How to Write a Term Paper

August 5, 2020

How to write a term paper

There are a lot of students who would like to learn how to write a term paper. This article will look into the best practices in writing a term paper. 

If you want to read other articles about writing a term paper, check out the other posts here.

What Is a Term Paper

Before we discuss how you can write a term paper, we need to understand what it is. A term paper is an academic paper that is usually asked by a teacher to be written towards the end of a term.

A term paper usually is about the same topics that were discussed during the term. It is used to measure a student’s understanding of the subject. It is often confused with a research paper. Although the two types of academic papers have a lot in common, there are key differences.

Students are generally assigned to write a term paper towards the end of the term. That’s done to measure the understanding of the student about what has been discussed. A term paper is also relatively short; usually, it is around 5,000 words in length and around 15 pages.

A research paper is typically assigned during the start of a term. It takes longer to write too. Sometimes it may take months or even years to finish. Also, a research paper is a lot longer than a term paper, since it covers so much more.

Key Difference

The most significant difference a research paper and a term paper is their purpose. As mentioned, a term paper is meant to measure the student’s knowledge and understanding of what was taught during the term. A research paper, on the other hand, is meant to answer a specific question through research.

Critical Points of a Term Paper

An important part of writing a term paper is knowing its key elements. To help you get started with your writing, here are some of the key sections of a term paper that you need to remember:

Title Page

This page contains the title of the paper, the name of the student, the course, the name of the teacher, and when the paper was submitted.


The abstract is a short summary of what the paper is all about and the conclusions that you were able to draw.

Table of Contents 

This part lists down what is contained in the rest of the paper. It’s needed for the easy navigation of the term paper.


This part tells the reader what the paper is all about. It should introduce the problem that you are trying to tackle and why it’s important to find an answer to it. 

Main Body

This is the main body of the paper. It can be divided into several parts especially if the topic of the paper is a complicated one. The important thing is that it should follow a logical sequence that readers can follow.


This is where you will tie together the entire main body. You need to come up with a conclusion that would answer the original problem that you decided to tackle. It’s okay if your conclusion is that more research is needed just as long as it came from the sources that you have cited.


This is where you list down all of the sources that you used in writing the paper. Everything must be listed down here.


You may, or you may not include an appendix to your paper. The purpose of an appendix is to provide additional information that is not directly related to the main topic you are trying to discuss. The inclusion of that in the main body might make the paper more confusing.

These are the main sections of the term paper that you need to write.

Before You Write Your Term Paper

Here are a few things that you need to remember before you write your term paper:

  1. Make sure that you understand clearly what the instructor is looking for in the term paper. Read the instructions carefully and write down the important points that you need to remember.
  2. A great idea to follow is to rewrite the instructions and requirements in your own words, to see if you really understand them.
  3. List down questions that you need to address in your paper based on the instructions given.
  4. Start doing the research. You need to find research that is distinct from the topic that has been chosen for your paper.
  5. Make notes of the most important questions that you need to include in your paper. 
  6. One of the most effective steps that you can take is to create an outline of your paper. It should include everything that will be in the paper and will make the writing a lot easier.
  7. Create a calendar for writing the paper. Divide the while paper writing process into several steps and schedule them according to the calendar you created.

These are the things that you need to remember before you write your term paper. 

Concluding Remarks

Writing a term paper is the first step in learning how to do academic writing. It can be complicated for someone who has not done it before. But once you get the hang of it, the process should be simple and straightforward enough. Just follow the steps that we have outlined here when you are writing your term paper and you will be on the right track.

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