The term paper, an integral part of most college education, often causes more anxiety than necessary. The key to succeeding on a term paper is organizing your time wisely; knowing what writing style to use; and making sure you have all the tools you need for success before starting your project.
You’ll want to start planning early, but not too early. Give yourself at least one week (preferably two) between turning in my final draft and turning it in so that you can edit it after others have read it.
Now let’s take a look at each of these steps in more depth. First up: how to plan your term paper so that you are always prepared for success!
Planning Your Term Paper
First things first: make sure you put the word out that you need assistance with your term paper. There’s nothing worse than spending hours researching and still not having a clue what to write about.
To create an outline:
- Brainstorm topics (make a list)
- Prioritize top ideas (one or two will be your thesis)
- Flesh out each idea as much as possible
Creating Your Own Personal Library
Once you’ve done this, it is time to build your library of anything and everything related to your topic. This is key! With every article, book, and website that you can find on your subject—even if they contradict one another—you’ll have a stronger foundation for your work.
* How to cite sources: Here is an example of how you should properly cite any source that you use in the body of your project: Author Name, Title (City: Publisher, Year), p 12-14. If there are authors and editors instead of just one author, put all this information on the title page followed by the publication date.
** NOTE – Make sure you document each and every source. You can find more information about creating proper citations here.
Remember that using another person’s words is plagiarism; quoting or paraphrasing without documenting correctly is plagiarism.
Writing Your Term Paper
The actual writing of the term paper is a large but manageable task. First, you have to decide on your thesis, then write it down in an organized format. Once you have that down, draft an introduction and conclusion following these steps:
- Get five or six of your most trusted friends to give their honest opinion on your topic, making sure they understand what you are trying to convey.
- Ask them if there are any new ideas in the work besides the original one(s) you are proposing, if it seems too narrow or too broad, or if they found anything confusing or misleading.
- They should be brutally honest with their answers so that you can make changes accordingly!
Drafting Your Introduction
- Introduce the topic in a general way, giving very little detail.
- Put your thesis statement here. It should be clear, concise, and only one sentence long!
- Explain how you found your information (the research process).
- Give any necessary background/overview information so that readers know exactly what this term paper will be about. The goal is to not give away too much information at once; rather, it’s helpful to build up interest throughout the remainder of the paper so that people keep reading.
Drafting Your Conclusion
A conclusion is basically just another way of saying “wrap-up” or “summary.” You can even use much of the same wording from your introduction. Restate your thesis statement.
Once you have a good draft, make a list of potential errors/flaws in word choice or sentence structure that could be misunderstood by readers. For example, if you write “Every boy and girl wants to go home,” it implies that girls don’t want to go home! In these cases, it’s best to rewrite the entire sentence so that the meaning is clear.
Finally, try reading your term paper out loud at least three times before submitting it for academic review. If something sounds wrong even when you say it aloud, then reconsider including it in your work!
In conclusion, your term paper will be a solid foundation for your future career. Do not take the writing process for granted, and remember that a little effort can go a long way!
I hope this article has been informative and helpful to you on your path to academic excellence! I wish you all the best of luck as you complete this project.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article!