed.

Here are some helpful tips to make the most of your writing time:

  • Format the paper according to the professor’s guidelines. You will probably use MLA or APA style.
  • Use formal writing and strong vocabulary throughout.
  • Use transition words like “therefore” and “additionally” to connect ideas.
  • Use transition sentences at the beginning and/or end of each paragraph to set the reader up for what comes next.
  • Create in-text citations as you go along to give credit for your information.
  • Double–check your work.

After all of this time and effort, do yourself a favor and edit carefully. Read each section closely and double-check that you’re following all of the proper rules for in-text citations and formatting. There are two great tricks for editing that will help you catch errors:

  • Reading your paper out loud will help you catch mistakes, especially words you accidentally skipped.
  • Reading each sentence backwards from the end of your paper to the beginning will also help you polish your work. Although they might sound bizarre, these two tricks will really help!

In addition to self-editing, it’s always a good idea to get an outside opinion. There are many options:

  • Ask a friend or classmate to read through your paper.
  • Visit your university writing center in-person or online and use their review services.
  • Submit your paper to an online paper checker like Chegg Writing. This option is great when you’re in a time crunch.

Before you turn in that paper, don’t forget to cite your sources in APA format , MLA format , or a style of your choice.

Turn in your paper and relax!

After going through this process, your fear will melt away and you will have a solid paper to show for your efforts. Imagine what you can learn and produce when you put your mind to it and follow a few simple steps!

Example term paper on Geoffrey of Monmouth

By Kathryne Bradesca. Kathryne has a aster´s degree in Teaching from Kent State University and a BA in English and Communications from Gannon University. She has been a junior high and high school teacher for 24 years.

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How to Write a Successful Term Paper

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

How to Write a Successful Term Paper

Studying at college or university, you have to deal with a variety of assignments. They are necessary to gain new knowledge, skills, and experience important for your future career. Some tasks may be pretty easy, while others require a lot of time and effort. However, you should challenge yourself because it is when you’re developing and becoming better.

Can I Ignore the Length Requirements?

Introduction, make sure you have enough time, start by creating an outline, use a strong tongue, don't forget about proofreading, how to write a term paper proposal, how to start a term paper, how to finish a term paper, term paper apa formatting, term paper mla formatting, term paper chicago formatting, social issues topics.

Regardless of the major you choose, each discipline has a specific structure and goals. You’ll have lectures, practical lessons, internships, and so on. Your professor may use different strategies to test your knowledge, and writing is one of them.

It is not so hard when it goes about regular essays. But the term paper is something the most students are afraid of. It is a voluminous piece that synthesis all your knowledge received during the course.

We’re ready to provide you with an ultimate guide to write a term paper. Let’s start from the beginning.

Definition of a Term Paper

A term paper is a research document that you write after a semester or year of work. This assignment helps you determine your understanding of the course content and the aspects required by the curriculum.

Writing a term paper has other purposes as well. Working on your task, you delve deeper into the discipline, get acquainted with its main problems and challenges. It also improves your analytical, critical thinking, and writing skills, which are useful both during your studies and after university.

Your professor can assign you a specific topic, depending on the material being studied. Sometimes the choice is up to you, or you can choose a narrower theme from a broader list of options.

Regardless of the title, it would help if you delved in. We’ve prepared some actionable tips to come up with outstanding writing. You may follow them or send us your “ write my essay ” message if you need professional assistance. Our authors are eager to share their experiences and help you to boost academic performance.

How Long Is a Term Paper?

There is no universal standard for the volume you should adhere to. It depends on the requirements of your institution.

If you search for this information on the Internet, you will see that different sources offer different data. One website claims that you need to submit a 10-page document, while another writes about 45 pages. This is why it is important to read your professor's requirements carefully.

The volume determines which approach you take to writing. For example, if your paper is short, you need to state your thoughts concisely and clearly, going straight to the point. If it is long, do not fill the pages with hot air, but try to do thorough research and look at the issue from different angles.

You may write about 10% less or more, but overall try to adhere to the particular number of pages or words. All students are in identical conditions, so your article should be standardized. If you don’t know what to write about, ask your professor about additional instructions.

It would also be a great idea to read some examples written by other students or professional authors. Filter out the documents with the same volume as you need and pay notice to the paper writer's structure .

Term Paper and Research Paper - Differences

We understand if you are confused after reading our introduction. If you need to conduct research, why are you writing a term paper and not a research one?

Many students confuse these two types of assignments. But certain aspects indicate the differences between them.

Writing a research paper takes months or even years. It covers various aspects of the topic, up to the development of new strategies and innovative ideas.

The term paper should be submitted by the end of the semester or year. Its content is based on the material covered. Of course, you can use additional resources, but in general, custom term paper assignment is only relevant to the themes you discussed in class.

The purpose is another crucial difference between the two assignments.

When you work on a research paper, you need to work through the problem and find a viable solution. You are dealing with a hypothesis that needs to be confirmed or refuted.

The term papers have the task of reflecting your knowledge of the discipline. It is more straightforward but influences the final score much more.

What Are Parts of Term Paper?

Each student paper has its structure you should strictly adhere to. It is useful to organize your thoughts and to provide your readers with a clear and understandable text. Here is the list of the main parts you should include in your term assignment.

The cover or title page is necessary to introduce your paper and provide the basic information about it, including your data, professor’s name, topic, etc. More detailed requirements depend on the particular formatting style, so read your instructions carefully.

This part is something like a short introduction to your paper. It lets your readers understand the overall direction, the issue you explore, and why you have decided to choose this particular theme. If you have additional comments that may be interesting for your audience, provide them here as well.

Start your paper with an exciting and engaging statement. The main thing you should know about the thesis is that it is a pivot point of your writing. You build all body paragraphs and the primary research around it.

If you don’t know how to write a thesis , you may read some articles or ask for professional help.

The body consists of the main paragraphs. The traditional essay structure includes 3 of them; however, if you’re writing a 10-pages or even 40-pages paper, you should change your structure according to requirements.

You should develop your findings, ideas, or arguments, considering the final goal. For example, if your task is to analyze some issues and perceive readers to accept your point of view, you should provide compelling evidence-based arguments. If you need to explore the theme, write down, and develop the main ideas it covers. Make sure each paragraph is devoted to one aspect only.

This part is of great significance because you should show particular progress. Have you accepted certain things about your topic? Have you changed your view from the moment you started working on the piece? Any insights you’ve gained you should describe in the Results section. If you’re not satisfied with them, you can explain the reasons here as well.

It is a conclusion chapter where you can wrap up. You should analyze your text and provide readers with the next steps one should follow to continue one’s research on the subject you’re working through.

As an unusual essay conclusion, the discussion doesn’t contain any new information.

Main Tips to Write a Killer Term Paper

Do not hope that you will complete this task in a day or an hour. Some students make the mistake of starting paper right away. This is a beginner's mistake. You may think that if you have already written a few lines, this indicates significant progress. But these proposals will be weak, meaningless.

Any work takes time. Think of it as a project with specific goals. You can split a task into multiple milestones and set a deadline for each one.

If you realize that you cannot write this piece on time, hire an experienced writer. The more experience you have, the faster the process lasts.

So, you've gathered enough information. We understand if you don't know what to do next and what your first step should be.

Get a sense of control with a paper outline. This is your plan that describes all stages of the process. It also helps you organize your time and information.

In the end, you can come back to this plan again to check how the final version matches your initial expectations. If you have developed a high-quality outline, you can quickly determine which aspects of the document are needed and which are just filling the space.

You should write the term paper competently. You have done the research, collected enough information, analyzed it. Any of your doubts will indicate a lack of professionalism.

This is why you need to keep an eye on your writing style. Formal academic writing involves an active voice, professional vocabulary, and no fluffy words. You don't need to write something that doesn't make any sense for the main task.

Remember, we said that writing a term paper is long and complicated? Most students hate this. They spent a lot of time writing all sections of the article and do not feel like proofreading the entire text.

But if you have not yet encountered academic writing, you may not imagine how many mistakes a text can contain. Even if you are a very literate person, you may not notice some typos and occasional flaws. Of course, this does not make you incompetent, but readers can lose confidence in your paper.

Proofread the piece very thoroughly and carefully. Wait a few days before doing this; your brain should not be tired.

How to Make a Term Paper Outline

An outline is the part of the writing process that deserves a little more attention.

Use it as the guiding map that is always ready to point you in the right direction if you get confused.

There are several ways to design an outline, and you can download different templates from the Internet.

Some methods are suitable for people who like to organize all information in a coherent plan. But if you are a creative person, you can also choose a suitable template for yourself. For example, a mind map.

An outline is not something that your professor will check, so you don't have to worry about the exact format and details. The main thing is to make sure that you fully understand the content and use it for your writing.

Even before you start researching a topic and writing, you need to prepare a college term paper proposal. This is a document that will help you defend your idea in front of the professor. Even before starting the main work, you will submit this proposal to get approval.

You need to show the importance of this theme by including recent data with correct links. Why do you think your piece will correlate with the course syllabus? How is it useful for you and your fellow students?

Set goals for your college assignment and organize your ideas into one article. This will let the professor know that you have understood the assignment correctly.

It's okay if you fail at this stage. It is needed just so that the professor checks whether you are on the same wavelength and can provide you with any further instructions.

So, you received confirmation from your professor, came up with a topic, conducted initial research, and made an outline. What's next?

  • Try to narrow down your topic. You need a learning perspective that allows you to organize and structure your thoughts.
  • Create bait for your readers. Have a brainstorming session and write down different ideas: rhetorical questions, anecdotes, statistical facts, etc
  • Come up with a thesis statement. If you cannot summarize your article's main idea in 1-2 sentences, you need to return to the first step and think about narrowing the topic.
  • Check out the style requirements. Your piece must be in a standardized format. Below you will learn more about APA format and others.
  • Do more research. You can go deeper because now you know your goals better. Use quality and trusted sources only.
  • Write the first sentence. If you worry too much, just start. You may delete the first sentences later, but don’t look for a perfect moment: start as soon as you have enough information.

You may think that the conclusion chapter is not so important because it doesn’t provide your readers with any new information. However, each section has its tasks and goals, so don't relax too early.

The last paragraphs should provide an answer to a fundamental question. This question is “So what?”. Just imagine your regular reader who finishes the text and doesn’t understand what is next. Was your text just a pleasant evening reading? Is it one more piece to improve academic performance? Or is it something more that was created to contribute to the field you’ve studied?

If you don’t have strict instructions from your professor, you can decide on your own. Think about questions your work creates, and provide the audience with steps to follow.

Term Paper Format

All college and university papers must be standardized. The requirements are the same for all students regardless of their educational institutions. If you plan to pursue a scientific career, you’ll deal with these standards all the time.

Formatting is not the most straightforward task because you need always be concentrated on some details that seem to be useless for you. It is clear why you should develop a unique thesis statement, but some students can’t get why they should use the particular font type or double-spacing.

That’s why formatting is one of the most popular writing services. While you’re working on tasks you like, the professional author and editor provide you with quality formatting.

Several styles are typical for the modern scientific society. Let’s look at them to get a basic understanding.

If you are studying psychology or other social sciences, the APA format is your choice. Here's a shortlist of the main things to consider:

  • White A4 sheet 8.5 x 11 inches.
  • Times New Roman or other easily readable 12 point font.
  • Double spacing for all text.
  • 1 "margins on the left, right, top, and bottom of the sheet.
  • Indent the paragraph by 1/2 inch.
  • The first-page heading, which includes the capitalized running head and the page number.

The MLA style is the preferred guideline for dealing with the humanities such as English and Literature, Arts, etc. Some of the features of this style are:

  • Times New Roman, Arial or similar, 12 point font.
  • Double spacing for the entire document. Get rid of single or one and a half intervals.
  • Enter your contact details and instructor in the upper left corner.
  • Take care of 1 "padding on all sides of the sheet.
  • Add your last name and page number to all pages in the upper right corner.
  • Align the title of the article in the center. Don't use bold, italic, quotation marks, underlines, etc.
  • Align the entire article to the left.
  • Indent all paragraphs to the right 1/2 inch.

Chicago or Turabian styles are used when it goes about the law assignments. The requirements are similar, but there are some differences as well. Take a look at this list:

  • Times, Times New Roman 12 pt font.
  • 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Double-spacing.
  • Left-justified text with a ragged right edge.
  • 12 inch indent for the first sentence of each paragraph.
  • Provide page numbers in the top right corner.

Of course, we can’t provide you with all the format requirements in this article. You should have an official relevant guide with all details and examples to follow. Ask your professor if you have any questions. And don’t forget about correct citing, it is necessary to avoid plagiarism.

  • The main arguments for and against the death penalty.
  • What is more important: national identity or globalization?
  • Social isolation and its consequences.
  • Should church and state function together?
  • Could modern advertising be dangerous?

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How To Write a Term Paper: A Guide That Works

30 June, 2020

16 minutes read

Author:  Mathieu Johnson

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.

term paper

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 for assessing a 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

Dip into the topics and make a research

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.

Term paper writing was never an easy ride. Well, not for our expert writers. Place an order with our term paper writing service and secure yourself an “A!”

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 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

Term paper structure

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!

Related Post: 100 Persuasive essay topics

Formulating a Thesis statement

Term paper 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.

Term Paper Outline: Write Everything In The Proper Section!

Term paper outline

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 Conclusion   is 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 final draft 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.

How to write a good term paper

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 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

. It’s a handy tool for finding quotes from notable works. 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!

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Term Paper Writing - A Step-by-Step Student's Guide

As the semester ends, some colleges and universities mandate that students must submit an end-of-the-year term paper to fulfill the course requirements. Writing a term paper is one of the many types of assignments students have to complete.

Like writing a research paper, a term paper assignment equips you with important writing skills, knowledge, and experience that come in handy as you advance your studies and your career. However, not every student takes the task lightly.

Most students dread writing a term paper. As a long research paper, a term paper contains organized information, analysis and synthesis, and structured paragraphs and sections.

In this comprehensive guide, our best research paper writers take you through the process of how to write a perfect term paper, what to do and what not to do, and more insights and tips to help you get the best grades.

What is a Term Paper?

A term paper is a long research paper, just like a thesis, dissertation, or capstone project, only that it is required at the end of the school semester. Term papers can be scientific reports, case studies, thesis-driven research papers, or scientific research papers based on an assigned topic, which contributes to your final grade.

Writing a term paper entails exploring a certain topic through thorough research and analysis of data that is collected throughout the course or part of the course period. Most term papers focus on a specific concept, issue, problem, or event, depending on the prompt that your academic advisor, professor, or instructor gives you.

The standard practice is for you to write the paper within the semester and submit it at the end of the college or university semester.

Professors and lecturers assign term paper assignments to evaluate the knowledge of students about the course concepts and contents. Most term papers take the structure of scientific reports.

Every course has its preferred term paper writing requirements, which your professor or teacher will share with you when you are given the assignment. Nevertheless, it is common to undertake in-depth research, analysis, synthesis, and use technical writing skills to achieve the intended goals.

As with any academic assignment, the term paper has to be organized, analytical, and polished to show that you have mastered the knowledge from the specific course.

How long is a Research Paper?

As a general rule of thumb, a term paper should be 10-double spaced pages or five single-spaced pages and above. However, for a term paper full of information, a minimum of 15 pages is fine.

A typical term paper is between 3000 and 5000 words long. It could be more or less, depending on what your professor wants, departmental/institutional requirements, and the complexity of the topic.

