How to Write a Term Paper

How to Write a Term Paper

At the end of every semester, certain courses in college require the student to write what is called the “End of the Year Term Paper”. Though it may sound daunting, it is just a voluminous research paper that covers a topic learned throughout the semester within the course. However, this is no small task. Some instructors will request a term paper to be a few pages while others want a 20-page colossal piece of literature! Regardless, knowing how to write a term paper with all of its key ingredients is a sure-fire way to guarantee the best grade possible! Or, if you simply do not have time, ordering an essay from an essay writing service such as EssayHub can bring you great results for a fair price!

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What Is a Term Paper?

The term paper definition might sound confusing to newbie learners. But this particular type of assignment is not that scary as professors depict it. A term paper is a research assignment. It has an aim to ‘check’ the student’s knowledge gained throughout the term. In academic reality, the term paper meaning allows your professor to see whether you have mastered the class material. 

The majority of the academic courses are term-long. Hence, students often receive longer-than-a-month deadlines to submit their papers right at the end of an academic term.

Students from humanities, which focus mostly on theoretical thinking, are asked to write term papers more often. Yet, this fact does not define term paper as an assignment, which more practical faculties avoid. For instance, as an art student, one will have to write term papers on art history, just like all other students. Hence, knowing how to write a term paper turns into a necessity.

Term Paper Format

The first thing to know in term paper writing is the variety of term paper formats. Different disciplines have special requirements. Thus asking your professor about the paper specifics is a must when it comes to formatting. For instance, using pictures and diagrams or writing an abstract is a basic necessity in some term papers. Other term papers will ask you to use as few pictures as you can with no need to write a separate abstract.  

The main and most common elements of a college term paper format are as follows:

  • Title Page. Contains information on who wrote the paper, the name of the course, the date, and the name of the teacher. 
  • Abstract. A short summary of the paper. 
  • Literature Review. The analysis of the research that has been done by others.
  • Methodology. The discussion of methods and approaches used in the student’s research.
  • Results. The bulk of the term paper length, containing the discussion of the findings. 
  • Future Recommendations. Here, the researcher might give advice to those who decide to continue the study.
  • References List. Contains all the sources used in the research. The sources must be academically referenced and alphabetized.

Term Paper Topics

It is surprisingly common to feel the pool of your term paper ideas getting empty when the need to choose a topic for your term paper arises. Most professors will give you a list of possible topics to choose from. If this has not happened, check the following guidelines, which can alleviate the pain of selecting the perfect topic.

  • Originality. Your instructors are tired of reading the term papers on the same topics again and again. Add creativity to your topic, something that no one has written about or a topic that has not been properly studied yet. For instance, if you write about technology, one of the most popular topics for term papers, think of space technology and its importance. 
  • The course matters. If your course is about American politics, which makes it a narrow subject, do not write on Middle Eastern politics. Sure, you can suggest a comparative term paper on both. But check with your instructor first: better safe than sorry.
  • Make your paper interesting. The greatest chunk of term papers has been written by students who do not care about the subject much. Regardless of your attitude towards the discipline or the professor, make the topic as interesting as possible. For example, think about how your favorite podcast can deepen the topic and see what happens.

Term Paper Examples of Topics

  • Research and analyze Apple's successful marketing and customer satisfaction strategies. What specifically made them so effective? (Business and Marketing)
  • Gun violence in America is drastically higher than in any other First World nation. Why is this and what can be done to control this issue? (Sociology)
  • Schooling appears as a one-dimensional pathway to academic success. What can be done to level out the playing field for students who are more “street smart”? (Psychology)
  • The topic of legalizing marijuana has been a long and drawn out battle for many years. What are the pros and cons of legalization for medical and recreational use? What should the final verdict be? (Marijuana 101)

These are just some sample term paper ideas that University Students commonly encounter. Each course will have its list and direction of topics that will greatly vary from these!

