How to Write a Term Paper

Writing a college term paper can be a smooth run for many, but the small technicalities involved might make a student-run away. In this article, we focus on some of the technicalities and ways to go about them to ensure you write a good term paper.

Do we begin this article by defining what a term paper is? These are the end of course assignments given to students to evaluate and analyze their best understanding of the topic. Besides the research content, instructors look out for the term paper format and structure whenever they assess term papers. In some situations, a student might have done good research and has collected adequate information for the term paper but goes ahead and disregards a few technicalities. The instructor is most likely going to award the student less marks because of this. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the steps involved in drafting a college term paper. Let’s keep you on track.

How to Write a Term Paper

Before you start your term paper writing, there are a few issues that need to be addressed to ensure you stay on track. Some of these aspects on how to write a term paper make up the foundation of what contributes to an excelling essay.

  1. Time management

Some of the students end up not performing well in their term paper due to poor term management leave alone the last minute rush. Procrastination is an enemy of progress. Doing things in rush mostly ends up not giving you good results. The habit of postponing your work until the last minute where you end up fumbling and submitting mediocre work is something students should stop. Besides term paper writing there are other aspects of life that a student needs to continue doing; keeping up with social media and maybe doing home chores. All this can be dealt with by adequate time management.

  1. Understand what the assignment requires

Instructors provide you with requirements of what they expect of their work. Ensure that all this is met to the latter. The instructions are usually things like;

  • The length of the paper
  • The term paper format; which can either be; American Psychiatrist Association (APA) format or Modern Language Association (MLA) format.
  • Relevant information sources
  • Possible list of topics and dates of submission
  1. Paper outline

For the success of a college term paper, this is among the necessary steps that play a significant role. Have a comprehensive framework with a list of some of the crucial points to remember to tackle to avoid leaving out any information.

  1. Select a topic

Having a topic is a good step to give the writer a sense of writer. You can’t just write about nothing, can you? When it comes to topic selection, always put your interests first, and of course not forgetting to stay on track with your study discipline. The tutor may do this for you by suggesting a specific theme for your term paper. Whatever the case, all a writer needs is the drive to do more and more research on the topic to impress the instructor. It’s therefore preferable that you make the topic selection for yourself.

Going for a topic, you’re also well aware of can be an aspect you need to consider. This will save you the time of trying to understand what the topic is primarily about — time you’d have used in doing more research and sharpening your paper.

The best way to approach your topic is to be open-minded. Don’t be a stereotype but rather be curious and eager to learn more and more on the topic. Keeping a liberal mind opens you to more ideas and gears you to full potential. This can also be the best time to read some of the previous works and publications on the topic to appreciate the approach other authors used. In case you have any questions, seek clarification from your seniors and even professional advice from your tutor. Ensure that by the time you start your term paper writing, you’re at ease with the topic the ensuing research.

  1. Research and analyze the topic

Here is where your interests play a huge role. The more the interest, the more drive you get to do more research. The open mind you had when selecting a topic can also be used in this section. All the information you require for your term paper can only be got through research. There are no shortcuts when it comes to this. In some situations, a student might approach the research with an already predetermined stance on what to expect and focus on. However, students at times do research to quench their curiosity and find answers to some of the questions they find relevant to their subject. Either way, thorough research is required.

There are various sources you can gather information from while conducting research. This can be the internet, articles, journals, magazines, books, and works of art. Step one is you need to validate the credibility of your information sources. Avoid non-credible sources for they will corrupt your college term paper and even worse give the tutor the wrong picture about you. Information is there to help you understand the topic better, have a broader perspective and in the process, establish your point of view.

The moment you get a better and clear understanding of the topic is the moment you’ll be able to bring out your ideas strongly with substantiating evidence from the research. Ask for help from your colleagues, seek clarity from your tutor and keep an open mind for the success of your research.

College Term Paper Structure

Just like other academic writings, term paper writing has a format. What usually happens is, the instructor might give you the format you are to use and the length of the paper. To some extent, the length of the paper is also determined by the subject in question. Seek clarity from the instructor whenever you’re unsure of the format and word count. Here is a structure to help you write a good term paper;

  1. Cover page; this comes down to the term paper format. Be it MLA or APA there ought to be a title. This section has details of the student, instructor, the submission dates and at times a subtitle.
  2. Table of contents; this is a guide for your term paper writing. It has headings and subheadings with details of their respective page numbers.
  • Abstract; it’s usually half of a page and reveals the objectives of your term paper.
  1. Introduction; this is the impressive part. Make it as exciting as possible for you to be able to capture the instructor’s attention throughout the paper. Here you can use some of the catchy and hooking statements. The introduction usually has brief background information of what is expected to be tackled in the body of the paper and some of the rising concerns on the problem.
  2. Body paragraph; in this section, how you organize your ideas plays a very big role. The paragraph should be linked to each other in a manner that is exciting to read. You could use transition words to form bridges between paragraphs. Avoid sudden change of subjects or subheadings whenever you’re writing. Here you could mention the information sources you used, how they contributed to your research findings and their relation to other sources.

Explain to your reader how you gathered your data and methods of analyzing data you used and why those methods. Stay relevant while doing this by ensuring your findings go hand in hand with what you mentioned in the introduction. Defend your point of view with strong evidence and some backup information.

Highlight the references with a list appreciating your information sources. This can include; names of books, authors, scholars, publications and internet links.

  1. Conclude the term paper; come up with a summary of the project with an open question that might prompt further research. Go ahead and recommended some of the research advancements that can be made in that field based on your experience.

Check out some of the examples of an outline for a term paper to have a better idea of the whole concept.


Before you submit any academic writing, it is required that you proofread your work. This can help correct some of the avoidable mistakes that might cost you some marks in the long run. A quality college term paper has the correct spelling, punctuation, tense, citation style and format. Seek a second opinion from your fellow peers to assist you in editing and correcting your work before you draft the final copy. Correct any instances of plagiarism to avoid any faults with your work. Once you’re satisfied with all this, you can now submit your work.


If you follow the above guidelines keenly, you can be sure to submit top-notch term papers. Ensure you have adequate content from your research and keep note of some of the few technicalities you might accidentally miss. Keep reading more guidelines and practicing and you’ll eventually succeed.