Regarding how many references a term paper should have, each page should have 1-3 references. If it is a ten-page term paper, it should have 10-15 references. If you have less than 10 pages, you skimped through the writing process, and your all-nighter probably did not pay.

A college term paper is between 5-7 pages. However, you can consult with your instructor or professor if you are unsure. This answers your question on how long is a term paper writing assignment, doesn't it?

Term Paper Outline or Structure

As you settle in to write a term paper, it is imperative to understand its structure so that you are prepared to handle it confidently.

A term paper outline is a roadmap of the specific components you want to achieve when writing the term paper. It gives a clear picture of every section, including the most pertinent details that you intend to include in every section of the paper.

A typical thesis-driven term paper has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. You can write the paper like an essay only that it will certainly have more paragraphs compared to a typical 5-paragraph essay. If you are writing such a paper, utilize headings and subheadings for the term paper sections to make your ideas flow well and for readers to easily follow the paper.

You can also write a term paper as a scientific research paper, especially if you have collected and analyzed data to make certain conclusions, answer research questions, or test hypotheses.

  • Cover or Title Page. This should feature the course name, course code, your name, date of submission, instructor's name, and the number of words. The cover page differs depending on the formatting style. MLA, APA, Harvard, and Chicago each have different cover pages. See our research paper title page guide .
  • Abstract. The abstract should describe the entire paper. It is written last. This one should be 200-250 words. Your thesis must contain the background, findings, and conclusions of the paper.
  • Introduction. The introduction of your term paper should begin with general knowledge to focused knowledge on the topic. It should have a thesis statement.
  • Body. Each body paragraph should have an introductory sentence, and facts (well-cited through APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago in-texts). There should also be a concluding sentence. Typically, the body expounds on the paper's main agenda (thesis statement of the term paper).
  • Literature Review. This section contains organized information based on critical synthesis and analysis. Here, you explore concepts, methods, frameworks, and theories related to your topic as discussed by other authors. Organize the information in chronological, methodological, or thematic format. Ensure that you only use scholarly sources that are published recently, unless you are referring to seminal studies.
  • Methodology. This is the section where you provide details of the theoretical frameworks, conceptual models, and the data collection strategies you used when gathering data for the term paper.
  • Results. Here, you interpret the findings.  Explain what the term paper has covered and discovered.
  • Discussion. Your paper should end with a summary and conclusion of the topic question. You should take note of the principles of writing a good essay.
  • Conclusion. Winds up the paper by restating the thesis of the term paper and summarizing facts.
  • References. This section has an alphabetical list of all the sources that you have cited in the paper.
  • Appendix (optional). The appendix provides information, which though useful to the paper, would distract the readers if placed within the body of the paper. It should have images, tables, charts, figures, and other materials or documents. Any information that cannot be placed within the text is placed in the appendices.

You can add a list of figures, tables, or abbreviations to your term paper if it is a requirement.

Read more about making a perfect research paper outline to adopt an outline format that works for you for the term paper you are writing. Check out our guide on the parts of a research paper .

How to Do a Term Paper: Steps to Take

If you are writing a term paper, you are going to have a long time (entire semester), which means breaking everything down to avoid unnecessary writer’s block and procrastination. Failure to plan will make you write a last-minute term paper, riddled with mistakes and omissions.  To write a term paper effectively, follow these steps.

Step #1: Read the Assignment Prompt

As part of the preparation stages, begin the term paper writing process by reading the instructions. as you read, focus on:

  • The requirements. Check whether you are to submit a term paper proposal with a topic. Also, check if you are required to submit a formal term paper outline or an annotated bibliography during the course of the semester.
  • Ensure that you know the deadlines for each of the submission requirements, including the proposal, annotated bibliography, article reviews, literature reviews, or evidence synthesis tables.
  • The number of pages. Most term papers range between 3000-5000 words. Ensure that you know the number of pages and page limits set for the paper.
  • The number of sources. Some professors specify the number of academic or scholarly sources they expect you to use in your term paper.
  • Some professors will give you a definite topic or a list of topics to choose from or leave you the liberty to select a suitable topic that resonates with your interests and aspirations.
  • Check the questions you are expected to address in the paper.
  • The prompt will have details about the formatting style to use when writing the paper. Check whether you are required to use MLA, APA, Harvard, Oxford, Chicago, or Bluebook formats.

The term paper prompt or instructions sometimes come with a rubric that breaks down what the instructor will be checking as they mark your paper. Ensure that you have everything figured out by the time you are writing and submitting the paper.

Step #2: Plan the Tern Paper Writing Process

Given the understanding, you need to plan the term paper writing process by coming up with a calendar to budget the time to achieve milestones. If there are deliverables such as research topic, proposal, annotated bibliography, outline, literature review, or anything else, ensure that you mark the dates on your calendar and plan for their delivery.

When planning the paper, brainstorm and come up with term paper topics and ideas. You should research widely by reading the course content (assigned readings). You should eliminate the topics and settle for the one that is interesting, relevant, relatable, and manageable. When selecting the topic, do your preliminary research to check if there are good scholarly sources you can use when writing the paper. You can also consult with your professor.

When you have the topic, write a term paper proposal that details the topic, rationale for choosing the topic, objectives of the term paper, research questions or hypotheses, thesis statement, purpose and problem statement, methodology, timelines, and budget.

Consult with your professor if there are any changes to be made on the topic or if you are unsure about the next step to take. If everything is approved, proceed to the research phase.

Step #3: Research, Take Notes, and Organize Sources

After getting approval for the topic, it is now time to delve deep into research. If you are doing secondary research, which mainly focuses on reading scholarly and official documents, ensure that you prepare well for it. Do systematic research to identify the sources of information to use in the research paper. As well, ensure that you execute the scientific research well so that you can prove a hypothesis or answer to a given research question. You can use qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods approach, depending on the topic and the scope of research.

When you are doing a research-based term paper, consider primary and secondary sources. We recommend using University library databases such as EBSCOhost, ProQuest, Psych Net, Science Direct, PubMed, CINHAL, or Google Scholar. Google search is also a good place to begin.

DO NOT use WIKIPEDIA, YOUTUBE, Personal blogs, News websites, and other shoddy blogs you find online. Well, you can use non-scholarly sources to familiarize yourself with the topic, but not within the paper. You should strive to ensure that you have a balance for the selected sources.

Although most colleges and universities will give you access to scholarly sources, when supplementing such, choose a credible scholarly source wisely. Use specific keywords in Google Search and for academic libraries. Focus on data from science and educational resources, government records, official reports, open educational resources, journal articles, and other credible sources.

Take notes as you research, which comes in handy when preparing the outline and when writing the paper. Ensure that you indicate the source of information in your notes. You can use tables to organize similar information to make it easy to develop paragraphs.

Each time you get a befitting credible source, log it into your list of potential references. You can use online citation management tools to organize the sources you have selected in alphabetical order. If possible, download the source in pdf format and read it as you highlight major points using different color codes. You can even print them out and make physical notes in writing.

Step #4: Make a Term Paper Outline

Now that you have researched and have an idea of what your paper should look like, visualize it by creating an outline.

You can make a decimal, full-sentence, or alphanumeric outline for your term paper. The outline should contain the major points including the thesis statement, topic sentences, supporting ideas, research questions, hypotheses, and other fine details about the paper.

Format your term paper outline, as you would want the term paper itself to be when you are done writing it.

If you have any charts, images, figures, or data tables, ensure that you have an appendix section. We already covered the formal structure of a term paper, check the previous section.

Step #5: Write the First Draft

Now that you have the ideas outlined, it is time to start working on the first draft. If you had submitted a term paper proposal, it would be easier to develop everything going forward. However, you will need to change the tone, tenses, and language to match that of the term paper. The proposal is written in the future tense while a term paper in the present or past tense since it reports research that you conducted.

Begin writing your term paper from the introduction to the conclusion. After you are done with everything, write the abstract and polish your paper.

The introduction should start with an attention grabber to enthuse your readers. It can be a statement, fact, or statistic to point to the importance of the topic. You should then provide an overview of the topic, including stating the purpose of the term paper. Your introduction also entails your problem statement, including the rationale for exploring the topic. Include the research questions, hypothesis, and thesis statement of the term paper. You can use the funnel introduction approach so that your readers can appreciate your writing prowess. The introduction should also signpost (highlight) what the readers should expect in the subsequent sections.

With the results of the study or the research notes, write the body section of the paper. For the body paragraphs , write topic sentences, supporting details, explanations, links, and concluding sentences until you are done with the section. Write the literature review critically and present the facts chronologically. You should develop all the arguments gradually and use section headings and subheadings to organize information. Prioritize ideas in terms of their strengths and cite every piece of information from external sources to avoid plagiarism. Paraphrase the ideas from other sources well and avoid overusing vocabulary when developing ideas in the term paper. You should also balance the body paragraphs so that your audience/readers are not bored or confused when reading.

Finally, when writing the conclusion of the term paper, summarize the information you have discussed in the body. Restate the thesis and show how you have addressed it in the paper. Have a concluding sentence that gives your readers a good closure.

When you are done with the conclusion, write the abstract to summarize the entire term paper.

Step #6: Polish the Term Paper

You have spent the longest time writing the term paper and all you now have is a draft. It is recommended that you take a break from writing to refresh your mind. A few days off your writing schedule will not hurt the submission deadline. When on the break do anything unrelated to the term paper. Such breathers are great; you resume working on the paper with an objective mind and a keen eye.

An outstanding term paper has a good flow, contains minimal to no errors, and addresses the research topic. You must not tire to revise the paper until you are sure it meets the rubric requirements. You should focus on moving the paragraphs around, deleting unnecessary sections, replacing paragraphs, and re-writing some sections to make sense to the readers.

When polishing the paper, focus on removing all the grammatical, stylistic, and spelling errors in the paper. As well, ensure that the format of the paper is right. Check the in-text citations to ensure that they are referenced in the references list section. The goal here is to have a high-quality term paper that your professor reads and wants to keep reading or share with friends; one that they will post on the school website as a sample for a perfectly done paper.

Check the choice and use of words. You should ensure that every topic sentence makes sense. Additionally, ensure that you have used the right phrases and words within paragraphs. Your supporting sentences should have citations and explanations. The concluding sentences should use the right transition words to give your paper a good flow.

If you are sure you have edited it enough, consider having a peer review of the term paper to ascertain that you have met the requirements. You can also hire qualified scholars or editors to check your paper against the rubric and advise on areas to make changes or realign for better grades.

Incorporate the changes and turn the first draft into a final draft term paper that you can confidently submit.

Related: How to write a perfect nursing term paper .

Tips for Formatting a Term Paper

College and university papers have a preferred standard format. Students must ensure that they meet the formatting requirements for term papers as specified in the instructions.

Although considered straightforward, formatting alone carries some marks and can affect the grade you get for your term paper.

If you have written your paper but do not know how to format it, you can hire a proofreader or editor for the task.

There are several styles to format a term paper, including MLA, Chicago, APA, oxford, etc. Let us look at the most popular styles.

Formatting a Term paper in APA

Students pursuing social sciences such as psychology, anthropology, social work, sociology, education, geography, and other fields such as engineering, nursing, business, communications, and related fields mostly use APA formatting style . An APA term paper will have the following:

  • Written in an A4 sheet 8.5 x 11 inches.
  • Use Times New Roman font size 12 or any specific by your professor/instructor.
  • Has a one-inch margin around the page.
  • Double or single-spaced text (as per your instructor’s guidelines).
  • 0.5-inch indent for every paragraph , except for the abstract.
  • Headings and subheadings are placed on different levels
  • Cover page with the title, course details, student details, instructor’s name, and submission date.
  • The “References” is bold.
  • All entries in the reference list are alphabetical and double-spaced. Use hanging indent for the citations that require more than one line.

We have a quick formatting guide for APA papers ; check it as you polish your paper.

Formatting a Term Paper in Chicago Style

The Chicago or Turabian formatting style is used mostly for religion, theology, law, and other humanities and social sciences.

When writing in Chicago or Turabian style, ensure to format your paper as follows:

  • Font: Times New Roman
  • Font Size : 12 points.
  • Margins: 1 inch.
  • Paragraphs: All paragraphs should be indented, half an inch from the margin.
  • Spacing: All of the text in the body of your paper should be double-spaced.
  • The title page contains a capitalized title, course name, your full name, and the date due for the paper.
  • The text is left-aligned with a ragged right edge.
  • The entire paper is double-spaced.
  • If you are using the CMS, ensure that you place footnotes after any punctuation. Every number must have an entry at the bottom margin of the page.
  • Include a page number on the top right corner of the page.
  • Start the body of your paper on the first line on a new page.
  • The word “Bibliography” is centered and not in bold.
  • The citations in the bibliography section should be in alphabetic order.
  • Every entry in the bibliography is single-spaced with a blank line separating each entry.
  • Use hanging indent for the citations that require more than one line.

MLA Term Paper Formatting

You can format your term paper in MLA if you are pursuing humanities such as history, English and Literature, Arts, archeology, etc. some of the salient features of this style include:

  • Type the paper on a standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Double-space the text of your paper.
  • Use legible font, mostly Times New Roman, and font size 12.
  • Leave a space after the period and other punctuation marks.
  • You must indent the first line of every paragraph half an inch from the left margin or ONE tab space.
  • Use headers and subheadings effectively.
  • When quoting titles of longer works, use italics to mention the titles, only when necessary.
  • If you have endnotes, include them on a separate page before the Works Cited section. The section should be titled Notes and centered and it should not be formatted.
  • Use quotation marks when referring to literary works in your paper.
  • The entire term paper should be left aligned.
  • The references should be written in alphabetical order and use hanging indent for those that are more than a line long.

How do you end a Term Paper?

A good term paper should have a comprehensive conclusion. Refer to this source for  term paper writing tips  (external website). To end your term paper:

  • Restate the topic in the topic sentence of your conclusion paragraph.
  • Also,  restate the thesis statement  of your term paper.
  • Briefly present a summary of the significant points in your term paper. Be clear and concise on the arguments.
  • Have a call to action if there is a need to do so.
  • Your conclusion should pass the "so what" test.
  • Your conclusion should synthesize the primary Link from the introduction to the conclusion.
  • End your term paper with logic. It will help if you have a suggestion in your conclusion.

Can I end the research paper with a question? Yes, why not? Ending a paper with a question leaves the reader thinking about the content. It entices them to read the piece yet again. A professor doing this means an excellent grade.

Typically, people use words such as sum, conclusion, closing, wind up, etc. However, these words are clichés. Be innovative at the end of your term paper.

Use words like:

  • As seen in the discussion above.
  • We can conclude from the research.
  • It is generally agreed that
  • The above discussion
  • As can be proved by the findings...
  • As research has demonstrated
  • Reported and tested

These words are not as stiff as the common concluding transition words. Remember, a thesis should come in the introduction of your term paper. It is only restated in your conclusion.

Before you close this page…

This information on how to write a term paper can help you construct the best term papers and score the best grades. Choose the best topic and have an outline.

Related: Writing article titles in a term paper.

On your GPA hunt, though, writing a term paper can be tough. Getting time to complete college assignments is challenging due to work-life balance. Maybe you have a family to take care of, errands to run, or chores to complete; you can be literarily stuck with your paper.

Instead of worrying or stressing yourself, you can trust our online writing services. We offer discreet, reliable, and trustworthy  online assignment writing help . A term paper requires the input of the best writers. We have experts in  term paper writing  to help. You can purchase a term paper from our website and have it written from scratch based on your instructions. We are the website that writes your term papers at an affordable fee.

