Term Paper Outline: The Backbone of Success

August 5, 2020

Term paper outline

What makes a successful term paper? There are a lot of things to consider for that, but a good term paper outline is very crucial as it will guide you with what you have to include in the paper. This article will discuss the importance of a good term paper outline. For more information on the right way of writing a term paper, you can check out the other posts here.

Term Paper Outline

A term paper is a critical report on a topic that you have covered during your studies. A term paper must be made up of your own thoughts about the topic and how you understand the related literature. 

The main point of a term paper is to show how much you understand about the topic that was discussed during your studies. It is often used by teachers to measure if their students understood the topic that they have been discussing.

Term papers are often compared with research papers. There are a lot of similarities between the two. The main difference is that a research paper requires more of an academic paper. 

A term paper should follow a structured outline that will layout your ideas in an orderly manner. Your main ideas should be supported by strong points clearly, and that can only be done if you have the right kind of outline to follow.

Here are essential sections that your term paper should have:


This section should be a short one. Typically, it should take up no more than three-quarters of a page. It should describe what the problem is and why it’s important enough to warrant a discussion. It should also explain your findings briefly. 

The abstract should give a clear idea to the reader what your term paper is all about. 


This is the part where you outline the problem in length. You also need to explain the current thinking concerning the issue, especially by listing down the literature related to it. You should also explain why the problem is significant and why you must write about it. 

The reason as to why the problem is important should be more than casual interest that you might have about the issue. You should also explain in the introduction what your solution will be and how do you propose to deal with the problem.


Under the methods, you will describe the steps that you took to find the information that you need for the paper. There are different ways that you can get relevant information. For example, you can read extensively about the topic and things related to it.

You can also conduct interviews with persons who are considered to be authorities regarding the topic. It is up to you what method you will be using just as long as you document it properly.

Don’t hesitate to write down what your impression is of the data that you were able to collect. Write down if you think that the data is relevant or useful to the research that you are conducting. If you think that the data that you have gathered is not enough or not very relevant, then say so.

You should also write down the steps that you took to pick the data that you will be utilizing. It is important for your term paper that you are transparent about this. You must show that you took scientific steps in sifting through the data that you have.


This is the most important part of the term paper—the sections before it was just preparations to outline the results that you were able to get. 

So, for the results, you need to list down what your findings were. What were you able to discover with your writing? More importantly, are your findings enough to answer the original question that you posed and why you started the research?

There is nothing wrong if the data that you got was unable to answer the original question that prompted the research. You just have to point out that fact and explain why.


This is the section where you can discuss the data that you were able to get. You need to interpret the observations that you made with the data. Again, it is okay to speak your mind if you feel that the data is insufficient. 

Do you feel that your observations are enough to answer the problem?

What else is missing in your research?

In this section, you must also summarize the most important parts of your findings. You should list down the things that you feel are crucial for your research. Everything must be included.

Since you are doing research, you need to come up with a conclusion. That conclusion should come from the data that you were able to gather. You need to summarize all of the findings that you were able to get.

Now, this is the more difficult part of the paper. You need to connect the results that you were able to get into the broader context. You need to explain how your findings tie into other things. 

Concluding Remarks

That is the outline that you can follow when you are writing a term paper. Without a good outline, your essay will not be as effective. A good outline will organize the presentation of your thoughts in such a way that it will make it more effective.

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