Term Paper Outline

Structure and flow are two of the main aspects that make a term paper great. Regardless of the length, the term paper outline should follow a specific procedure; in other words, there should be an intriguing introduction, an informative body and an assertive conclusion.


The introduction should briefly introduce the subject at hand and its importance to society. It should NOT talk about specific details or facts that need to be proven by the thesis statement.
Afterward, you should begin scoping into the specific subject that will be discussed in the body paragraphs. Doing this narrows down the topic and thus gives the reader a clearer view of the content to come. The final sentence of the introduction, commonly referred to as the thesis statement, is the golden line of your entire essay you that you strive to defend. Usually, in term papers, this is an undiscovered point that needs validation via proof, otherwise known as research and analysis.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are commonly referred to as the “meat” of the essay, and this name has come along for a reason. This part of the essay is strictly used to prove your thesis statement. Putting it into a different context, the body paragraph is the lawyer that is defending the defendant (thesis statement), and he will use every resource in his arsenal to justify the defendant's case. The goal in writing a term paper is being the most effective lawyer you can be, using research and facts to strengthen your side of the argument.

Depending on the length of the assignment, the body could be anywhere between 1 and 100 pages; it all comes down to the depth of the thesis statement you have crafted. Also, the body is usually broken into sections as the thesis should be bulky enough so as to be logically approachable from various angles. Being able to give a solid and well-defended argument for each section is the ideal way to prove your thesis statement fully!


Lastly, having a coherent sounding is an awesome way to earn some style points. The better you can build off of previous points, the more constructed your argument is. Using good transition words can help you jump from one idea to the next while also keeping the essay flowing well. Just make sure not completely to flip the switch on the point you were making!

The conclusion should come after you as the essay helper have stated everything you wanted to say. You have approached the thesis from all the angles you needed to cover and provided an in-depth analysis that logically states why your thesis statement should be taken as fact. After that, there are only a few more steps necessary to tie a pretty knot around your work!

First of all, restate the thesis statement in an assertive and confident way. This shows the reader that you have full faith in your own words and that what you stated makes clear and logical sense! Next, summarize your main arguments in a couple of sentences. In other words, take each of your angles of attack and shorten them down to about a sentence each; this gives your reader a recap of what you proved throughout your essay. Finally, provide an overall concluding statement. This should be a sentence that states the significance of the point proven in your essay and what its effects are on society. In other words, take it from a theoretical setting and place it into a real world application. This gives your essay LIFE!

How to Write a Term Paper?

Ever wondered how to start a term paper and could not define the first step? You are definitely not alone in this challenge. Starting a term paper for the first time might sound terrifying and discouraging. Your frustration might even make you buy essay online, which is cool. But isn’t it cooler to learn how to write a term paper by yourself? 

  1. Brainstorming. This is the actual research when it comes to paper writing. Write down the first ideas which come into your mind or draw them. Pick the boldest yet most original ideas. Consult academic bases like Jstor for credible academic research. 
  2. Title page. A properly organized term paper title page includes the name of the author (student’s name), the teacher’s name, the date, the course, and the title. Depending on the paper’s format, which is usually MLA or APA, the organization of your information on the title page will differ.
  3. Outline. After writing a term paper proposal with the goals and objectives of the study, create an outline. It is a structure of your paper with the main elements like introduction, the main chapters, and conclusion. 
  4. Finally, the actual writing. Start with the Literature Review. It is the easiest part since you should summarize the findings of the studies. Put them in a bigger discussion by comparing the results in all sources. The next in the parts of a term paper is Methodology, a comparatively short section. Mention the methods and approaches used in the research.

Meanwhile, the Results section will take approximately half of the paper. In the quest on how to write term paper, focus on this section. The Results must contain your actual findings. Make sure they are well-organized and clear to the reader. Finish with Future Recommendations and References List. 