Our experienced professional writers will also offer proofreading and editing services free when you order from our website. Besides, they will also come through if you are stuck with choosing a topic for your term paper.

Get a well-written paper in APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard. Any style, we have you covered! Order at GradeCrest.

If you are hoping to choose the best term paper topics, consider our posts and guides including:

  • Research Paper Topics
  • Nutrition research topics
  • List of global and social issues to write about
  • How to write a research paper
  • Best Topics for international business research papers
  • Criminology and criminal justice Research Topics
  • Sports term paper topics
  • Making a title page for a research paper
  • Technology research topics for students
  • Research topics on discrimination
  • Education research topics
  • How to make a Research paper Longer
  • Political Science research topics
  • How to write any paper fast when you don’t have much time
  • Aviation Research Papers for students
  • Steps and tips for writing a term paper proposal.
  • Psychology research topics for term papers.
  • Essay Outlining Process
  • Writing a Research Proposal


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Everyone goes through a term paper. Whether you are a student of Business faculty or History, it is an essential writing assignment to complete during the semester. And if you are up to something more than just finishing high school, you need to befriend this type of assignment.

Why? According to recent studies, the student should have at least three publications from their work before graduation to become a strong Ph.D. candidate and ensure their future academic career is prone to get some substantial grants. Whereas another survey suggests, students who have tamed this beast boast of having the best job offerings among peers. Like it or not, a term paper is a path to success.

Let's break it into pieces to understand what is term paper proposal, why is it important, and what term paper format should look like?

Term Paper Basics: What Is Term Paper Format?

First things first – a college term paper is a scientific report of an assigned topic that is based on an extensive research. It shows students' technical writing expertise and, most importantly, in-depth knowledge of a specific course and subject.

The Importance of Term Paper

So, why do you need to nail term paper? As we have already pointed out, according to recent surveys, students with strong term paper profiles are more often being sought out for offers of employment. Though, that's not all. It is crucial for a student's academic career for such reasons as:

  • It carries enormous significance to the overall grade.
  • It makes a difference between passing or failing the class.
  • It compels students to sort out their thoughts on the subject, making things much more apparent.
  • It pushes students to practice their writing and editing skills.
  • It provides students with lots of new material and compels them to expand their knowledge and strengthen their academic background.
  • It levels up research skills.
  • It improves organizational skills that are crucial for communicating ideas and concepts. This quality is necessary for those who want to control their career path and get regular promotions at work.

Term Paper Format: The Definition

Term paper format is a set of writing style guidelines that students need to stick to when describing their research and results and expressing their arguments and findings during the process. There are four types: APA style (it is used in all sorts of disciplines), MLA style (it is another typical style native to various fields), Chicago Style (it is primarily used in History and occasionally in Science and Social Science), and Turabian Style (it is commonly used in Business and Fine Arts).

How to Ensure a Perfect Term Paper?

Our curated collection of samples term papers may provide everyone with some good insights on how to nail this task. Our collection is diverse, so chances are you will find the term paper example that fits your needs. However, do not get too comfortable. This is only half of the battle. To emerge victorious, it is crucial to understand the basics of this writing assignment. Let's consider it closely.

The Basics of a Term paper

Term paper consists of such vital sections:

  • The term paper cover page, also known as the term paper title page, is the front face of the writing assignment. It includes the student's name, the title of the paper, the professor's name, course name, and due date. Follow the instructions provided by your teacher and guides of the chosen style to make it fit the university's standards.
  • A table of contents. It lists main headings and subheadings to reveal the structure and information hierarchy of the document.
  • It describes work on one page and covers the main issue, the subject, and why it is vital for a student's career.
  • This section features a thesis or statement of the discussed topic or problem.
  • It is the most significant part that uncovers the topic. It includes the main points of the research, information about the problem, analysis of the research, and the author's conclusion.
  • This section is about the result of the research and how students' view has changed. It echoes with the introduction and conclusion.
  • Every writing assignment ends with a summary; the term paper is no exception. The discussion part is like conclusion: it sums up everything about the research including student's opinion and thoughts about the subject.

Professional Term Paper Outline Template – Where to Get One?

The term paper outline template is a great starting point, especially for first-year students who have never dealt with this assignment before. However, it is also beneficial for senior students. Having a representative example of term paper for college at hand helps undergraduates to kick-start their projects right away and lay the solid foundation to share research results and findings.

So, where to find one? You can surf the web; however, the most effective way is to peek inside our collection of free educational material. Along with free sample essay papers , it has many term paper samples.

Successful Term Paper: Tips and Best Practices

As we have already pointed out, our enormous database provides students with term paper help. Here you can find the term paper template that ideally fits your purpose. However, you cannot use it as it is. It can be only the base for your project. To make it work for you, follow these tips:

  • Pick a topic astutely. Choose a topic that is either difficult or unique. This allows you to find some interesting facts that may positively impact your instructor.
  • If the topic is assigned, make sure to read the instructions carefully. Identify the purpose of the paper.
  • Come up with a thesis statement that shows the exact idea and reflects the type of paper. Place it at the end of the introduction.
  • Start with research earlier. Discover auxiliary and essential sources for your research. Gather materials before creating a term paper outline. Search through credible resources such as books, peer-reviewed journals, and official websites of government or universities. Be careful with articles in journals and magazines since they may express the author's personal opinion.
  • Choose statements that are informative, directional, meaningful, and engaging.
  • Start each paragraph with the statement.
  • Create the first-level outline. After that, fill in subpoints and the second-level outline.
  • Include arguments and counter-arguments.
  • Cite your resources according to the chosen style.
  • Format bibliography.
  • Cover page,
  • Presentation;
  • Procedure area,
  • Discoveries;
  • Conversation;
  • Double-check everything and read the paper twice.
  • Studentshare
  • Document Types

Examples List on Term Paper


Term Paper: Step-by-Step Guide for Getting an A+

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

What Is a Term Paper and Its Purpose

According to its definition, a term paper is a comprehensive research assignment that students typically complete at the end of an academic year to demonstrate their understanding and knowledge of a specific subject, taking a significant portion of their grade. The main purpose of writing a term paper is to assess and evaluate students’ skills to conduct independent research, analyze primary and secondary data, organize their thoughts coherently, support their arguments with evidence, and present their findings in a structured format (Phillips, 2018). To achieve this objective, learners must prepare such documents for them to succeed in their studies. Moreover, such an assignment refers to serious study work that they need to submit to their instructors at the end of a semester to pass their courses. On the other hand, professors use these types of papers to track and evaluate their students’ knowledge about their areas of expertise. Further on, the process of organizing a term paper involves comprehensive research and methodological writing skills and follows specific analytical and organized structures (Coreil, 2013). Besides, good term papers have well-researched evidence that supports significant claims. As such, learners in higher educational institutions prepare such works when reflecting on their knowledge in a specific study area. In turn, the length of a term paper can vary significantly in terms of words and pages, depending on the course, instructor, and academic level:

High School

  • Words: 1,500 to 2,500 words
  • Pages: 5 to 8 full pages

College (Undergraduate)

  • Words: 3,000 to 5,000 words
  • Pages: 10 to 15 full pages

University (Upper-Level Undergraduate)

  • Words: 4,000 to 6,000 words
  • Pages: 13 to 20 full pages


  • Words: 5,000 to 7,500 words
  • Pages: 17 to 25 full pages
  • Words: 7,500 to 10,000 words
  • Pages: 25 to 35 full pages

How to write a term paper

Term Paper Format

Title Page· Title of a written document
· Student’s name
· Course name and number
· Instructor’s name
· Date
Abstract· A brief paper’s summary (usually 150-250 words)
· Highlights the main objectives, methods, results, and conclusions
Table of Contents (optional)· List of headings and subheadings with corresponding page numbers
Introduction· Introduces the topic
· Provides background information
· States the research question or thesis
· Outlines its structure
Literature Review· Reviews existing knowledge and literature related to the topic
· Identifies gaps in the current knowledge
Methodology· Describes the research methods used
· Explains data collection and analysis procedures
Results· Presents the findings of the study
· Uses tables, graphs, and charts to illustrate data
Discussion· Interprets the results
· Discusses the implications of the findings
· Relates the results to the research question or thesis
· Addresses limitations of the study
Conclusion· Summarizes the main points
· Restates the thesis in light of the findings
· Suggests areas for limitations or future research
References· Lists all primary and secondary sources cited in a written document
· Follows a specific citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard, and others)
Appendices (if necessary)· Includes additional materials, such as raw data, questionnaires, or detailed calculations

General formatting guidelines:

  • Font: Times New Roman, 12-point
  • Spacing: Double-spaced
  • Margins: 1-inch margins on all sides
  • Page Numbers: Top right corner, starting from the title page
  • Headings and Subheadings: Use consistent formatting for headings and subheadings

Possible Topics

Students in higher learning institutions may come across different topics for writing their term projects. In practice, study themes vary from one subject to another and require students to engage in detailed research (Phillips, 2018). Hence, possible topics that one may come across for writing their documents are:

  • Influence of colors on mood and behavior .
  • Exploring the impact of telemedicine in patient-centered care .
  • Impacts of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance .
  • Is there a cancer epidemic due to industrial chemicals in the environment?
  • Should federal courts be bound by the “original intent” of the framers?
  • Do foreign investments threaten U.S. economic independence?
  • Should morality and human rights influence foreign trade policy?
  • Do rich nations have a responsibility to help developing countries?
  • Partnership benefits at state and federal institutions.
  • Same-sex adoption and access to reproductive technologies.
  • Execution of juveniles.
  • The lengthy appealing process for death row inmates.
  • The Constitutional question of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Different topics have a broad scope. Basically, themes given above show that students must carry out extensive research to provide a comprehensive response. On the other hand, they can decide on the content they include in their papers and give a comprehensive analysis of their subjects.

Step-by-Step Guide for Writing a Term Paper

Any student must prepare a final project to achieve desired grades and complete a study course. In this case, a good term paper typically ranges from 1,500 to 5,000 words of writing, depending on academic levels and specific course requirements. Besides, adequate preparation allows scholars to gather relevant evidence and draft their works effectively. To start a term paper, students begin with a clear and engaging introduction that provides background information on study topics assigned by their instructors, states their research questions or thesis statements, and outlines corresponding structures (Phillips, 2018). As a result, the necessary steps in writing a high-quality report that one should take into consideration when organizing an academic piece are:

Step 1: Preparation

Defining a topic.

Defining a specific subject for a project is the first and most crucial activity that any writer must consider. Fundamentally, describing a specific issue allows students to understand their course prompts and understand key ideas required to complete final projects. For example, a term paper in English literature is a comprehensive research assignment that involves analyzing, interpreting, and discussing a specific literary work, author, or theme, allowing instructions to evaluate students’ understanding and critical evaluation of the subject at the end of a semester (Coreil, 2013). To write an English term paper, students begin by selecting a relevant literary topic, conduct thorough research and analysis, create an outline, state a clear thesis statement, develop their arguments in structured sections, provide textual evidence and citations, conclude with a summary of their findings, and ensure to proofread and adhere to the required formatting guidelines. In this case, one must understand the meaning of essential terms with their context. Moreover, students should use resources, like a dictionary and thesaurus, to obtain the necessary definitions. In turn, they may opt to seek help from peers and lecturers when defining a topic for a research assignment.   

Preparing Ideas

Preparing ideas for any project leads to outstanding work. For example, students can identify all the relevant ideas and points that need to be covered before engaging in the actual writing process (Goodson, 2024). Unfortunately, many learners fail to consider preparing thoughts as an essential step when writing a term paper. As a result, they prepare low-quality essays and achieve low grades. In turn, students need to redo their projects to pass their classes. Hence, they should prepare initial ideas before organizing a term report by using acceptable methods.


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 for their writing. In this case, students think of the ideas that relate to their topics (Goodson, 2024). 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 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 need to present both good and bad ideas concerning their subjects. On the other hand, 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 need to increase both bad and good ideas that relate to their topics under analysis.
  • Breaking and building ideas – One of the most effective strategies for turning a few ideas into many is to break them down. Principally, learners need to identify general writing themes that relate to a project and break them into smaller details. In this case, the process helps authors to see if some narrower ideas branch from their main themes. Alternatively, one may combine different ideas to create a broader subtopic for a document. Hence, writers need to break down more general concepts while combining narrow ones.
  • Play word games – Outstanding term projects 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 writing methods that motivate them to generate fresh and unique ideas related to a research topic. For instance, combining imagery, color, and visual-spatial elements evokes emotions and feelings. and they spark fresh and new thoughts. In this case, students manage to recall some concepts acquired during learning by improving the overall paper’s quality.
  • Doodling – Successful students spur creativity insights and increase attention when generating essential ideas for a term report. Essentially, doodling allows a learner to engage with visuals that spark new thoughts. Furthermore, practical doodling approaches help authors to break out of the traditional brainstorming approaches, and they 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 writing ideas. In this case, students should change their physical environment to avoid boredom. Basically, enriched and attractive environments affect how the human brain works and speed up how one generates new ideas and thoughts. Therefore, a successful learner can select the location for brainstorming effectively. 

Reading is an appropriate method that students may consider when generating ideas for term papers. For instance, reading is a traditional method, and writers use it to raise arguments related to a specific topic (Goodson, 2024). In this case, scholars must identify credible sources that relate to a study topic and read them to understand an assigned subject better before writing. This strategy plays a crucial in raising viable and accurate ideas about the project’s topic. However, scholars can take the necessary precautions since extensive reading is a tedious and monotonous process.   

Considering an Academic Audience

Different scholars read term papers for specific reasons. Basically, students must consider the target audience as academic readers to ensure articles meet their needs (Phillips, 2018). In most cases, scholars use the official language when writing and expressing thoughts. Moreover, formal language suits academic documents because it reveals professionalism and academic excellence.

Step 2: Setting Up the Stage

Researching for sources.

Terms papers must contain credible evidence obtained from academic sources. Essentially, scholars gather adequate evidence from different reliable sources, like books, journal articles, financial and laboratory reports, credible websites, and magazines (Hoogenboom & Manske, 2012). As a ground writing rule, all sources must provide adequate and irrefutable evidence to support the main arguments. In particular, one can find scholarly sources published in the last ten years because they contain the latest evidence and facts on issues under investigation. Hence, writers need to look for credible sources to support their main arguments.

Making Notes

Taking notes is a crucial step when writing term papers. Principally, scholars must 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 (Ecarnot et al., 2015). Then, successful scholars take notes and revise them to ensure they obtain the most substantial evidence that supports their research work. In turn, improving paper notes involves breaking broader ideas into smaller ones and combining others to make them stronger and more sensible. Therefore, students can take the necessary points to support their central ideas.    

Developing a Study Outline

Organizing thoughts plays a crucial role in preparing a quality document. Essentially, one should combine research notes obtained from scholarly sources and those gathered during brainstorming and put them into developing a term paper’s outline (Phillips, 2018). In this case, a well-organized outline helps writers to connect ideas. Moreover, this outline should contain a study topic with the main thoughts and concepts needed to be covered. Further on, 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 scholarly article. As a result, students should follow the basic writing steps below to create a clear outline:

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

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Successful scholars prepare annotated bibliographies that contain relevant and irrefutable research. Basically, each entry in an annotated bibliography for a document must include citation information with writing a short description and analysis (Coreil, 2013). In this case, scholars need to follow accepted citation styles, depending on instructions given by professors. Besides, an annotated bibliography must focus on a central topic of a term report. Students must ensure all sources remain relevant to their study topics. However, one should remember that typical 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 needs to prepare a written annotated bibliography for a project when conducting research.

