How to Write a Term Paper

How to Write a Term Paper

When you know how to write a term paper, you can be certain that your hard work, extensive thinking and reading that accompany this assignment will not go into waste. A term paper can be defined as a research paper of a considerable length that students write over the academic term and it accounts for a large percentage of their overall grade.

Generally, a term paper should describe a concept, an event, or even argue a certain point. It should be an original, written work that discusses a topic in a detailed manner. This paper should be typed and it is usually submitted for marking towards or at the end of an academic term or semester.

Why every student should know how to write a term paper

A term paper accounts for a large percentage of the grade of college and university students. To score a better grade in this writing assignment, your term paper must conform to the conventions that are part of a larger academic consensus. There might be a slight variation in the concrete style but it is important to use a specific system consistently while writing a term paper.

While writing a term paper, you are required to identify, analyze, interpret and draw conclusions from the opinions and facts of the other people. You must obtain the necessary information for writing a term paper from different sources and present it via ideas that you develop logically. Without knowing how a term paper should be written, this task will be really difficult for you and your final piece will not appeal to the professor. Thus, you will not score the A-grade that you yearn for.

A 10 steps guide on how to write a term paper

Step 1: Select a subject or topic

If your professor or lecturer allows you a chance to choose the topic to write your term paper on, use this to your advantage. Choose a topic that you find interesting to make writing your term paper easier.


If you are studying social problems and your instructor asks you to come up with a term paper within four weeks, choose a subject on a social problem that is facing the society currently.

An example of such a subject can be “old age.” A term paper on such a subject can be easier to write because magazines and newspapers are always reporting about the issues that affect older people such as reduced income, retirement, poor health and inflation. This subject is manageable since it lies within the social problem category specified by the instructor and it is interesting to many people.

Step 2: Narrow down the topic

After selecting a subject, narrow it down into something that you can work on within the term paper’s boundaries. If your instructor had already chosen a topic or subject for you, start by exploring specific angles that will make your information and content unique from approaches that are obvious. Remember that a term paper can be written on almost any topic but a good term paper should have a limited scope.


While writing a term paper on the subject of old age, you can narrow down your topic to the problems that old people are facing in the U.S and provide suggestions to solutions to these problems.

How to Write a Term Paper: Step 3: Conduct some research

You should not start writing your term paper before you conduct some research. Therefore, analyze the assignment carefully then conduct some research on the topic that you have selected. Gather background information about the topic as well as the current ideas, thinking and future considerations of the topic. Avoid the temptation of rehearsing the information that you already know and instead, conduct a comprehensive research on your topic. Research your paper with openness and an adventure sense so that you can discover and learn new things and ways of viewing old problems.

Step 4: Develop a working thesis statement

After selecting a topic and conducting some research for background information, you now have some ideas on how you can develop your term paper and present the information. Developing a thesis statement is one of the most important steps of a guide on how to write a term paper. This is because a thesis statement presents the controlling idea of your term paper. It presents your objective or viewpoint and it provides a roadmap to the readers of your term paper.  Although creating a thesis statement at an early stage of writing a term paper is useful, you might want to change the theme statement of your paper as you think and read more on your topic. Nevertheless, a thesis statement is important because it defines the direction of your term paper.


For a topic on the old people in the U.S and the problems that they are facing, a thesis statement can read as follows: “The number of seniors in the United States has been increasing and more attention is being paid to their needs and problems. It is important to consider the needs and problems of the elderly people and try to provide solutions to some of them since sufficient evidence indicates that the current younger generation might live for 100 years or even more.”

Step 5: Create a term paper outline

A good outlined sketch or simply an outline will enable you to know where you are going while writing your term paper. It acts as a roadmap that shows you how to move from the introduction to the conclusion of your paper. An outline should provide a framework and structure for your term paper. It is simply a skeleton of the paper that you should fill with details. A good outline will direct your research and enhance the organization of your thoughts and ideas in the term paper.

How to Write a Term Paper: Write the introduction

Writing an introduction for a term paper can be challenging. In fact, you can choose to write the introduction after writing the body of your paper because you will know what you will be introducing. You can also write and rewrite parts of the introduction as you continue writing the paper because you may change the flow, direction and even the outcome of the paper. Taking such an approach will allow you more freedom of writing a paper on the basis of the information you gather during research and also include new ideas and information as you continue writing your paper.

Nevertheless, the introduction should include a hook that will attract the attention of the readers. This can be a quote or a question. It should also introduce the topic in a clear, straightforward and succinct manner. Additionally, your thesis statement should be included at the end of the introduction.

Step 7: Write the body

You need to master this step of a guide on how to write a term paper because the body of a term paper is where you convince your readers. Make sure that every paragraph of the body presents an idea that supports the main argument. Ensure that the paragraphs of the body read separately like evidence that is carefully presented to prove the stated thesis statement. Develop the argument of your term paper step-by-step in the main bodycomprehensively while dividing this part into sections and subsections.

Step 8: Conclude your term paper

In the conclusion, wrap up your term paper by restating your thesis. Remind readers about the major arguments that you made in the body in a brief manner. Finally, leave your readers with something to think about.

Step 9: Prepare a bibliography or references list

Cite all concepts, ideas, data or text that you used in writing your term paper. Present your references depending on the guidelines of the formatting style specified by your instructor such as APA, MLA or Harvard style.

Step 10: Appendices

In this section, include statistics, charts, maps and other materials that you could not include in the body.

Bonus tips on how to write a term paper

v  Edit and proofread your term paper before you present it for marking to ensure that it is free from typing, grammatical and spelling errors.

v  Take time to write your term paper. Start the writing process immediately after the instructor gives you the assignment.

v  Use different credible sources for your research to include relevant and detailed information in your paper.

v  Use a sample as your guide for writing a term paper especially when writing your first term paper. A sample paper is a practical guide that makes mastering the steps of writing a term paper easier. Click here for a term paper sample.

v  Before you submit your term paper, check it carefully to ensure that it presents the clear reasoning that underpins your arguments while ensuring that its argument is based on modern scholarly literature.

How to Write a Term Paper: References

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