How to Write a Term Paper Outline

How to Write a Term Paper Outline

Knowing how to write a term paper outline is important in the delivery of an outstanding research paper. An outline is the backbone of the paper and a good one will always enable you to craft top notch work. In the following section, we will offer you some of the best tips on how to write proper outlines for different academic papers. Besides, you will also find samples of term paper outlines for motivation in writing.

An outline of a term paper gives you the platform to organize your thoughts, and portray an overall structure of the paper. This will ensure that the flow of ideas in your paper progresses well without confusing the reader. Besides, it will also help you in remembering the points to include in the paper, according to the right order.

The term paper outline should give a step-by-step procedure on how you plan to build your case in the essay or research paper. In this way, you will always find it quite easier knowing how to write assignments within a short period of time. All these merits confirm that it is indeed, very important for you to know how to write a term paper outline.

Guidelines on how to write a term paper outline

Since term papers are part of academic assignments, there is always a basic format on how to write a term paper outline. Although there may be slight differences based on the kind of term paper that you are asked to write, below are the main tips for writing good term paper outlines.

Think about the ideas that you want to share

Outlines determine the presentation of your paper and should be well thought of. Do not hurry to draft a poor outline since that will impact a bad research paper or essay.

The best way of ensuring that you have the right thoughts on the subject of the paper is research. However, you have to be keen not to deviate from the purpose of your outline.

Analyze your thoughts

Based on what you already know and the ideas that you have obtained from the research, it is important to identify the striking ones.

Writing a good term paper outline requires you to highlight your ideas in point form. Therefore, you should be able to collect the ideas, refine them and come up with outstanding ones that can vividly express your argument in the paper.

Steps on how to write a term paper outline

A term paper outline gives a review of the actual points that will be expressed in the research paper, thus, it should also consider the three basic sections; introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. However, all these should be simply listed down in summary since further elaboration will be given in the actual paper. The following are procedures on how to write a term paper outline.

Highlight a general introduction to the paper

In the first part of your outline, give remarks on the topic or subject of the paper. Besides, you should also point out the purpose of the paper.

It is also important that you list the resources that you have obtained information to support the argument from on this section.

The introduction should also show the thesis statement and intended reaction to the paper.

Separate different points into paragraphs or sections

When you get to the body of the paper, you will be required to give a detailed explanation of every idea in its own paragraph. Thus, it is advisable to also try to organize your ideas into sub-topics.

Under every point, you can list examples or quotes showing proof of your assertion in the paper. In this way, you will be able to easily remember every point while writing the essay. Besides, it is will also help you to organize the ideas in a way that can be easily understood.

Choose an appropriate order

There is never a sure guideline that can always work for you 100% since the subjects of term papers keep changing. However, it is critical that you organize your ideas and evidence to support each in a given order.

The main goal is clarity so you can choose a sequence that will enable you to present a smooth flow of points in the research paper. Having a vivid visualization of the paper will help you to note down the points in the right way that will make the argument to be compelling.

The order that you have chosen to pursue for writing the outline should clearly present how the ideas will be tackled through to conclusion. This means that you have to also be keen to separate the points to be used in the body and conclusion since they are two different sections of the paper.

It is important that you paraphrase, summarize or give quotes of points and evidence to be discussed in the body of the paper for easy reference during writing.

The conclusion of the paper is also another important section that you should always consider when writing an outline. Highlight the thesis statement in different words under this section.

State a brief summary of the listed points. In the event of an argumentative paper, you can give a statement showing the impacts of not embracing a given position.

At the end of the outline, write a statement that ties up the ideas outlined in the paper together into one compelling piece.

With the above, you will have gathered enough material for writing the term paper. However, it is important that you remember to go through the outline once again before starting to write just to make sure that it suits your expectations.

In order to effectively master the art of how to write a term paper outline, it is crucial that you make it a habit of crafting one for every paper.

Examples of Term Paper Outlines

The following excerpts can also assist you in knowing how to write a term paper outline with ease.

Example 1

Sample Outline for a Reflection Paper


Identify and explain the subject of the paper

State your reaction to the paper

  • Do you agree or disagree?
  • Did you change your mind?
  • Did the topic meet your expectation?
  • What lesson did you get?

Thesis Statement

Body paragraph 1

Topic sentence

  • 3rd supporting evidence
  • 2nd supporting evidence
  • 1st supporting evidence

Body paragraph 2

Topic sentence

  • 1st supporting evidence
  • 2nd supporting evidence
  • 3rd supporting evidence

Body paragraph 3

Topic sentence

  • Supporting evidence 1
  • Supporting evidence 2
  • Supporting evidence 3


  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Recap the first, second and third paragraphs
  • Give your final statement on the topic

Find this sample outline here.

Example 2

Format for a Scientific Report


  • Give s short description of the paper or subject
  • State the problem
  • Highlight its importance in your study


  • List points that can vividly explain the problem
  • Literature review; the current thoughts, results and approaches to the problem
  • What is the problem’s significance?
  • What is your solution?


  • State how you acquired information for the study
  • Point out what you think about the findings obtained from the various sources of your data or information
  • What special considerations did you make in choosing and using the gathered information?


  • List the outcomes or findings on the research
  • Clearly state if there are any challenges that you experienced in answering the questions of the study.


  • What are the implications of your observations?
  • Give a summary of the key findings
  • Outline the conclusions that you have made from the experiment
  • How do the outlined results fit into a broader context?

The above sample can be found on this link.

Example 3

Sample outline for an essay on Frederick Douglass


  • Thesis
  • Roles and arguments

Douglass as a lecturer

History as a slave and acquisition of education

  • He underwent the experience of slavery
  • Literacy enhanced expression

Early lectures; including the first speech before Garrison

  • Success of the initial speech
  • Aims for future speeches

Impact of lectures on society

  • Open eyes
  • Encouraging activism

Douglass as an author/ publisher

  • Success and effect of Narrative
  • Springboard for paper
  • Goals or hopes for the paper
  • Setback and significance of garrison
  • Significance of the paper

Douglass as a politician

  • Main traits for success
  • Goal of his political activism
  • Contributions to the Republican party
  • Significance of the contributions
  • Black soldier enlistment crusade
  • Membership of the Republican party
  • Significance of the efforts made


  • Summary of arguments and efforts

Find this sample essay outline here.


From the article above, you should now know how to write a term paper outline without difficulties. However you may still be struggling to write great term papers, If that is the case get in touch with us for assistance. For more information on the online academic writing services that we offer, you can simply refer to our homepage. Besides, you can also continue reading more academic paper writing guidelines and sample papers on this blog.