Step 3: Starting a Term Paper

Organizing a first draft.

First drafts of term papers help one to organize ideas in a good flow. Essentially, students should use their outlines and annotated bibliographies to write the first draft of a document (Coreil, 2013). In this case, scholars need to focus on presenting all the ideas in this draft. Further on, an appropriate draft enables one to test an outline and elaborate theories to support the central argument. As a result, good drafts resemble complete term reports. Finally, good drafts must contain a title page, abstract or executive summary, introduction, body, and conclusion with a reference page.

Putting Everything Together

A scholar should put all the ideas together into a complete term paper. For example, learners need to ensure a written document contains a logical flow of ideas (Goodson, 2024). In this case, the strategy enables students to identify some gaps in the presented concepts. Besides, putting everything together helps authors to identify some points that require more investigation.

Finding New Sources or Deleting Old Ones

Term papers must contain compelling ideas and arguments. For example, learners need to review their drafts to determine if all sources provide relevant and credible evidence (Hoogenboom & Manske, 2012). In practice, scholars change some sources that offer weak arguments. Besides, writers must remove previous scholarly sources with weak points of view or irrelevant information to a study since a research hypothesis may be changed during writing the first draft. Hence, one can change credible sources where necessary.

Altering an Outline

Learners should change their outlines of term papers to make such pieces more substantial and compelling. For instance, people must use their first drafts and new scholarly sources to make relevant changes in a term document’s outline (Coreil, 2013). Besides, the primary goal of this writing strategy is to strengthen study arguments and improve their clarity.

Creating a Working Thesis

Compelling term papers must contain well-organized thesis statements by considering research hypotheses and rationales. Fundamentally, scholars develop a working thesis statement, which includes the claim and significant points that scholars try to make (Gray, 2018). In this case, writers need to create a sentence that explains their positions taken on topics in question based on their hypotheses and rationales. Furthermore, 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, a written draft, and a completed annotated bibliography to create the working hypothesis and ensure it meets the necessary quality.

Step 4: Wrapping It Up

Outstanding term papers contain minimal or no flaws. Essentially, learners must revise their drafts to remove all the mistakes. For example, some factors that one must consider are spelling and grammatical errors, various writing technicalities, and idea flow (Goodson, 2024). In this case, revisions play a significant role in improving the paper’s overall quality and ensuring readers develop the motivation to evaluate all its sections. Hence, students need to revise the first term project’s draft to remove unnecessary mistakes.  

Editing is an important task, and it helps authors to make term papers compelling. In particular, students focus on enhancing the readability and relevance levels of research (Coreil, 2013). Hence, when writing a term paper, one must consider:

  • Scholars can change the order of words during the editing process. In this case, the primary purpose of enhancing the term report’s euphony is to improve the rhythm and other dynamics. As a result, students can replace weak expressions to remove clichés and conversational writing style.
  • Effective editing helps authors to enhance the brevity of statements and claims made throughout a document. 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 projects must include proven facts written in each paragraph. Moreover, one can specify scholarly sources of any data used in supporting topic sentences.
  • Good students edit their documents to improve the quality of their literacy levels. On the other hand, one must proofread the work to remove punctuation, spelling and syntax mistakes, and typos. Finally, this process requires reading a whole term document several times to identify all writing errors and correct them accordingly.

Topic Sentences

Every paragraph in the body of a term paper must begin with a topic sentence. For example, learners ensure each section dwells on a single point related to a central thesis statement (Goodson, 2024). Moreover, one needs to reread a written work to ensure all paragraphs have the necessary opening statements.

Concluding Sentences

Every paragraph of a term report must end with a concluding sentence. In this case, students need to summarize all ideas covered in a paper’s body section (Hoogenboom & Manske, 2012). Besides, last sentences of paragraphs should include writing a summative claim, which brings all the concepts and thoughts into a unique closure.  


All ideas presented in a term document must have a unique transitioning of ideas. For example, writers should use the necessary phrases to transition sentences and paragraphs (Goodson, 2024). In particular, the approach improves the overall readability and flow of ideas in any paper. As a rule, each paragraph’s last sentence must act as a transition to the next section. Hence, readers need to find connections between all the paragraphs in a written report.

Any learning institution requires students to follow specific formatting rules. In this case, learners must follow such guidelines when writing their term papers (Coreil, 2013). As a result, marking rubrics are useful tools that each learner needs to use to format their work.

Peer Reviewing

Peer review is an essential step in enhancing the term project’s quality. Mainly, one should identify scholars who are familiar with a study subject to read a written document. To achieve this objective, qualified scholars help students to identify some mistakes that may undermine the paper’s readability (Ecarnot et al., 2015). Besides, peers provide positive criticism, and this process allows students to make the necessary changes to their work.

Step 5: Writing a Final Draft

A term paper’s final draft must include all the changes made during revisions, editing, formatting, and peer review. In this case, scholars focus on submitting flawless documents that do not contain any forms of plagiarism (Hoogenboom & Manske, 2012). Besides, the written final draft must capture all the aspects covered during a research study with results, discussion, recommendations, limitations, and information for further analysis or investigation.

Basic Outline Template for a Term Paper

Cover Page with a Title

Abstract (150 words)

Table of Contents (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

A. Literature Review (if needed)

  • Topic sentence
  • Explanation
  • Concluding sentence and transition

B. Methodology

D. Discussion

E. Recommendations and Limitations (if needed)

III. Conclusion

A. Summary of the main points

B. A strong response to a central thesis statement

C. A summative statement

Note: The presented structure for writing a term paper appears different since it contains some sections of a research paper, which are useful for any study, and 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 a relevant explanation.

Explanations for Key Aspects


The introduction must state the primary purpose of a term project. Mainly, scholars ensure the first part of the work acquaints readers with a problem under discussion (Gray, 2018). Besides, one must include a compelling and robust thesis statement in this section. As a rule, introduction paragraphs should not take up a large part of an entire document. Hence, the introduction section must provide an overview of the whole work in a straightforward and precise writing manner. In turn, some examples of sentence starters for beginning a term paper are:

  • In recent years, the phenomenon of [topic] has gained notable attention due to its impact on [field or society].
  • This project explores the critical issue of [topic], aiming to understand its implications for [specific group or area].
  • The purpose of this examination is to investigate the underlying causes of [issue] and propose potential solutions, such as [solutions].
  • Understanding [topic] is crucial for [field] because it directly affects [specific outcome or process].
  • This research aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of [topic], focusing on [specific aspect].
  • This paper explores the historical context of [topic] and its relevance to modern-day issues.
  • Through a comprehensive review of [literature/field], this report seeks to examine the complex relationship between [concept A] and [concept B].
  • By exploring [topic], this analysis contributes to a deeper understanding of [field or discipline].
  • The evolution of [topic] over the past decade highlights the need for a thorough investigation of [specific aspect].
  • The purpose of this term project is to challenge the traditional understanding of [topic] by presenting new insights and perspectives, such as [points].

The term document’s body must have different headings and subheadings that connect to the topic. In this case, scholars ensure the process of dividing a document into different sections enhances the clarity of the message (Ecarnot et al., 2015). Moreover, a suitable number of citations for a term paper generally ranges from 10 to 20, depending on the length and depth of the entire work, the topic’s complexity, and the specific requirements of the course and instructor. Finally, the writing strategy should not distract readers from appreciating the intended message.

The closing paragraph must restate the thesis statement included in the introduction. Essentially, students sum up the ideas presented in all the body paragraphs (Gray, 2018). Then, the most effective writing strategy that one may use is to restate all the topic sentences. Finally, authors provide a concluding statement, and it brings an entire study paper into a unique closure.

How to Write a Proposal for a Term Paper

A term paper proposal outlines the structure of the future work that scholars must complete. Principally, practical writing recommendations provide crucial elements that support the research process included in an actual paper. In this case, term proposals aim to constrict a wide area of interest into a complicated or specific topic (Coreil, 2013). Moreover, writers define the intention to discover a study issue and base their decision on the need to make changes, improve the condition of the matter, or advance scholarly knowledge in the specific area of interest. In turn, one needs to select essential parts of writing a term project 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 must include the following parts:

  • Title – Any documentmust have a concise and brief title, and it should resemble that of an actual term paper.
  • Objectives – All proposals state a key goal of a future project and include its intended purpose on what it expects to achieve.
  • Research question – An outstanding proposal must state study questions, and scholars intend to answer them through adequate research.
  • Thesis statement – Propositions 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 a central claim is a verifiable statement.
  • Methodology – Proposal documents state actual methods used to gather and evaluate the relevant data, including appropriate and proven methods to conduct a research study.

Possible Writing Formats

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 9, APA 7, Harvard, and Chicago/Turabian. In turn, each of these formats has specific guidelines, and they are.

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

Projects formatted in MLA 9 do not require a cover page unless specified. In particular, writers include a header, which contains surnames and page numbers. Moreover, one must flush these writing details to the right margin of the page. In turn, all in-text citations must have the author’s last name and the exact page containing the evidence used.


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

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

Term Paper Example

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

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. Introduction Sample

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.


H 0 – The United States uses the war on terror to control other countries.

H 1 – The United States uses the war on terror to protect the rights of its citizens.

II. Example of Body Paragraphs

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 of 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.

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 to gathering the necessary data.

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 fairness, equity, or coercion, depending on the analyst’s political standpoint. Hence, economic grievances motivate some groups to engage in terrorism.

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

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. 

List of 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

Comparison Table: Term Paper vs. Research Paper vs. Essay

AspectTerm PaperResearch PaperEssay
LengthTypically 1,500 to 5,000 wordsVaries between 500 to 10,000 wordsGenerally 500 to 2,000 words
PurposeDemonstrates understanding and knowledge gained over a specific courseExplores and answers a specific research question or hypothesisPresents and supports a specific argument or viewpoint
ResearchRequires extensive secondary researchRequires primary and secondary researchMay require some secondary research
StructureTitle page, abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, referencesTitle page, abstract, outline, introduction, literature review, materials and methods, results, discussion, recommendations, limitations, conclusion, referencesIntroduction, body paragraphs, conclusion
ComplexityInvolves comprehensive analysis and synthesis of informationIncludes detailed analysis and covers original researchLess complex, focuses on developing a clear argument
DurationCompleted over the end of a semesterCan last from several months to yearsCompleted in a shorter time frame, and, sometimes, as a single writing assignment
Depth of AnalysisIn-depth analysis and critical thinkingHighly detailed analysis, may include original findingsFocuses on a single argument or perspective
FormatFormal, follows academic writing, formatting, and citation rules (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard, and others)Formal, strict adherence to academic writing, formatting, and citation rulesLess formal, but still follows academic writing standards for structure and citations
ScopeCovers multiple aspects of a topicCan be broad or very specificNarrow focus on a particular topic or question
ReferencesExtensive bibliography or reference list requiredExtensive bibliography, includes both primary and secondary sourcesLimited number of references, depending on the assignment requirements
AudienceAcademic audience, mainly covering instructors and peersAcademic audience, including scholars and researchersAcademic or general audience, depending on the topic

Key Remarks . The main differences between a term paper and an essay are that the former involves in-depth research and analysis on an assigned topic over a specific course, being longer and more detailed, while the latter presents a focused argument or viewpoint on a particular subject, resulting in a shorter and less comprehensive writing piece. Moreover, the main differences between a term paper and a research paper are that the former demonstrates a better understanding and knowledge gained after completing a course, often summarizing existing research, while the latter explores and answers a specific study question or hypothesis, usually involving original research and detailed analysis. In turn, a term paper and a thesis paper are not the same because the former is a comprehensive writing assignment completed over a course to demonstrate a deep understanding of a specific subject, while the latter is a lengthy, original research project required for a graduate degree, solving an existing knowledge gap and presenting new findings or insights through writing.

Common Mistakes

  • Lack of an Accurate Thesis Statement: Failing to establish a clear, concise thesis statement shows your lack of focus and direction in your term paper.
  • Poor Organization: A disorganized structure can make your arguments hard to follow because you need to ensure your document has a logical flow of ideas with clear headings and subheadings.
  • Insufficient Research: Relying on too few sources or not incorporating different perspectives can weaken your writing project since comprehensive research is crucial.
  • Ignoring Guidelines: Not following the assignment writing guidelines or the specified format (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard, and others) can result in losing marks.
  • Weak Introduction and Conclusion: An ineffective introduction may fail to engage readers, and a weak conclusion can leave your report feeling incomplete.
  • Plagiarism: Failing to properly cite sources or presenting others’ works as your own can have serious academic consequences, and you must always cite your sources correctly.
  • Inconsistent Argumentation: Presenting contradictory arguments or failing to support your claims with evidence can undermine your project’s credibility.
  • Grammatical and Spelling Errors: Poor grammar and spelling mistakes can distract your readers and detract them from the quality of your work, suggesting you need to proofread your writing carefully.
  • Overuse of Quotations: Relying too heavily on direct quotes can make your paper seem like you lack original analysis, and you need to paraphrase sentences where possible and use quotes sparingly.
  • Not Revising and Editing: Submitting your first draft without revising can result in a document full of writing errors and weak arguments, and you must always take some time to revise and improve your work.

Term projects refer to research assignments completed by learners toward the end of educational semesters. The fastest way to write a term paper is to start with a clear outline, conduct focused research, develop a strong thesis statement, draft the work section by section without worrying about perfection, and then revise and proofread for clarity and accuracy. In this case, students must ensure their documents 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 and support significant claims.
  • Consider various paper formatting strategies as required by learning institutions.

Coreil, C. (2013). Term papers and academic writing: Setting new parameters, for undergraduates, graduate students; Self-study and use with a teacher . Infinity Publishing.

Ecarnot, F., Seronde, M.-F., Chopard, R., Schiele, F., & Meneveau, N. (2015). Writing a scientific article: A step-by-step guide for beginners. European Geriatric Medicine , 6 (6), 573–579. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurger.2015.08.005

Goodson, P. (2024). Becoming an academic writer: 50 exercises for paced, productive, and powerful writing . Sage.

Gray, J. A. (2018). Introduction sections: Where are we going and why should I care? AME Medical Journal , 3 , 1–13. https://doi.org/10.21037/amj.2018.12.03

Hoogenboom, B. J., & Manske, R. C. (2012). How to write a scientific article. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy , 7 (6), 512–517. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3474301/

Phillips, R. (2018). Term papers: An informal guide . Independently Published.

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How to Write a Term Paper: A Complete Guide With Examples

You just got your term paper assignment and have no idea what to do or how to start? This guide will navigate you through every step of the process, from idea formation to final editing and proofreading. We will start with outlining, drafting and brainstorming, and get you through the writing part in no time. So, let’s dive into the question of how to write a term paper.

If you want to know everything you will need about term papers, this guide, written by the writers at the best essay writing service will help you along.

Table of Contents

What is a term paper.

A term paper is an academic milestone more so than anything else. As a student, you are tasked with learning and then transmitting that knowledge to others. A term paper is just that, a way to show what you have learnt, and disseminate the knowledge to others. Unlike other types of academic writing , a term paper is more detailed, requires more research, and is generally seen as the hardest piece of written work aside from a thesis.


