How to Write a Term Paper

    December 8, 2022

Writing a term paper may be difficult, especially when you do not know where to begin. However, worry not because this article will give a step-by-step guide to help you achieve a very good grade on your term paper.

What is a Term Paper?

 Before we jump into how to write a term paper, it is proper we first define what a term paper is. A term paper is a research assignment submitted at the end of a semester. A term paper tests your understanding of the course content learned within the semester. Therefore, a term paper should be organized, well-researched, and well-written to reflect your knowledge in the subject area.

How long is a term paper?

The length of your term paper depends on your professor’s requirements. Therefore, there is no specific length to be adhered to when writing a term paper.

Term Paper versus Research Paper

As much as research is required in a term paper, a term paper differs from  research in several ways, some of which are:

  • A research paper requires a research question or a hypothesis, whereas a term paper is based on a thesis statement.
  • A term paper tests the knowledge of a certain period, such as a semester, whereas a research paper gives detailed information on a subject area regardless of the subject’s learning.
  • A research paper is normally longer as compared to a term paper.
  • Information for term papers is mainly obtained through secondary sources such as scholarly articles and books, whereas information for a research paper is from both primary and secondary sources.

Parts of a Term Paper

For a reader to easily follow your work and understand your content, it is advised to follow a clear structure. A clear structure will also help you write easily. Therefore, a term paper constitutes of the following parts;

  • Cover page

A cover page comprises; a title topic, which indicates what your paper is about, your details such as name and course number, your professor’s name, and the deadline date. All these should be formatted according to the required format.

  • Abstract

An abstract gives an overview of your whole paper and why you chose that specific topic.

  • Introduction

A good introduction should be captivating to entice the reader to continue reading your work. A thesis that forms the backbone of your essay should be stated in this section, followed by possible solutions you intend to discuss in other paragraphs.

  • Body

The body is made up of paragraphs that discuss your main ideas in detail. The main ideas should support your topic to enable a reader to understand the relevance of that idea to the topic. Each paragraph should discuss one idea.

  • Results

In this section, your research findings should be outlined and indicate whether they are a solution to the topic. You should also explain whether your view about the topic has changed and give supporting reasons.

  • Discussion

A discussion mainly concludes the term paper by summarizing your work. You may also give a statement that leaves the reader with something to think about in this section.

How to write a Term Paper Proposal

A term paper proposal is a paper that shows you can be able to defend your topic. It is submitted to the instructor, who decides whether you should write the term paper or find an alternative topic. In this proposal, you should show how your topic relates to the coursework and explain why it is important to study it.

  • How to Start a Term Paper

After receiving the green light from your instructor, you have to devise a way to write your term paper.

First, you should take your time to research more about the topic, as it is easier to write when you have all the details.

After gathering enough information, you can now develop a thesis statement and divide your work into segments that will project your final paper’s structure.

You can begin the writing process with a guideline of what your paper should include. You should make sure to read the professor’s instructions once again in order to follow the style guide indicated.

While writing your content, ensure you maintain formality. A term paper is an academic work; therefore, you should maintain formal language by avoiding slang and abbreviations.

For instance, instead of writing “photo,” you should write “photograph.” Instead of writing “wanna,” you should write “want to.”

  • How to finish a Term Paper

A term paper should end with a conclusion paragraph that shows your work has ended. The conclusion paragraph may leave the reader with something to think about and inform of a question. You may also opt to conclude with a statement that justifies your topic.

After the paper is done, it is important to proofread your work to eliminate any spelling or grammatical errors.

Term Paper Format

A term paper is formatted based on the style guide instructed by the professor. The most common style guides are APA and MLA. Each style guide has a unique way of addressing citations, font, page layout, headings, and references, as illustrated below.

APA Formatting

A paper following an APA format should adhere to the following guidelines;

  • Font- Times new roman size 12
  • Double line spacing
  • Each new paragraph should have an indent of 1.5 inches
  • Page margins should be 1 inch
  • The contents of the cover page should be aligned centrally
  • The topic title should be bold and in title case
  • An in-text citation should include the author’s last name and year
  • A reference page with the used sources should be on the last page

MLA Formatting

The guidelines for MLA formatting, on the other hand, are;

  • Font- Times new roman size 12
  • Double line spacing
  • Each paragraph should have an indent of 1. 5 inches
  • Set the page margins to 1 inch
  • Your page header should include your surname and page number
  • Align your details and those of the instructor to the upper left corner
  • The in-text citation includes the author’s last name and the page number where an idea is drawn.
  • The last page should indicate the sources used with the title “works cited”

Ensure your term paper is in your own words to avoid plagiarism.

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