How to Write a Term Paper

How to Write a Term Paper? Guide for Students

This guide to writing a term paper gives some simple and practical advice: how to get started, how to get organized, how to break down the huge task into less scary chunks, and how to attack them in a nice layout. We also give some practical hints for surviving the ordeal.

What Is a Term Paper?

In order to know how to write a term paper, you need a deeper understanding of its nature. A term paper is a student’s final qualification work of a research nature, performed by a student upon graduation from an educational institution. The diploma work consolidates and expands practical knowledge, develops skills of independent scientific work, and evaluates the student’s creative potential.

The topics of the paper are also approved by the relevant department at the university. These vary slightly from year to year. Sometimes the student may propose their own topic, with justification for its development. The term paper is supervised (checked for accuracy and timeliness) by the supervisor, who is the instructor for the specific discipline on the chosen topic of your research.

Term Paper Format Examples

Any essay writing service knows that term paper format matters as you are going to refer to many different works for research to this extent. Thus, making a mistake with format might make you a plagiarism tool that highlights many citations as the stuff you copied without permission, thus making you guilty of intellectual property theft. There are certain ways you can format your file, but give an intricate connection of your paper to academics, you have a choice between two styles:

  • American Psychological Association is the format that is usually connected to social sciences. This is probably the most common way of formatting sources, where you include the name of the work, the one who published it, and the location as well. Missing out on one of those details leads to a mistake.
  • Modern Language Association is one you’d usually see in liberal arts, being more of a scholarly thing. It differs from APA in a way that you have to include the name, date, and location (thus no publisher name).

How to Write a Term Paper Outline?

The results and discussion chapters of your term paper are often filled in several chapters. Think about the chapter plan and decide what is best for reporting your work. Then make a list of headings that will indicate what you will put in each chapter. Try to do this list in detail, so that you end up with a list of points that correspond to the subdivisions or even paragraphs of your paper. At this stage, think carefully about the logic of the presentation: in each chapter, it is often possible to present the ideas in different orders, and these different versions will be more challenging to follow. If you make an outline of each chapter and section before you start writing, the result will probably be clearer and easier to read. It will also be easier to write.

Introductory Pages

To get a proper term paper structure for your paper, we advise you to ask the doctoral studies office of your institution if they have rules. It is also advised to look at examples of recent theses that have not suffered from bureaucratic problems. Usually, your research has a title page that presents the following main points:

  • The name of the institution
  • The type of term paper
  • The specialty
  • The name of the doctoral student
  • The title
  • The date of the defense
  • The names of the jury members, with the president and the rapporteur(s) indicated.

It is followed by a page (optional) of acknowledgments, a table of contents, and then the chapters of the term paper. The abstract in English is at the end. It’s a nice way of summarizing the overall contents of your research to give the reader the right hints on the nature of your analysis. It goes without saying that you will get this structure even if you buy a term paper from a quality service.


Of your entire term paper, this part will have the largest audience. It is best to write it near the end, but not at the last minute because you will need to do several drafts. Also, the summary is so important that it’s really worth asking a fellow English speaker to edit your version. The abstract should be a distillation of the paper: a concise description of the problem(s) addressed, your method for solving them, your results, and your conclusions. An abstract should stand alone. It usually does not contain references. When a reference is needed, its details should be included in the text of the abstract. Check the length limit with your college.


What is the topic and why is it important? Explain the problem(s) as simply as you can. Remember that you have worked on this project for a few years, so you know it very well. Try to step back mentally and take a broader view of the problem. How does your problem relate to the broad themes of your discipline?

Especially in the introduction, don’t overestimate the reader’s familiarity with your topic. You are writing for experts in your discipline, but they are not specialists in your particular topic. It helps to imagine a particular person, think of a colleague you may have met at a conference for your discipline, but who worked in a different field. She is smart, and has the same general education, but knows little about the literature or specific techniques of your particular topic.

Piquing the Attention of Your Readers

The introduction should be interesting. If the reader finds it tiresome, it is unlikely that you will rekindle his or her interest in the materials and methods chapter. For the first paragraph or two, tradition allows for language that is less dry than the scientific standard. I hope your topic still inspires you, and this is the place to take advantage of it. Try to inspire the reader to want to read the time that came across their desk. Go to the library and read the introductions to several theses. Were there any that made you want to read more? Were there others that were boring?

This chapter will probably go through several drafts so that it can be simple, logical, short, and interesting at the same time. For this chapter, I find it helpful to have someone who is not a specialist read it and critique it. Is it a sufficient introduction? Is it easy to follow? There are arguments for writing this chapter (or at least making a major revision of it) towards the end of the term paper writing. Your introduction should say where the text is headed, which will become more apparent during the writing process. In addition, this chapter needs everything you will learn about scientific writing.

Middle Chapters

In some term papers, the middle chapters are simply journal articles of which the candidate was the primary author. There are several reasons to avoid this format.

One reason is that, in a term paper, it is permissible and expected that the level of detail is deeper than that of a journal article. For publications, one is usually forced to reduce the number of curves. In many cases, all the data and interesting cases can be included in the term paper, not just those that have already appeared in the journal. Experimental detail is more explicit in research. Relatively often, a researcher will request a copy of a term paper in order to have more detail on how the study was done.

The exact structure of the middle chapters will vary from text to text. Often in research, it is necessary to establish a theoretical background, describe experimental techniques, and then report what has been done on several different problems or different stages of the problem, and then finally present a model or new theory based on the new work.

For such a term paper, try to make a term paper heading like this: Theory, Materials, and Methods, {first problem}, {second problem}, {third problem}, {proposed theory or model}, and then the concluding chapter. For other theses, it would make more sense to discuss different techniques in different chapters, rather than having a single chapter on materials and methods.


Your conclusions will appear in your summary but in a very brief form, because it must also include other material. A summary of conclusions can be longer than the conclusion of the abstract, so you have the space to be more explicit and careful with the qualifications. You may find it useful to put your findings in a bullet-point list.

It is often the case that a scientific investigation delivers more questions than answers. Does your work suggest interesting additional questions? How can a study like yours be improved in the future? What are the practical implications of your work?

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