The aim of a term paper is to showcase your understanding of the subject matter and how well you handle pressure and deadlines. In this context, a term paper proves invaluable. In terms of scope, term papers may zero in on an important historical event – if you’re studying history – a scientific concept, or a contentious argument. The choice hinges on the prompt created by your academic advisor. The typical length of a term paper can stretch to five or seven pages, and is generally the prerequisite to attend end-of-semester examination. But, it is also a part of the weighted grade you’ll receive, which only adds to its importance.

For the average student, writing a term paper takes around two weeks, and is a process many do not fully understand. Term paper starts from a very basic element, a question.

Say your teacher wants you to analyze the arguments for and against US involvement in World War II. How would you start? By asking a question; something like: Why did the US enter the war? Or, why did the US waive its neutrality and entered the war.

This opens the door for you and allows you to find an article or two that then leads to the second step, and so on and so on, until you are done. The problem is many students do not know how the process works, or what skills are needed to get the job done. To write an excellent paper you need to plan carefully, adapt to new conditions, be analytical yet persuasive, and understand how referencing works. In addition, the paper has to be formatted to specifications of your chosen citation style – APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard, etc. This is a lot of work!

What is the Purpose of a Term Paper

At its core, a term paper serves to test your ability to understand arguments and defend them using written constructs within a pre-determined time period. Put simply, it tests your ability to navigate complex ideas when faced with a deadline – something that comes in handy in almost every job you’ll ever have later in life. If you can understand a complex event, a scientific theory, or a debatable stance, based on the directive from your academic mentor, you can manage pretty much anything that is thrown your way.

A typical term paper will be between five to seven pages, and represents the pinnacle of writing tasks in the semester. The process of term paper writing, even when the topic is prescribed, can be an arduous and time-consuming undertaking. To succeed you need meticulous planning, good composition skills, and scrupulous analysis, structure, and edit

Doing the Basics Right Saves You Time

As Seneca famously said, “Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity.” In short, prepare, prepare, prepare. To create a perfect term paper you need to know, well in advance, how it will look, what will it be about, and how will it be structured. This then allows you to simply fill in the blanks as you go. But, if you start a day before submission, you’re toast – or, you can always ask for help from us J – because the result will be Red Bull frenzy induced compilation of internet’s best hits. And trust me when I say, your teacher has those stored in memory; you’re not the first student to turn a deaf ear on old Seneca….


So, let’s see how to start your term paper:

  • Select your topic – If possible choose something that you’re personally interested in. When you choose early, all the good topics are still free, so keep that in mind.
  • Research your topic – Once chosen, sit at your computer and run through Google Scholar or your University Library for anything that pops up when you type in your exact topic.
  • Create an outline – When you have a basic understanding of the topic, prepare an outline. It’s always going to be fairly standard, so once you get it right, you can re-use whenever you need to in the future.
  • Thesis statement – Now starts the tricky part. Just kidding, this is still the Top Lane, we’re not even close to the Jungle. Thesis statements are always pretty similar. Jolt down your guiding question and then, based on what you’ve read, write a one sentence argument. For example, if writing about solar and wind, you might go with: Solar and wind power are the future of energy production because fossil fuels are unsustainable.
  • Topics, topic sentences, and paragraphs – Every paragraph starts with a topic sentence that describes what the paragraph is talking about. The easiest way to understand is this. If writing a paper about wind and solar, you would need at least three topic sentences – 1)Wind 2)Solar 3)Benefits of using wind and solar. Naturally, a term paper needs much more than just three, but you get the idea.
  •   Conclusion – Once you’ve written down the topic sentences and outlined the paper, note your own expectations of what you’ll find in the conclusion. This will help you understand what is happening, and when you’re actually writing the conclusion it will tell you if you were right or wrong.

Pro tip: If all of this is too much for you, there is always the possibility of asking professionals for help. Our team of term paper writers are here to help, so feel free to reach out!

Structure of a Term Paper

As you’ve probably guessed by now, every paper has to have a specific structure. In general, you can expect to have at least three parts – introduction, body, and a conclusion. However, longer papers may need several sub-sections, perhaps even an abstract or a summary, and a page dedicated to bibliography.

A typical term paper has three to five body paragraphs that form the backbone of your arguments and analytical discourse. A bibliography is always needed, even if your sources predominantly comprise course materials or excerpts from consulted textbooks. Depending on the chosen style, you will need either a Works Cited page (MLA), a Reference page (APA) or a Bibliography (Harvard, Chicago). Given its pivotal role in determining your final course grade, make sure to adhere to the highest writing and editing standards.

Term Paper Outline

  • Title page – this is where you enter your name, teacher name, school, class, and date. The formatting will depend on your chosen style
  • Introduction – Introduction sets the stage for your arguments. This is where you present statistics, define helpful terms, and finally present your thesis statement. IMPORTANT: Thesis statement is always the last sentence in the introduction.
  • Body 1: Historical setting or development
  • Body 2: Current state of knowledge about the problem
  • Body 3: Main argument and potential implications
  • Body 4: Argument for
  • Body 5: Argument against
  • Body 6: Summary
  • Conclusion : Bring all of the body arguments together and restate your thesis statement.
  • Bibliography : Provide references for all sources cited in the term paper using the style of your choice

Now let’s get to the nitty gritty of the writing process.

Topic Selection – In most cases teachers or instructors will provide students with a list of pre-approved topics to choose from. But, in some cases you will get the opportunity to choose for yourself. This is both a blessing and a curse, because it can lead you into a deep pit of despair if you are not careful.

Length – Every paper will have an assigned length. You should never go under the minimum or the maximum word/page count, as that will take points away from your final score. If the prompt asks for 10 pages, write that.

Sources – Consult your school library, Google Scholar, and any other database that has access to journals and books on your topic.

Simplify – While it is admirable to be able to write in a high-brow voice, it’s much better to use plain language as much as possible, but staying within the confines of academic jargon. No don’t’s, couldnt’s, or should’ve. If something is too complicated to explain simply, you do not understand it properly. Ask for clarification.

Do not be afraid to wander – Choosing a common topic may be a safe bet, but your teacher will grade you higher if you take a topic nobody else even though about. Brownie points are there for the taking. Just make sure you know what you’re talking about!

Don’t overextend – While the entire combined histories of all monastic orders may seem like an interesting topic (well, to us at least), it is waaaaaaay too broad to cover in 5 or 10 pages. Heck, that would probably take an entire compendium with multiple volumes. In short, don’t be a megalomaniac and choose a topic that fits in 5 pages.


How to Write a Term Paper: The Writing Process

Before starting your write up, the teacher will expect a proposal. This is a very short summary of the topic, your thesis statement, and a few sources. The goal is to present a topic that you can defend and ask the teacher to approve it.

So how do you write a proposal? Start by writing down your thesis statement and guiding question. Then identify three to four sources and jolt down key statistics and pieces of information that are linked to your thesis statement. The goal is to show you’ve done the work. The proposal will generally have a full outline (see above) so that the teacher knows what you are planning to do. If you explain what the topic is and why it is important in writing , the teacher will accept the proposal.

Introduction, well, Introduces the Term Paper

Your essay has to start strong, which is why 99.99%  of all introductions start with a hook that captivates the audience. A hook can be anything, a statistic (like 40% of people in the US have no savings whatsoever, which means around 140 million people are completely broke – now that’s a hook, line, and sinker).

Once you know the reader is hooked, you present a brief overview of the topic you will discuss. This is where you bring statistics, data, and broader theories or concepts that may relate.

The end of the introduction is always reserved for the thesis statement, which is the last sentence of the introduction.

Try to be concise – not more than ¾ of a page (cca 200-250 words), but detailed enough so that the reader understands what the paper is about.

Writing the Body Sections

When you are certain you can understand the concepts and arguments presented in the literature, it’s time to write your body paragraphs.

The goal is to provide the reader with enough context and argumentation to prove your point. So, if you’re writing about the advantages of nuclear energy, you have to provide evidence from the literature as well as a thorough analysis of all benefits and drawbacks. The goal is to be as objective as possible, while ensuring your results are accurate.

Do not dwell on too much detail, you cannot fit all of the information in a 5 – 10 page paper. Isolate the most important pieces of evidence, maybe 3-4 and focus on those.

As a rule of thumb, you will aim for 4 – 5 body paragraphs minimum, but in most cases you will need more. The first section should be the literature review, where you analyze state-of-the-art of the topic you are writing about.

Following the literature review is your analysis, which draws from the information you’ve collected. It’s important to note, do not try and make up new stuff, or draw conclusions in this section. Simply analyze and summarize the findings in your own voice.

The last paragraph of the body section can be your own summary, where you present a different opinion. Be concise and do not go into too much detail, simply note if you think there are any discrepancies in the literature.

Remember : Always start your paragraphs with a topic sentence and try to contain the information within the paragraph to the topic.

Writing the Conclusion

Conclusion is the most important part of the term paper, even though many do not give it enough attention. This is where you put everything you’ve written together and summarize key findings.

Important : Conclusion is not the place to add new information or knowledge!

To write a good conclusion keep in mind your initial research question and thesis statement. The goal of the term paper is to answer the question and prove your thesis statement is correct. Has your paper done this? Write it down and explain why or why not your initial proposal was correct. A thesis statement can be wrong, and you must acknowledge this in your conclusion.

In the conclusion:

  • Summarize your findings
  • Discuss implications for future reseasrch

Editing and Finalization

The final word of the conclusion has been written, references added and alphabetized, the paper and the title page formatted. You are finally done. Or, maybe not! Now is the time for the final edit.

Teachers, above everything else, hate reading papers with spelling mistakes and poor grammar. To make sure your paper does not annoy the teacher (you don’t want a lower grade), make sure it is completely free of any errors.

The best way to do this is by using a machine learning tool combined with close reading on your own. The machine will weed out the glaring errors, and you will finish the job.

Read through the draft carefully. Remove any fluff or excess words that add nothing to the argument. You will likely find several sentences you will want to change. Do this now. Once done, start the second read-through.

In this read-through you will hone in on the arguments. Do they make sense? Are statistics properly cited, and do you sound coherent? If the answer is no, you will want to fix the mistakes until satisfied.

Now, finally, you are done! Congratulations. Pat yourself on the back. Oh, wait, we forgot about the abstract!

Abstract Comes First, or Last

In no uncertain terms, do not write the abstract before you’ve completed the term paper. This is always the last part of the writing process, but strangely enough the one your paper starts with. Go figure.

When you do get to this stage, use our secret formula. Well, it’s not really secret but we like to think so. The abstract needs three parts to work well, the introduction, the method/procedure, and the conclusion/findings. Depending on the topic these will vary slightly but you will always find them in an abstract.

Introduce your topic and what you plan to do in two to three sentences.

Describe what method you will use – such as literature review, an experiment, or something else. Two to three sentences.

Define the results you obtained after using the method. Two to three sentences.

Remember : The abstract should be between 120 and 200 words in length, no more is needed.

No, they are not. A research paper is an original piece of writing that comes after some type of original research has been done. Maybe you’ve found a new civilization during a dig, or a new chemical element. The research paper is meant to publicize this finding so other scientists can critique, refute, or confirm its validity. A term paper is a much simpler version that requires no original research. But, a term paper is your preparation for writing a research paper later in life.

This will depend on your teacher. In many cases, you will get a pre-defined format to follow, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago. If not, we recommend using APA or Harvard, as they are relatively simple to learn and have a ton of resources to help you along.

It is important to remember you are not writing a book, so keep the topic narrow. For example, if writing about renewable energy, choose only one type of energy or just one region. Do not try to cram everything into 5-10 pages; it won’t work.

Writing a term paper is certainly a challenge, but it is also manageable if you dedicate yourself to the process. Prepare well in advance, read a lot, and do not be afraid to ask for help if you get stuck. Your teachers are paid to help you, so email them if you get stuck. Above everything, make sure you are interested in the topic, as that will make the process so much easier.


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American Psychological Association

Sample Papers

This page contains sample papers formatted in seventh edition APA Style. The sample papers show the format that authors should use to submit a manuscript for publication in a professional journal and that students should use to submit a paper to an instructor for a course assignment. You can download the Word files to use as templates and edit them as needed for the purposes of your own papers.

Most guidelines in the Publication Manual apply to both professional manuscripts and student papers. However, there are specific guidelines for professional papers versus student papers, including professional and student title page formats. All authors should check with the person or entity to whom they are submitting their paper (e.g., publisher or instructor) for guidelines that are different from or in addition to those specified by APA Style.

Sample papers from the Publication Manual

The following two sample papers were published in annotated form in the Publication Manual and are reproduced here as PDFs for your ease of use. The annotations draw attention to content and formatting and provide the relevant sections of the Publication Manual (7th ed.) to consult for more information.

  • Student sample paper with annotations (PDF, 5MB)
  • Professional sample paper with annotations (PDF, 2.7MB)

We also offer these sample papers in Microsoft Word (.docx) format with the annotations as comments to the text.

  • Student sample paper with annotations as comments (DOCX, 42KB)
  • Professional sample paper with annotations as comments (DOCX, 103KB)

Finally, we offer these sample papers in Microsoft Word (.docx) format without the annotations.

  • Student sample paper without annotations (DOCX, 36KB)
  • Professional sample paper without annotations (DOCX, 96KB)

Sample professional paper templates by paper type

These sample papers demonstrate APA Style formatting standards for different professional paper types. Professional papers can contain many different elements depending on the nature of the work. Authors seeking publication should refer to the journal’s instructions for authors or manuscript submission guidelines for specific requirements and/or sections to include.

  • Literature review professional paper template (DOCX, 47KB)
  • Mixed methods professional paper template (DOCX, 68KB)
  • Qualitative professional paper template (DOCX, 72KB)
  • Quantitative professional paper template (DOCX, 77KB)
  • Review professional paper template (DOCX, 112KB)

Sample papers are covered in the seventh edition APA Style manuals in the Publication Manual Chapter 2 and the Concise Guide Chapter 1

sample term papers

Related handouts

  • Heading Levels Template: Student Paper (PDF, 257KB)
  • Heading Levels Template: Professional Paper (PDF, 213KB)

Other instructional aids

  • Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS)
  • APA Style Tutorials and Webinars
  • Handouts and Guides
  • Paper Format

View all instructional aids

Sample student paper templates by paper type

These sample papers demonstrate APA Style formatting standards for different student paper types. Students may write the same types of papers as professional authors (e.g., quantitative studies, literature reviews) or other types of papers for course assignments (e.g., reaction or response papers, discussion posts), dissertations, and theses.

APA does not set formal requirements for the nature or contents of an APA Style student paper. Students should follow the guidelines and requirements of their instructor, department, and/or institution when writing papers. For instance, an abstract and keywords are not required for APA Style student papers, although an instructor may request them in student papers that are longer or more complex. Specific questions about a paper being written for a course assignment should be directed to the instructor or institution assigning the paper.

  • Discussion post student paper template (DOCX, 31KB)
  • Literature review student paper template (DOCX, 37KB)
  • Quantitative study student paper template (DOCX, 53KB)

Sample papers in real life

Although published articles differ in format from manuscripts submitted for publication or student papers (e.g., different line spacing, font, margins, and column format), articles published in APA journals provide excellent demonstrations of APA Style in action.

APA journals began publishing papers in seventh edition APA Style in 2020. Professional authors should check the author submission guidelines for the journal to which they want to submit their paper for any journal-specific style requirements.