  1. Additional elements. In some cases, you will be required to add a separate term paper introduction and conclusion along with the abstract. Both Abstract and Introduction usually go before the Literature Review. Meanwhile, the conclusion part ends the paper and appears before the References List. Briefly introduce the reader to the topic in the Introduction and finish it with the thesis statement. Summarize the findings in the Conclusion part. 

Further, summarize the methods and results in the Abstract. Add keywords below it. In the term paper structure, these parts can change depending on how you arrange the information in the previous chapters. We highly recommend you to write both the Introduction and Conclusion as the last thing.

How to Format a Term Paper in APA Style?

As a rule of a thumb, students specializing in nursing and psychology are required to write academic term papers in APA format. To edit the term paper according to the APA format, follow the guidelines: 

  • The ‘Running Head’ and the paper’s title appear on the Title Page. Other pages should contain the only paper’s title in the Header. In all term paper samples, the paper’s title is in capitalized letters.
  • The in-text citations contain parentheses. Use them after closing the direct citation with inverted commas. Here, mention the author’s name, the publication year, and the page on which the information might be found. A proper in-text citation would look like (Brown, 1992, p.457).
  • An apa format term paper contains a References List (shortly References). Use the Citation Machine, an online application that will cite all necessary resources for you. 

How to Format a Term Paper in MLA Style?

This particular style is especially popular among students specializing in humanities and arts. Less cumbersome than the APA format, the MLA style has some rules to follow anyway.

  • No need for a separate Title page. Simply write down your name, the professor’s name, the subject, and the date in the left corner before the title. 
  • No need for Running heads. Instead, mention a ‘Last name: the page number’ in the upper right corner on each page. 
  • In all term paper examples, the list of sources goes as a Works Cited page instead of References as in the APA-formatted papers.
  • The in-text citations are simple. Just mention the author’s name and the page number like in the example (Freeman 67). 
  • Citing the resources is really challenging. But don’t fall into despair! There are plenty of free online applications like Citation Machine, which will cite the sources for you.
  • Most college term papers have specific requirements in each case. Your instructor will tell you the details on font and other elements. In case of vague instructions or no instructions at all, use a 12-point Times New Roman font to be on the safe side. Also, use the 1" margins to frame the text. As for the indentation, make it ½ inch. The same tip goes for the APA format.

How to Choose Sources for a Term Paper?

Searching for the most effective sources is a top priority. Before writing a term paper, find all the sources you need. They will serve as a base for composing the Literature Review chapter. But how to choose the most credible and effective sources? 

  • Use only reliable databases. Jstor and Google Scholar are great examples of credible databases. They both contain the latest peer-reviewed articles yet make your research quick.
  • Be careful with the site’s address. Links that end in .gov, .org, and .edu are reliable sources to extract the information from. Avoid sources like news portals, blogs, and Wikipedia. They often contain personal opinions but lack proper evidence. 
  • Aim for unbiased research. Often, the authors write through the lens of their political and social beliefs. For your term paper sample, you want the least biased sources. Check the information on the author and decide whether they are worth trusting. 
  • Search for the sources not older than 5 years. The research field constantly changes. Yet you need the latest studies, especially if you write a term paper in science. 
  • Stick to the topic. Remember that your term paper essay must discuss the topic you have chosen. The article may be great. But it is a mismatch for your paper if the source only slightly touches the topic. 

Mistakes to Avoid when Writing a Term Paper 

In a rush to follow the deadline and get the best points, students can make a few mistakes. 

  • ‘DIY’ attitude. Writing a term paper might feel like a burden, especially if it is your first term paper ever. Do not be afraid to ask your instructor for term paper help when you feel stuck. 
  • Plagiarism. You will use a lot of sources for your research. Refer to all sources you have used to avoid plagiarism. 
  • Facts and statistics. Use as much evidence as you can since you need to persuade your reader of the point you are making.
  • Thesis statement. The best term paper example will contain a well-organized thesis statement, which explores a narrowed-down topic. Polish and proofread it, and you are good to go. 

Still Struggling With Term Paper Writing?

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