Smart tips for writing an excellent term paper
A term paper is a common assignment given to students of different academic levels. It reflects the knowledge one gets in a specific course when the term is over. Students can’t simply write some information on any topic. Instead, they are to create a thoroughly structured piece of academic writing on the topic they chose or were assigned beforehand. Term papers have always been considered a challenging task which requires a lot of knowledge, research/writing skills, as well as persistence and analytical thinking. However, this task is not beyond any student’s ability as soon as they find out the basic info about writing and structuring it. So, no panic! We’ll teach you how to tackle a term paper with no effort.
Why do I need a paper outline?This question pops up right when the working process starts; it would not be a far fetch to say an outline question one of the most frequently asked by students. The point is that while some students honestly don’t understand the goal of this part, others see it as an additional obstacle and a waste of time. In the latter case, you clearly need to reconsider because this belief will stand in your way, causing procrastination and preventing you from completing the task on time. An outline is a plan that helps you a lot. Without it, you will eventually get lost in your own brainstorming. Thus, an outline is a frame and a solid foundation for your term paper. While creating it, think over the structure of your work in general and each part in particular. Moreover, you will consult it in the process of writing to let it guide your work. Your outline has to be built in compliance with the format you are to follow.
Choosing a topic for a term paperYou can be given a topic by your teacher or allowed to choose one from the list. Many students consider such a chance to be favorable because they don’t need to spend extra effort to come up with a topic themselves. Though inventing a unique topic doesn’t save you any time, it can open more opportunities to create a good term paper because you can tailor it to meet your needs. The main rules for choosing a term paper topic are as follows:
- it has to reveal the knowledge about this very course,
- it has to be interesting to you,
- it has to be relevant to your audience (ideally, not only your teacher),
- there should be enough information about it,
- there still should be something new you can convey to your readers.
- How long your paper should be. This is usually discussed when the class is given the assignment. Why is it relevant? You see, some topics will require you more space to reveal. Others, on the other hand, are not reflected in too many authors’ works, so you won’t find enough information to write a voluminous paper.
- The credibility of sources. This point complements the previous one as the amount of information should be sufficient. However, not all sources can be used in your term paper. You may know a lot about some topic, but all of it might come from your textbook or even free encyclopedias and social media. In such a case, check if there are enough academic sources for you to cite and if you have time to study them.
- Your level of expertise. You should take neither a topic that is too complicated for you at the moment nor the one you are keen on. Avoid topics you are completely unfamiliar with having only a dim recollection of them from your course. Though it is nice to enrich your knowledge, this is not the time. A term paper is vital for your overall performance, so don’t risk your grade.
Start working immediatelyThis tip often makes students a bit stubborn. But this is not only the students’ problem. The overwhelming majority of people around the globe cannot evaluate the time they are given to complete a task accurately. We always think that there is more time than we actually have. If you make this mistake, you may still deliver your paper on time, but its quality will suffer. Still, no reason to worry. We do encourage students to get started with their paper immediately but don’t feel that you have to get down to writing at once. Your first step is to clarify all that you don’t understand about the structure of the paper, formatting style, the topic, and anything else. Don’t bombard your teacher with questions which can be easily answered without assistance. If you can’t find or understand anything, only then you should run these questions by your professor. Even better, make a list of such issues before consulting not to waste another person’s time. And you’d best do it as soon as possible to move on to the next stage. After that, plan your working process. You should brainstorm, outline your paper, and research the topic. Then, come writing a draft and revision. All these stages require focusing, so mind that a person is only capable of four-hour deep concentration per day. It is beneficial to allow no more than four hours when you are not going to be distracted at all. Also, plan short breaks because you should have them every 30 to 60 minutes. You will do better if you spend this time doing some exercise or drinking water than checking on social media. Don’t underestimate these two steps, and the rest of your working process will seem much easier for you.
Term paper structure templateAs we said in the very beginning, a term paper is not some ideas about the course. Such an approach will not let you make it further than brainstorming. The rest of the work requires structure. Here is a clear template explaining what each part should include:
- Term paper cover page. It surely should have your name and the title of your work. All the other information depends on your school regulations and format.
- Term paper abstract: Alongside with choosing a topic, writing an abstract is often regarded as another problem. Nevertheless, it is not as scary and unnecessary as it seems. An abstract introduces your readers with the topic of your research without giving too much away. Plus, it contains keywords that make it easier to find a paper in the database. It sparks the first interest and inspires readers to continue reading. Even if you don’t target a broad audience, your teacher will probably give you a better grade if he or she gets motivated enough to continue reading at this stage.
- The introduction of your term paper. Here, you are to make a thesis statement, i.e., say what you are going to prove. Besides, you should show your readers that the problem you touch upon is relevant and important. Obviously, it is important for you because you have picked it to get a grade. But why does it need to be solved, and how can your insight contribute to solving a particular issue? All of this info should be in this section. Ideally, an introduction should begin with a hook to draw readers’ attention. Still, since we are not talking about writing a speech or an ordinary essay, you shouldn’t probably start with a joke unless it really suits the context.
- The main body. Here, you will have to include all the research, results, evidence, and arguments. But! You can’t stuff the body with information as it is. Each paragraph is to reflect a standalone idea which, in turn, is to be supported by arguments. Don’t forget to build a smooth transition between all paragraphs to make your paper readable.
- Conclusion. Here, you sum up your main findings and demonstrate the results you have obtained. Start with your thesis restated in the light of your findings and show the perspectives of further research.