Credits for sample professional paper templates

Quantitative professional paper template: Adapted from “Fake News, Fast and Slow: Deliberation Reduces Belief in False (but Not True) News Headlines,” by B. Bago, D. G. Rand, and G. Pennycook, 2020, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General , 149 (8), pp. 1608–1613 ( https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000729 ). Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association.

Qualitative professional paper template: Adapted from “‘My Smartphone Is an Extension of Myself’: A Holistic Qualitative Exploration of the Impact of Using a Smartphone,” by L. J. Harkin and D. Kuss, 2020, Psychology of Popular Media , 10 (1), pp. 28–38 ( https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000278 ). Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association.

Mixed methods professional paper template: Adapted from “‘I Am a Change Agent’: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Students’ Social Justice Value Orientation in an Undergraduate Community Psychology Course,” by D. X. Henderson, A. T. Majors, and M. Wright, 2019,  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology , 7 (1), 68–80. ( https://doi.org/10.1037/stl0000171 ). Copyright 2019 by the American Psychological Association.

Literature review professional paper template: Adapted from “Rethinking Emotions in the Context of Infants’ Prosocial Behavior: The Role of Interest and Positive Emotions,” by S. I. Hammond and J. K. Drummond, 2019, Developmental Psychology , 55 (9), pp. 1882–1888 ( https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000685 ). Copyright 2019 by the American Psychological Association.

Review professional paper template: Adapted from “Joining the Conversation: Teaching Students to Think and Communicate Like Scholars,” by E. L. Parks, 2022, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology , 8 (1), pp. 70–78 ( https://doi.org/10.1037/stl0000193 ). Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association.

Credits for sample student paper templates

These papers came from real students who gave their permission to have them edited and posted by APA.

How to Write a Term Paper 101: A Tutorial to Takeover

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As the end of the semester draws closer, many students are losing their sleep over the thought of writing a term paper. But you’re worrying pointlessly because  PaperPerk  has brought expert help to your doorstep! 

Our comprehensive guide on how to write a term paper is sure to help you with every step. So read this article thoroughly because we cover everything from definition to steps on composition and templates with examples.

Table of Contents

What Is a Term Paper?

A term paper is a written project required at the end of a semester. It is designed to evaluate a student’s knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. Typically, it takes the form of a discussion or analysis of an assigned topic. 

But it can also resemble a scientific report,  reflective essay , or even a research paper. As an essential component of a student’s academic journey, a term paper is characterized by its in-depth exploration of a specific subject matter.

Key Characteristics

One of the key features of a term paper is that it requires a significant amount of research , as it aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the topic. This research-intensive nature of the term paper sets it apart from other academic assignments. 

Additionally, term papers demand technical writing skills, as they need to be well-organized, structured, and adhere to specific formatting requirements. A high-quality term paper should be well-written, thoroughly researched, and analytical. 

It should demonstrate critical thinking and provide valuable insights into the subject matter. With an Impactful term paper, a student showcases their ability to synthesize and analyze information, ultimately contributing to their overall academic success.

How to Write a Term Paper: A Comprehensive Guide

The biggest step in learning how to write a term paper is to understand the importance of creating a term paper outline. This  research paper outline  is the beacon that will guide through your writing process. The following part of this post contains steps on composing an outline and its component. 

How to Write a Term Paper: Outlining a Term Paper

Below are the essential components of an outline. Once you gather your information, you’ll incorporate it within these compartments to avoid creating a chaotic cluster of random data. 


Let’s look at these a bit more closely and understand how to use these elements in the best way. 

Also known as the  title page , the cover page of a term paper is the first impression of the paper. It provides all the necessary information about the paper along with a neat and professional look. It should include the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Course name and code
  • Instructor’s name
  • Date of submission

Steps to compose a cover page:

  • Centrally align the title of your paper in the middle of the page.
  • Add your name, course name, and number below the title.
  • Include your instructor’s name and the date of submission at the bottom.

You might be required to add more than these common elements if your professor asks you to. Many students additionally write the name of the university, department or other relevant details. 

The abstract is a brief summary of your term paper, usually between 150-250 words. It should highlight the main points, including the research question, methods, results, and conclusions. 

Using an  abstract  optimally allows readers to quickly grasp the main points and significance of your term paper. The abstract is usually placed at the beginning of the paper, right after the cover page. 

Steps to compose an abstract:

  • Write a concise summary of your paper’s purpose and research question.
  • Briefly describe the methods used in your research.
  • Summarize the main findings or results.
  • Conclude with a brief statement of your paper’s implications or significance.

Ensure that all the information you incorporate within your abstract accurately reflects the content and findings within your paper. Double-check that there is consistency between the abstract and the main body of the paper in terms of the research objectives, methodology, and conclusions. 

The  introduction  sets the stage for your term paper. It provides background information, states the research question, depicts the purpose of the study and explains the paper’s significance. 

Steps to compose an introduction:

  • Begin with a hook to capture the reader’s attention.
  • Provide background information on your topic.
  • Clearly state your research question.
  • Explain the significance of your research and its contribution to the field.

The body of your term paper is where you present your arguments , evidence, and analysis. It should be organized into sections or subheadings, each focusing on a specific aspect of your research.

Steps to compose the body:

  • Organize your content into logical sections or subheadings.
  • Present your arguments and support them with evidence from your research.
  • Analyze the evidence and explain its relevance to your research question.
  • Use appropriate citations to acknowledge the sources of your information.

The results section presents the outcomes and the findings of your research study. It should be clear, concise, and focused on the data collected during your study.

Steps to compose the results section:

  • Summarize the data collected during your research.
  • Use tables, charts, or graphs to visually represent your findings.
  • Describe any patterns, trends, or relationships observed in the data.
  • Ensure that your results are relevant to your research question.
  • Avoid repetition of any information. 

The  discussion section  interprets the results of your term paper and explains their implications. It should also address any limitations of your research and suggest areas for future study.

Steps to compose the discussion section:

  • Interpret your results and explain their significance.
  • Discuss any limitations or weaknesses in your research.
  • Compare your findings to previous studies and explain any differences.
  • Suggest areas for future research based on your findings.

The  conclusion  brings your term paper to a close by summarizing the main points. This final section of your paper also restates the significance of your research.

Steps to compose a conclusion:

  • Restate your research question and summarize the main points of your paper.
  • Emphasize the significance of your research and its contribution to the field.
  • Offer recommendations or suggestions for future research.
  • End with a strong closing statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

By following this comprehensive guide, you can write a well-structured and impactful term paper that demonstrates your understanding of the subject and contributes valuable insights to the field.

How to Write a Term Paper Proposal: A Tutorial

A term paper proposal serves as a blueprint for your research. It helps in organizing your thoughts and ideas. Lets focus on the essential features of a term paper proposal and understand steps on how to compose each part.

Essential Features of a Term Paper Proposal

Relevance and importance.

The title of your term paper proposal should attract your readers and provide them with a clear idea of your work. It should be clear, concise, and accurately reflect the subject of your research.

Steps to compose a title:

  • Identify the main topic or theme of your research.
  • Choose relevant keywords that represent the key concepts of your research.
  • Combine these keywords to create a clear and informative title.
  • Ensure that your  title  is not too long or overly complex.
  • Consider your audience’s ability to understand your title.

The objectives section outlines the specific goals of your research. These goals should be clear, measurable, and achievable within the scope of your term paper.

Steps to compose objectives:

  • Begin by stating the general purpose of your research.
  • Break down this purpose into specific, measurable objectives.
  • Ensure that your objectives are achievable within the timeframe and resources available for your term paper.
  • Keep your objectives focused and relevant to your research question.

The relevance and importance section demonstrates the significance of your research within the context of your field of study. It should explain why your research is necessary and how it contributes to the existing body of knowledge.

Steps to compose the relevance and importance section:

  • Explain the context of your research by providing background information on the topic.
  • Identify gaps or limitations in the existing literature that your research aims to address.
  • Explain how your research contributes to the field by offering new insights or perspectives.
  • Emphasize the potential impact of your research on the broader academic community or society as a whole.

Putting It All Together: Writing a Term Paper Proposal

Now that you clearly understand the essential features of a term paper  proposal , it’s time to put it all together. Follow these steps to create a well-structured and compelling proposal:

  • Begin by writing a clear and concise title that accurately reflects the subject of your research.
  • Compose a brief introduction that overviews your research topic and its significance. This introduction should also include a clear statement of your research question.
  • Outline the specific objectives of your research, ensuring that they are clear, measurable, and achievable within the scope of your term paper.
  • Explain the relevance and importance of your research by demonstrating its significance within your field of study. Highlight the gaps or limitations in the existing literature that your research aims to address.
  • Provide a brief overview of your research methodology, including the methods you plan to use for data collection and analysis.
  • Include a tentative timeline for your research, outlining the milestones and deadlines for each project stage.
  • Conclude your proposal with a summary of the main points and a restatement of the significance of your research.

By following these comprehensive steps, you can create a well-structured and persuasive term paper proposal that demonstrates the importance of your research and sets the stage for a successful term paper.

How to Write a Term Paper: Formatting

A term paper format refers to the set of rules and standards that dictate the structure and presentation of a term paper. Formatting is essential to learn how to write a term paper as it ensures consistency, enhances readability, and maintains a professional appearance. 

A proper structure allows readers to concentrate on the content rather than the presentation. Several formatting styles are used in term papers, with the American Psychological Association (APA) style and the Modern Language Association (MLA) style being the most common.

Using APA Style in a Term Paper:

  • Choose a standard font, such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 12-point Times New Roman.
  • Apply double-spacing throughout the paper, including the abstract, main text, quotes, tables, figures, and references.
  • Create a title page containing the paper’s title, author’s name, affiliated institution, and a running head.
  • Organize the content using headings that adhere to  APA guidelines for different heading levels.
  • Incorporate the author-date citation method for in-text citations and format the reference list according to APA guidelines.

Using MLA Style in a Term Paper:

  • Opt for a standard font, such as 12-point Times New Roman.
  • Double-space the entire paper, including the main text, quotes, and the Works Cited page.
  • Include a header with the last name of the author and page number on the top right corner of all pages.
  • Use parenthetical citations within the text and format according to  MLA guidelines .
  • Follow MLA guidelines for formatting headings and subheadings, if applicable.

Adhering to the appropriate style guide when formatting term papers is crucial for maintaining academic integrity and ensuring that your work is easily comprehended and properly cited.

Choosing the Perfect Term Paper Topics

Writing a term paper can be a daunting task, but choosing the right term paper topics can make all the difference. In this part, we will provide you with some useful tips and tricks to make the process as smooth as possible.

The Starting Point

In most cases, students are assigned term papers by their professors. These topics are related to course outline to assess pupil’s understanding of the course material. As well as their ability to think critically and conduct research on a specific subject. 

Other times, teachers provide students a chance to choose a topic of their liking. But before you go on and pick a topic for your term paper, put the following concerns at the forefront. 

  • The course objective 
  • Your own interest. 

The Course Objective

Your term paper is essentially assigned to assess your command on the subject. Prioritize your course outline or objective before picking your  research paper topics . This will ensure that your paper is relevant and reflects what you have learnt so far about the subject. 

Your Interests

Your personal interests play a significant role in the success of your term paper. When you choose a topic that genuinely interests you, you are more likely to engage in  writing a research paper . This enthusiasm will not only make the writing process more enjoyable but also result in a higher quality term paper. 

Before picking a specific topic, make sure to conduct thorough research and align your personal liking to your course objective. The following tips on how to pick the perfect term paper topic will assist you in acing your grade.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Term Paper Topic

While picking a topic for yourself, be mindful of certain things:

Adjusting Topic Length

Consider if the topic would adjust your required length for a term paper. Suppose you’re to write a  10-page research paper , what kind of topic would adjust within those 10 pages? Registering the narrowness or broadness of the topic can help.

Authentic Resources

The second thing you need to consider is the resources of your information. Check if the source you’re working with is authentic. Reliable  sources for a research paper  include academic journals, books, think tanks, and reputable websites.

Complexity of the Subject

To ensure the clarity of your topic, consider its complexity. It is important that the chosen subject can be effectively presented to your audience. Additionally, ensure that you have a solid understanding of the subject matter yourself.

By considering the length, resources, and complexity of your chosen topic, you can ensure that your term paper is engaging, informative, and well-researched. So, take the time to select the perfect topic and get ready to ace your term paper!

How to Write a Term Paper: A Template With Example

This template also contains examples that are highlighted in a different color. 

Title Page 

[Department Name]

[Course Code and Title]

[[Term Paper Title]
[Student Name]

[Student ID]

[Professor’s Name]

[Submission Date]


  • Remember to never exceed the abstract more than 250 words.

1.1 Background

1.2 problem statement, 1.3 objectives, 2. literature review, 3. methodology, 5. discussion, 6. conclusion, 7. references.

  • The references section uses the appropriate citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).

8. Appendices

  • If necessary, this section includes additional material such as raw data, survey questionnaires, interview transcripts, or any other supplementary information that supports the research.

This guide on how to write a term paper must have been helpful to you. But we understand that wrapping your head around something so detailed can be difficult when you’re stressed out. And most students are stressed out by the end of the semester due to multiple deadlines.  That’s why we have brought you our  term paper writing service  so you can relax and focus more on your upcoming exams. Our experts are dedicated to helping students excel academically with quality content and on-time submission. Check us out today and bid goodbye to academic worries!

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A Quick-Start Guide on How to Write a Term Paper

[Post information was updated in April, 2024]

Writing a term paper may be a hard task. We don’t want to sugarcoat it. Creating term papers and other academic papers can be frustrating, and cause worries who can write my term paper . There is a learning curve and you may not be pleased with your first paper.

In the article below you will find recommendations and detailed tips on how to write a term paper. In addition, you will find out what term paper format looks like, and an excerpt of a written term paper sample.

What is a term paper

A term paper is an academic paper that can take the form of a report or research paper. Typically it is assigned at school, college, and university at the end of the term. The term paper has a great value in the final score for the subject.

what is a term paper

Every course typically has various requirements for writing a term paper. In the following guide we offer a standard approach and elements to writing a term paper.

Typical term paper format

Before we get too deep into how to start a term paper and how to find the best topic for it, here is the typical format of term paper.

Structure matters. All well-written academic papers have a clear structure, as it helps the reader easily absorb information from the text. Also, a good structure will help you not to get lost in the variety of information and write a concise paper. Let’s look at the format below.

Title page. This page usually contains the title, name of the student, course and code, instructor’s name, and the date. Abstract (optional). The abstract is a short summary of the main ideas, theoretical approaches, and findings you are going to highlight in the paper. Table of contents. This section is needed for easy navigation between the paper sections. Generally includes headings of every section and page numbers. Introduction. This is the opening paragraph that tells the reader basic information about the paper. Main sections. This part of the paper may consist of several sections, as the topics of term papers are diverse. The parts should follow each other in a logical framework. Conclusion. The conclusion is the last part that ties the paper up in a logical ending. Here the author needs to restate the main findings and indicate the importance of these findings to the current circumstance. References. All sources that were used and cited in the paper should be listed in the reference list in alphabetical order. Appendix (optional). The purpose of the appendix is to provide information that would be distracting in the body of the paper. Typically authors place in the appendix large tables, questionnaires, images, and other documentation and materials.

Also, you can add a list of figures, tables, or abbreviations if needed. Some term papers have a lot of information that can’t be placed in the text, so it can be attached after the references.

Term paper structure

term paper structure

This example hits all the right paragraphs to create a well-structured term paper. Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s up to you to determine the best way to write the term paper.

