Term Paper Format

Term Paper Format

A term paper is a common assignment for undergraduate students. It can be defined as an academic paper written over an academic term and accounts for a significant portion of the final grade – usask.ca. An original work gives well-researched details usually due toward the end of the semester. Because of the weight, it carries, it is important to master a standard term paper format for all your assignments.

While it is true that there are different ways to format your term paper, this article is designed to equip you with foundation knowledge that will help you handle any assignment that comes your way.

A good term paper can be written into three steps. They include the following:

  1. Preparing-Here you analyze the requirements of the paper, brainstorm and come up with a preliminary outline.
  2. Research- At this stage you consult different sources to get information on the topic.
  • Write, edit, proofread- It is the actual writing stage where you organize your work to make sense. Editing and proofreading makes your paper flawless, i.e. free from common mistakes.

Important things to remember when drafting your term paper format

As you work on your term paper format, remember that you have an obligation to give readers something extraordinary, which they cannot find on their own from the source material. Some of these services to your audience will include:

Research and investigate– Get hard-to-find information from various sources and compile it into a clear presentation.

Synthesize your findings. Use diverse angles to depict patterns and relations.

Organize your work. Have a logical flow of materials with easy to understand structure

Do thorough analysis-Do not just lamp information on paper. Cross-examine your arguments for evidence and validity.

Clarify– Ensure that the arguments are clearer to the reader by giving conclusive explanations

Have a broader examination context– Put the subject matter into a broader context and draw comparisons to other fields.

Filter your information-Focus on the main issues of the paper by weeding out fluff.

Stick to your claim. Show how the evidence supports your point of view.

With these tips on how to handle your writing assignment, take a look at the following term paper format.

Sample #1 Term Paper Format

    1. Statement of the Problem
    2. Definition of Terms
    3. Theoretical Framework
    4. Methodology

-Type of Research



  1. Hypothesis
  2. Review of Related Literature
  3. Scope and Limitations
  4. Significance of the Study
  5. BODY
  6. Background of the Study
  7. Presentation and Analysis of Data

Concluding Statement

  1. Analytical Summary
  2. Thesis Reworded
    1. Recommendations

This sample format of a term paper was adapted from explorable.com

What to consider when choosing term paper format

Your final term paper largely depends on the road map you stick to during the writing process. As you delve into research, know the content of your paper and the scope to remain relevant. A good paper depends on your topic. In the following section, we focus on selecting a topic for your paper.

How to choose a good topic for a term paper

Besides having an excellent term paper format, you need a good topic to achieve your goal and satisfy the reader. In case your tutor provides a topic for you then you will have no say in deciding your topic. Otherwise, consider the following before you settle on a topic:

Be creative– Pick a captivating topic. A boring topic is likely to put off the readers. No one has time go over a paper that is dull.

Go for your interest. Choose something that holds your interest and passion. It is easier to write about a field you are interested in than something you do not relate to. Try to select a topic that will help you answer pressing questions, which you already have.

Narrow your topic– term papers are time-bound. Choose a specific issue, which you can conclusively research about within the time you have.

What to do when researching materials for your term paper

As you work on your paper, remember that research comes before the actual writing process. It would be ridiculous to start writing before consulting your sources. Research is important in back grounding your paper. Get the current thinking about the topic and possible future trends.

When researching on a topic that is familiar to you, avoid going back to what you know. This will undermine the purpose of the research, as you will not learn anything new at the end of the assignment.

Have an open mind as you start your research to discover the things you do not know about your topic of discussion. Having a sense of adventure will help you discover ways of addressing old problems.

As you research, use primary and secondary sources. Stick to authentic and credible sources of information to convince the reader with your findings. Going through several reviews will help you land on extra references. Consider periodical literature and scientific journals as they contain facts.

Primary sources include:

  • Legal cases,
  • Original texts,
  • Interviews,
  • Experiments etc

On the other hand, secondary sources are an interpretation of the primary information.

The following term paper format will help you digest the sections we have covered before we look at the actual writing process.

Sample #2

Tile of your paper ______________________________


State the purpose your paper________________________

Orient your readers by acquainting them with thesis statement _____________________


Divide it into headings and sub-headings

Heading 1: History of the Problem ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________________

Include previous attempts to offer solutions

Heading 2: Scope t of the Problem

Who is affected? ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________

What impact has it had? ________________________

Heading 3: Effects of the Problem __________________

Heading 4: Probable Future Solutions_________________


Wrap up the points

Additional components of a great term paper format

As you figure out your term paper format, you are likely to find difficulties in formulating and refining your thesis statement. However, this should not be the case after going through this section.

Refining your thesis statement

A thesis statement is a declaration or claim of your paper, which guides your writing process. It is what you stand for as you develop your term paper.

Take time and reflect on your topic after gathering all the research materials you need to accomplish the objectives of the assignment. At this point, identify a single strong idea, which you will be discussing and defending throughout the paper. The idea should make it clear to the readers what they are about to learn.

Since your thesis acts like the spine of your essay, give it your best shot. Half-baked thesis leads to a flawed paper. Once you have an interesting statement, start drafting your term paper.

Developing an outline for your term paper

An outline shows the direction you are taking in your research. An outline is dynamic and is subject to change as you write the paper and get new ideas about the topic. You will need an outline very much especially when you feel like you are missing the direction. Since it is a skeleton of your paper, a well-done outline should make your work easier as your fill the details.

An outline has the following elements:

  • Introduction, discussion paragraphs and summary
  • Explanatory paragraphs to give background information
  • Analysis and argument paragraphs
  • Pending points that need clarification

Putting together an appealing intro for your term paper

As an important element to recall when developing your term paper format, the introduction is the face of your paper.

State your main point in the first paragraph. However, you are likely to rewrite this section as you progress with your paper, experiencing different direction and outcome. Putting up a coherent intro can be a hurdle in writing but not when you apply the following nuggets of wisdom:

  • Start your intro with a hook. Grab the attention of your readers with a question or quote. You may also use an interesting anecdote that relates to the subject matter and makes sense in the body of your paper.
  • Introduce your topic in a clear and succinct manner
  • State your thesis (we have already clarified this in an earlier section)

Have a strong body

  • Use your body to support your argument
  • Every paragraph should begin with a topic sentence and proceed to explain the value it adds in supporting your argument.
  • After developing the body, do your conclusion using the ROCC method (Restate thesis, one vital detail, conclude, clincher).

Here are great sample term papers to consider:

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