Before writing a term paper

If you want to make something great, you need to prepare greatly. As the term paper is usually a longer paper than essays, you will need to make a more detailed plan before writing it.

Carefully read the assignment. To realize what the instructor wants to see from a term paper, just read the instructions attentively, like each essay writer does before writing a paper.

  • Highlight the keywords. You should have already faced such assignments that begin with: analyze, comment, compare, describe, discuss, etc.
  • Rewrite the requirements. It may happen that you will skip an important point when briefly skimming over the instructions. Rewrite the assignment directions in your own words and try to keep the same meaning. You can also print the requirements and place them before your eyes.
  • Point out questions that should be addressed in the paper. On the basis of your assignment you can make a list of questions that should be addressed in the paper.

Conduct research. The research should be aimed at finding a distinct amount of information for the chosen topic. During this stage you need to use these skills: active reading, effective note-taking, and critical thinking.

  • Find out and analyze the existing information related to the topic. While reading, always keep in mind the sole question. Consider the author’s main point and how he or she supports that point. Decide what sources you can use as a basis for your paper.
  • Make notes as you read and mark the most significant information and quotes that you can use in your paper. Don’t forget to mention where you have found the information.
  • Use mind-mapping, charts, diagrams, and clustering to get more ideas about the topic and gather the main points in one place.

Make an outline. On the basis of the obtained information, you can create a plan. As you can see in our “Term Paper Format” section, you can give titles to each section of your future paper. Also, we recommend you to add topic sentences to each section – this will ease the writing process.

Create a calendar. Divide the paper writing process into several steps and list them in your calendar. Term papers take more than one night to write, so make sure that you have planned enough time for it. You can make a hard copy of the timetable or save it on your computer.

How to pick sources for a term paper

Every builder knows that the foundation is the core part of the building. Without a strong foundation, the building may quickly fall to ruin. The same refers to academic writing. Without reliable sources and information, you will construct a poor paper, and will look for someone to write a term paper for cheap .

On the internet and at the library you may find tons of information related to your topic. How can you pick a reliable source? Imagine that you are Sherlock Holmes and you need to find the truth hidden in the text. You don’t need superpowers to learn how to do it.

Use your critical thinking skills while looking through each source. Let’s see what you need to pay attention to:

  • Design and layout. Check whether the source looks professional.
  • Date. Define whether the information is relevant.
  • Author. It should be easy to find the author of the source. Think on what you know about the authors and their credentials.
  • Objectivity. It should be clearly seen that the source was created for an educational or professional purpose. If you notice that the source tries to sell something, skip it.
  • Writing style. If you have noticed grammar mistakes or typos, there is a high probability that the source is unreliable.
  • Amount and quality of information. Look how much information is presented in the source and whether it contains graphic information, numbers, a reference list, etc. Broken links and the absence of external links may indicate a poor source.
  • Suitability for your topic. Think about whether the source meets the limitations of your topic.
  • Reputation. Check whether the source is non-biased. Use a fact-checking website that uses only authoritative sources.

Tip: Reading general texts from the journals and articles can help you clarify your thoughts at the beginning of your research and deciding what point you can consider on your paper.

Tip: Most search engines use the data from your web browser to sort information according to your preferences. It is also known as a “filter bubble.” Delete your browser history and cookies, and tune into the incognito mode to get another list of search results.

When you obtain a certain amount of information, you can create an extended outline. What does it mean? Take your old outline and add any new points that you have found in the sources. Think in what section you can incorporate new facts, examples, quotes, or expert opinions.

Writing the first draft of a term paper

There are many approaches to writing a term paper. The key to success is simple: be prepared before you start. Have a clear purpose, a thesis statement, enough background information, and a clear plan. If you can’t choose a good topic, use our college essay title generator to have more ideas for writing.

1. Write the abstract.

This first section should focus on what your research is about. But the best decision will be writing it after all subsequent sections. Mention major findings in your research so even a person unfamiliar with the topic can read and understand it. Keep it simple and informative.

A good abstract should consist of the following sections:

  • Intro. State the issue you are addressing in your paper. Explain why the chosen topic is important. What practical, scientific, or theoretic purpose does your research have?
  • Body. Highlight the major points of the research and what investigating strategy you have chosen. Describe the nature of the results.
  • Conclusion. Explain how the results can be implicated.

To write an abstract, you need to reread your paper and underline the key statements related to research objectives, methods, results, and conclusions. Copy these sentences and you will receive the first draft of the abstract.

Tip: The abstract should be limited to 120-250 words (depending on assignment instructions).

What is the difference between the introduction and abstract? An abstract presents the essence of the paper: it lists the main points of the paper, including results and conclusions. The introduction provides background information on the topic, gives the proposition (or thesis statement), and outlines key issues that will be discussed in the paper.

2. Write the introduction.

Strong introductions can make it harder to put the paper down. Think about how you can “sell” your paper to the reader. What is the main point of your term paper?

  • Grab attention. A good introduction starts with an interesting fact, surprising statement, contradiction, or a statement that points out the importance of the topic.
  • Provide an overview. The introduction should provide a brief description of the issue and state the goal of the paper. Also, it is important to mention how this specific topic meets a broader context.
  • Write the thesis statement. Tell the reader what you are arguing or what question you are addressing in your paper. Don’t announce your intentions.

The introduction should contain only general information about the paper. Its aim is to give an overview of the term paper. Examples, quotations, and excess details are not accepted.

Tip: Don’t be boring or too general. Immediately dive into the essence of the topic and draw the reader’s attention deeper into the paper.

3. Write the body sections: generating ideas and text.

Once you have received certain research results and notes, take a look at what you’ve found. Record the outcomes of your research and cut unnecessary materials.

One of the best ways to start writing body sections is drafting topic sentences referring to the outline. Write complete sentences on its basis and add supporting details.

The number of paragraphs will depend on the topic and assignment instructions. Frequently, a term paper body section consists of a literature review and the research itself.

Tip: Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence. It should be a very clear introduction of the paragraph’s main idea.

How can you write a literary review? Present the analysis of the literature you have found on the topic. You need to present what materials you have found and how you have connected this information to the context of your research. Summarize the arguments and theories of various authors you agree with. Also, you need to highlight what points were absent or not considered in the author’s research.

Here are general recommendations while writing the body sections:

  • The text should be well-structured and divided into sections or subsections. Each chapter should have a title and refer to one particular idea or main point.
  • Develop arguments gradually. All your ideas should move from the general to specific.
  • A good academic text needs evidence. All quotations, ideas, and data should be referenced according to the required formatting style.
  • Prioritize the following points depending on your assignment instructions and objectives: analysis of primary and secondary sources, current issues and state of research, and personal point of view.
  • Avoid simple summaries of existing information. Incorporate citations to prove your own point of view on the topic.
  • Don’t rely on the sources only. It is your paper and it should contain your original idea about the topic. Keep the balance between the source material and your own ideas.
  • Avoid writing lengthy body paragraphs. If you want to put a great amount of information into the paragraph, it would be better to divide it into subsections.

4. Write the conclusion.

When you finish writing the main part of the term paper, it’s time to summarize what information you have received and discuss the further implication of your research. Consider the following points in your conclusion:

  • Refresh the points that you have already highlighted in the body paragraph and restate the thesis statement.

Note: Don’t present any new information in this paragraph.

  • Describe the final results of your research.
  • Explain the implication for future studies.

How can I evaluate my research results? What meaning does my research have? Does my topic intersect other topics or areas?

  • Write the concluding sentence.

For example: “Forgiveness therapy is a new approach in psychology and has much need for testing, but it is an important practice in the treatment of many psychological disorders.”

Revising and polishing the first draft

If you have succeeded in writing your first draft and have some time left, it’s time to proofread your text. Don’t neglect the possibility of reading the term paper once more. Many professors perceive misspellings, as well as punctuation and grammar errors as a personal insult. These mistakes may draw more attention than your original ideas and significant results. So, how can you make your text look better?

First, you need to read your first draft and think about how you can make your paper cleaner or more convincing. Look at the ideas that don’t fit the context and remove or modify them. Then, look at what points need more detailed support. And finally, add transitional phrases or words to connect ideas. If you can’t cope with all these steps on your own, use EssayShark essay rephraser to save your nerves.

Second, when the content is logical and well-structured, it’s time to check for errors. Correct all grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.

Last, check whether your paper has the right format and layout. Make sure that pages are numbered correctly. Images, tables, diagrams, and other visual materials also should be numbered and titled appropriately. So, check the same things you check when you finish write my essay process.

How to write a term paper in 7 steps – infographic

term paper writing steps

How to write a term paper in 4 hours: video guide

Mistakes to avoid in term paper writing

  • Using unreliable sources. This means that all sources you have based your work on should be professional. Use newsprint, magazines, statistical data, and publications.
  • Plagiarism. Whenever you are reusing someone’s ideas or incorporating expressions from other sources as your own thoughts, this is considered plagiarism. Pay attention to correct citation style and document outside sources.
  • Not supporting your statements. Always back up your point of view with references or your own findings.
  • Using nested sentences, repetitions, and passive voice. The text should be objective, clear, and correct.
  • Choosing a topic too broad. As a result, it will be hard to meet the word limit and highlight the topic in the right way. Also, you will face the problem of having excessive amounts of information on the topic. A good term paper requires a narrow topic.
  • Failing to proofread the paper. Even editing the text once may not be enough. Don’t rely on the computer’s spell check. Ask a friend or someone else to read your paper.

How to find excellent term paper topics

Paper instructions that you receive from a teacher typically provide a list of term paper topics to choose from. Luckily, sometimes students are given the freedom of choice.

First, you can start with a fairly broad idea of the area you want to research, such as “body image.” As you can see, the topic is too general and if you start googling about this topic over the internet you will get a great amount of information. You can narrow it down considering other areas:

   in terms of illustrations, advertising trends
   in terms of government regulation
   in terms of impact on health, eating habits
 in terms of cultural values, shopping behavior
 in terms of eating habits, mental disorders, behavior

Narrowing down the topic will make your research more manageable. You can add more limitations to your research:

   Consider historic trends or analyze the current state of affairs
   Conducting research within a particular discipline
   Choose a particular country, a region, or make it worldwide
   Consider all genders, or only males or females
   Choose particular age groups (e.g. toddlers, children, adolescents, adults) or in general
 Only recent journal publications or overview of all existing relevant sources

Sometimes it’s difficult to pick a topic on your own, as there are so many interesting topics to write about! We are happy to propose you a list of interesting term paper topics that you can reuse for your own paper.

  • Analyze the influence of the shadow economy on the productivity of a country (your choice) from a macroeconomic perspective.
  • What is the meaning of inflation/deflation/hyperinflation? Explain the causes and consequences. Support your claims with evidence.
  • Define the meaning of middle class. What is the economic meaning of the middle class?

Legal Issues

  • Discuss the approaches to providing censorship in social media and over the internet.
  • Compare government regulation for physical desecration of national symbols in various countries.
  • Discuss the meaning of mental disorder defense. What are the peculiarities?
  • Is it the right idea to hide the truth from a dying patient in palliative care?
  • Find out the reasons, consequences, and legal regulations of organ donation.
  • Is it ethically right to test new drugs on dying patients?
  • Should parents determine what the school should learn?
  • Should the discipline in the school be more strict?
  • Discuss streamlining in the context of the educational system of a particular country.

Tip: On our blog you can find more information on how to choose topics for term paper writing and get inspired with a list of term paper topics on technology, economics, political science, sports, media and culture, and health.

Term paper topic ideas

ideas for term paper topics

Term paper sample about healthy lifestyle promotion

In the text below you can see a portion of a term paper written by our college essay writer . It should help you understand the theoretical approaches that we have written above. Also check the comments below.

Title: The Promotion of a Healthy Lifestyle Through Social Media

This paper discusses the growing popularity of healthy lifestyles in social media. It looks into the methods of health promotion through evolving technologies. The research was built on questionnaires and existing information on the issue. The paper presents a plan for actions aimed to keep the topics about health popular over social media. (…)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Overview of Social Media 3. Plan of Action 4. Conclusion 5. References


Social networks are some of the most popular websites over the internet. Social media use has been increasing in health promotion because it removes geographic and physical barriers. However, social media still has the potential to increase the influence of healthy lifestyles. (…)

Overview of Social Media

According to articles published in NBC Statistics, the most popular social media sites estimate more than a billion visits every day. The statistics show that more than 77 percent of people in the US have a social media profile. The majority of Americans use Facebook and Youtube on a daily basis.(…)

One of the researches has measured the change in knowledge, attitudes, behavior, eating habits, weight, energy and fat intake, self-efficacy, and sharing in social media (Hoshi, 2017). The amount of information, even in small doses, has an influence on promotion of healthy habits.

Welch et al. (2016) studied the effectiveness of health promotion campaigns in social media as Facebook, Twitter, and video sharing like YouTube. The research has shown the increased effectiveness of social media interventions in improving healthy habits among youth and older adults. (…)

Plan of Action

Social media campaigns should relate to the specific topic and plan ahead. To construct an effective campaign, we should collect the relevant information, pictures, videos, and texts.

Facebook activities. This social media platform has a wide list of events that can be used for promotion.

  • Wellness events
  • Health volunteers
  • Sharing healthy recipes
  • Tips for improving health habits
  • Healthy competitions and challenges (…)

A healthy lifestyle is one of the main things that every person should apply in everyday life. To help the person make the right choice, government and organizations should spread the information about tools and advice to promote a healthy lifestyle. (…)

Hoshi, T. (2017). SES, Dietary and Lifestyle Habits, Three Health-Related Dimensions, and Healthy Survival Days. International Perspectives on Aging the Structure of Healthy Life Determinants , 121-141.

Smith, A., & Anderson, M. (2018, September 19). Social Media Use 2018: Demographics and Statistics. Pew Research Center . Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/

Welch, V., Petkovic, J., Pardo, J. P., Rader, T., & Tugwell, P. (2016). Interactive social media interventions to promote health equity: An overview of reviews. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada: Research, Policy and Practice , 36(4), 63–75.

FAQ about term paper writing

1. what is the format of a term paper.

Speaking about the format standard for a term paper, we need to mention MLA, APA, and Chicago/Turabian as the most common format types.

In addition, students may create a specific format of term paper when it comes to its structure. The format will include several obligated elements such as title page, abstract, introduction, conclusion, and references.

2. How many pages should a good term paper be?

The standard term paper must contain at least 10-12 double-spaced pages. Term papers of 15-20 pages are also appropriate, but you must consider the quality of the content. It is always better to make the paper shorter but informative than make it longer with bland, repeated statements.

3. What is the difference between a term paper and a research paper?

The core difference between a term paper and a research paper is in the approach to sourcing. A research paper assumes a deeper investigation of a topic and analysis. When it comes to structuring, there are specific differences as well. A term paper consists of such core elements as an introduction, the main body, a conclusion, and a bibliography. A search paper includes methods, results, discussion, and other aspects of a deep analytical paper.

4. Want is the fastest way to write a term paper?

If you have a strict and short deadline, you must act quickly, skipping the outlining stage. Start with a brief brainstorm. Afterward, you will require providing research on a chosen topic. You will then have to draft a paper and quickly polish it. If you have some minutes left, read your paper to edit it or skip the proofreading stage.

5. How many citations are considered suitable for a term paper?

It depends on the discipline and the topic involved; skilled authors suggest supplementing a term paper with at least five citations, with a maximum of ten.

Term paper writing help from industry experts

Want more term paper examples? Check out our EssayShark blog. If you compare our examples, you will see that they all share three qualities: they are interesting to read, they have good grammar and style, and contain in-text references to reliable sources.

We know how writing a term paper can be a struggle. A lack of time, missed deadlines, a sudden flu, tons of homework, and other troubles may spoil even the most accurate writing plan. There is no need to get discouraged while you have a trusted term paper writing service at hand.

Even if you have never tried such services, you need to know that it’s the ultimate solution for students who need urgent help with their assignments. EssayShark experts can help you with term papers for any course, discipline, and school. Also, our experts can help you pick the right topic for the term paper, write missing paragraphs for existing parts of the paper, and edit your first draft.

Get a unique and polished term paper help before the deadline and live your life to the fullest!

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893 Term Paper examples are found

5 Ways Intersectionality Affects Diversity and Inclusion at Work, Term Paper Example

I have always been interested in politics and how the government functions as a young man. I now have a plethora of information and understanding about the political system in [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1355

Combating Climate Change Successfully Through COP26 Glasgow 2021, Term Paper Example

The 26th conference of the parties COP26 held in Glasgow in 2021 was a significant moment in global politics to pursue the participation of various countries in addressing the climate [...]

Pages: 9

Words: 2580

Telehealth, Term Paper Example

Telehealth technology has been increasingly used as a means of providing healthcare services to patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of telehealth technology raises ethical, legal, and safety [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 848

Impact of Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo Social Ordering on Mexican-American Culture in California, Term Paper Example

Since California has been ruled by the Spanish, the Mexicans, and the English, the culture of Mexican Americans in the state has evolved at various times. A considerable portion of [...]

Pages: 7

Words: 1809

Empowerment and Social Change, Term Paper Example

The films Calendar Girls (2022) and Raise the Bar (2021) explore empowerment and social change themes. Both films revolve around female protagonists who challenge stereotypes and cultural norms to pursue [...]

Pages: 2

Words: 642

Directed Energy Ethics, Term Paper Example

Introduction The use of directed energy weapons is controversial, with many arguing for and against them. Directed energy weapons are a type of weapon that uses energy to control or [...]

Pages: 18

Words: 4973

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sample term papers

Writing Well: Sample Term Papers

  • Sample Term Papers

Writing Well

  • Term Paper #2
  • Term Paper #3

Term Paper #1

Felix Mendelssohn

by Charles Rozakis

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was born on February 3, 1809, to Abraham and Lea Mendelssohn in Hamburg, Germany (Oxford Companion 1162). He was the second of four children, but he was closer to his older sister Fanny than any of his other siblings. The two of them studied music and played together for many years, and Fanny also composed. Several of the Songs Without Words were her works, published under Felix's name because of the family's feeling that it was unbecoming for a woman to engage in public life (Harris 1368).

The family moved to Berlin in 1812, where Felix, at the age of four, began to receive regular piano lessons from his mother. In 1816, Abraham Mendelssohn went to Paris on business and brought his family with him. Throughout their stay, Felix and Fanny had piano lessons with Madame Marie Bigot, who was highly esteemed by both Haydn and Beethoven ( Grove Dictionary 135). When they returned to Berlin, Abraham put into effect a systematic plan of education for his children.

Under this plan, Karl Wilhelm Ludwig Heyse (father of poet and short story writer Paul Heyse) taught the children general subjects and classical languages; Johann Gottlob Samuel Rosel taught drawing; Ludwig Berger taught piano; Carl Wilhelm Henning taught violin; and Carl Zelter gave lessons in musical theory and composition. The children were up at 5 A.M. and began their lessons right after breakfast. Abraham Mendelssohn never considered his children too old for his discipline and correction, and Felix could not consider himself his own master until he was twenty-five years old (Harris 1368).

Felix made his first public appearance as a pianist at the age of nine. He debuted with a Concert militaire by F. X. Dusek and was met with great success ( Grove Dictionary 135). On April 11, 1819, he entered the Singakademie as an alto, and on September 10 of that year they performed his setting of the Nineteenth Psalm. He remained a member for many years, even after he became a tenor at age sixteen (Harris 1368).

On March 7, 1820, Felix's piano piece Recitativo was published. It is his oldest surviving work. From then until he was thirteen, Felix entered a phase of composing in which he mastered counterpoint and classical forms of music, especially in sonata form ( Grove Dictionary 135-136).

In November of 1821, Zelter took Felix to Weimar to meet his friend Goethe. Between 1821 and 1830, Felix visited Goethe five more times. During one of these visits, Felix wrote home: “Every afternoon Goethe opens the piano with these words, ‘I have not heard you at all today, so you must make a little noise for me.'” Goethe's philosophical emphasis on the dynamic and productive aspects of art provided an enriching experience for Felix, while Felix increased Goethe's understanding of the music of the Classical period (Harris 1369).

In 1824, Ignaz Moscheles, one of the greatest pianists of his time, visited Berlin and formed a lifelong friendship with Felix. He gave piano lessons to Fanny and Felix during his stay, but he wrote that he never lost sight of the fact he was sitting beside a master, not a pupil. Abraham, not certain that a musical career was right for Felix, took him to Paris in March of 1825 to consult the great Cherubini, who was then the director of the Paris Conservatoire. Cherubini was so taken with the boy that not only did he approve of a career in music, he offered to undertake the boy's further training. Abraham, however, thought the home atmosphere was better suited, and so declined the offer (Harris 1369).

Felix composed the overture to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream when he was only seventeen years old. From then on, he was composing constantly. He studied at the University of Berlin in 1826 after attending for three years. He did not earn a degree, but he received a far better general education than most musical composers of his time. It was only in 1829 that he definitely decided upon music as a profession ( Grove Dictionary 137-139).

Starting in April of that year, Felix went on a three-year tour planned by his father. First he went to England, where he was greeted whole-heartedly, then to South Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, then back to London, and finally back home (Harris 1369). He conducted a number of concerts and was the city music director for Dsseldorf for three years ( Grove Dictionary 138).

In 1834 he was elected a member of the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts. He became conductor of the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig in June of 1835, and in 1836 he received an honorary Ph.D. from the University. That summer, he met Cecile Charlotte Sophie Jeanrenaud. They were engaged in September and married on March 28, 1837 (Harris 1370-1371).

In 1841, King Frederick William IV invited Felix back to Berlin to become director of a proposed music department of the Academy of Arts. When he finally accepted, he found the attitude of the Court, the musicians, and even the public was nothing less than openly hostile. By command of the king he began a series of concerts in Berlin in January of 1842, but by October he wished to resign. He did remain, at the king's request, long enough to organize music at the cathedral. For this, he received the title of Royal General Music Director, but he then moved back to Leipzig (Harris 1371).

After another five years of conducting and composing, he resigned the Gewandhaus Orchestra due to overwork and extreme fatigue. He retired to Frankfort to rest, but received his death blow when he heard of his sister Fanny's death. He returned to Leipzig with his family in September and died on November 4, 1847 (Harris 1372).

Behind every great man … lies many influential people. Many different events and people lead to the man Mendelssohn became and the music he wrote. Of these, the most important musical influences were Carl Zelter and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758-1832), a German composer and conductor, was one of Mendelssohn's first teachers. He began Mendelssohn's instruction in music theory and composition in 1819 ( Encyclopedia Britannica vol. X: 871). Of the thirteen early symphonies Mendelssohn wrote for string orchestra, the first ten were composed as exercises for Zelter.

Zelter introduced Mendelssohn to Goethe in November of 1821. Zelter's friendship with Goethe had begun in 1796 when Zelter published his first collection of lieder. This collection included settings of poems by Goethe, and Goethe wrote Zelter to tell him he was pleased with the settings. After the suicide of Zelter's stepson, Goethe's letter of condolence showed the depth of his feelings in the use of the pronoun “du.” This established their close relations for the rest of their lives, and inspired Zelter's continued work on the lied ( Grove Dictionary 663-664). Given Zelter's close relationship with Mendelssohn, it was inevitable that the young composer would also be inspired by Goethe. Mendelssohn's Die erste Walpurgisnacht , one of his greatest cantatas, was based on Goethe's Faust, and on Goethe's personal interpretation of the scene ( Grove Dictionary 146). Mendelssohn's friendship with the poet lasted for a great many years, up until Goethe's death in 1832.

Mendelssohn's cantatas also show Bach's influence. While some critics comment that the settings Mendelssohn wrote of the psalms for liturgical use show a decline in musical quality from his highly dramatic work, they do recall the form and structure of Bach's cantatas ( Grove Dictionary 146).

In 1784, When Zelter became interested in serious composing, he went to Carl Fasch, a leading musician, who accepted him as a pupil. Zelter joined Fasch's Singakademie in 1791. After Fasch's death in 1800, Zelter took over the Singakademie. Zelter also continued Fasch's practice of having the Singakademie perform works by J.S. Bach ( Grove Dictionary 663-664).

Bach was Mendelssohn's idol. As a boy, Mendelssohn copied out Bach's music, and his early compositions were greatly influenced by it ( Grove Dictionary 143). Zelter was quite zealous in his training of strict contrapuntal style. Also, many of Mendelssohn's works follow the contrapuntal style, in particular the fugal technique, of Bach ( Grove Dictionary 663-664). After all, Bach was, for a time, known as the supreme master of counterpoint ( Funk & Wagnalls vol. 3: 180-181).

Mendelssohn's first six string symphonies, the work of a very talented twelve-year-old, clearly show the influence of the Viennese Classical style. Of these, the first movements of the third and fourth bear the contrapuntal imprint of Bach and Handel. The influences of Bach and Handel, and the Viennese Classics, are even more clear in Mendelssohn's later string symphonies. The first movement of the seventh contains a great deal of emphasis on counterpoint, as does the introduction to the eighth. Also, the second theme of the eighth is constructed within the limitations of a fugue subject ( Grove Dictionary 146-147).

This all comes together in Mendelssohn's twelfth early string symphony. Here, he used a complex, chromatically descending fugue subject. This works to develop his symphonic form from Bach's contrapuntal influence to his own, personal mode of expression (Grove Dictionary 147).

Further, Mendelssohn's early concertos of 1822-1823 are, like most of the string symphonies, similar to the Viennese Classical models. The form, structure, and even thematic material resemble these models quite closely. However, Mendelssohn's two double piano concertos (1823-1824) show his work matured very quickly from this theme ( Grove Dictionary 149-150).

After Mendelssohn joined the Singakademie in April of 1819, he often performed small pieces of Bach's works. Zelter discovered an almost forgotten manuscript copy of Bach's St. Matthew Passion and Mendelssohn and his peers soon came into possession of the piece ( Encyclopedia Britannica vol. X: 871). Soon after, Mendelssohn and Eduard Devrient, a fellow member of the Singakademie, proposed a performance of the piece on the 100th anniversary of its first performance. In their plan, Mendelssohn would conduct, and Devrient would sing the part of Christ. At first, Zelter thought that the public would not accept such an extended work by Bach because large-scale works were considered impossible to perform at the time. St. Matthew Passion was performed, however, on March 11, 1829 (Harris 1369-1370). The performance was a great success and in years to come, St. Matthew Passion became, according to Wohlfarth, “the universal possession of humankind” (96).

This also led to a great revival of Bach's music, which was one the greatest achievements in musical history. This event ushered in the modern cultivation of Bach and its success further inspired Mendelssohn to use Bach's work as a model for his own.

Without Bach's work as his model, or Zelter to teach him the basics of it, Mendelssohn's music would have been radically different from what we know today. But then again, without Mendelssohn, Zelter's role in history would have been much smaller, and Bach's greater works may have been lost to time. So, in effect, this relationship was beneficial to all of them, not just Mendelssohn himself.

Felix Mendelssohn is classified as a Romantic composer, but this classification only fits his works somewhat. While Mendelssohn's Romantic influences and his own comments about his music would make him and Romantic, his affiliations with the eighteenth century, especially the music of Mozart, make him a neo-classicist more than anything else ( Grove Dictionary 143).

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica , the Romantic period in music took place from around 1800 to around 1910. It was “most markedly characterized by emphasis on the expression of individualized or subjective emotion, as well as by a sense of the transcendental, exotic, mythical, and supernatural” (vol. VIII: 655). In part, Mendelssohn is called a Romantic composer because he lived during this period.

In addition, some of his compositions also have some very strong literary influences. For example, the Grove Dictionary points out a definite connection between Mendelssohn's Octet and lines from the Walpurgisnacht scene in the first part of Goethe's Faust (143). Mendelssohn's work shows some even stronger Romantic influences. These other influences include Schlegel's Shakespeare translations, Goethe's other poetry, and, mostly in the Italian Symphony, art and nature. Also the lieder and choruses of the Italian Symphony show the influence of emotions from personal human relationships ( Grove Dictionary 143). Mendelssohn himself stated that the Elijah expressed his feelings of acquiescence and strong protest after his disappointments in Berlin. This is an “expression of individualized or subjective emotion” which is most definitely Romantic.

However, Mendelssohn's work also shows many Classical influences. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica , the Classical period in music took place from approximately 1750 to 1820. It was “full of changing emotions, fragmented, sighing phrases, and sudden changes of key and musical texture … [the] melodies were composed of small fragments, or motives, rather than spun out endlessly” (vol. II: 972). Mendelssohn's music fits well into a later version of this period because of its great influence on his work. For example, the classical emphasis on clarity and tradition are very strong in many of his compositions. Harris, in his entry in The International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians , commented that, “[The] range of feeling and expression [in Mendelssohn's music] is limited. It is filled with perfect order and neatness” (1372). As a youth, Mendelssohn was guided by classical and pre-classical techniques. He was especially fond of Bach's works, which he copied out as a boy. Mendelssohn's early work also demonstrates an intensive study of Handel's instrumental techniques. In the introductions of the string symphonies, he used typically Handelian rhythms and harmonic progressions ( Grove Dictionary 143).

Other Classical composers had an effect on Mendelssohn's music as well. Mendelssohn quoted Mozart's “Jupiter” Symphony in the ending of his Die bieden Padagogen . Beethoven's instrumental technique was a powerful influence on Mendelsssohn's works for a full symphony orchestra. And Mendelssohn's personal stylistic traits show a freer adaptation of many other classical forms ( Grove Dictionary 143-147).

So how can we classify Felix Mendelssohn's work? His style is somewhat Romantic, fairly neo-Classical, and wholly his own. Harris referred to him as a “Romantic Classicist” (1372). This melding of styles is what made his music what it is.

Works Cited

“Bach, Johann Sebastian.” Encyclopedia Britannica . vol I. 15 ed.

“Bach, Johann Sebastian.” Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia . vol 3. 1983 ed.

Barr, R. “Zelter, Carl Friedrich.” The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians . vol 20. Ed. Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 1980.“

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von.” Encyclopedia Britannica . vol IV. 15 ed.

Harris, G.W. “Felix Mendelssohn.” The International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians . Ed. Oscar Thompson. New York: Dodd, Mead Inc., 1985.

Kohler, Karl-Heinz. “Mendelssohn, Felix.” The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians . vol 12. Ed. Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 1980.

“Mendelssohn, Felix.” Encyclopedia Britannica . vol 11. 15 ed.

“Mendelssohn, Felix.” Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia . vol 3. 1983 ed.

Wohlfarth, Hannsdieter. Johann Sebastian Bach . Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984.

“Zelter, Carl Friedrich.” Encyclopedia Britannica . vol X. 15 ed.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well © 2000 by Laurie Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books , a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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