The Importance of Term Paper Format

August 5, 2020

Term Paper Format

What is the proper term paper format?  This article will look into the different options available for the format to be followed when writing a term paper. For more information on how you can write a good term paper, you can check out the other posts here

Term Paper Format

A term paper is an academic type of writing that students are required to complete at the end of an academic term. The main purpose of a term paper is to assess if a student understood what was taught during the term.

Another purpose of the term paper is to prepare the student for writing more comprehensive academic papers. It’s the first step for a student to learn the different formats used in academic papers.

Normally, a student will discuss a specific topic that was assigned to them. As the practice goes, that topic was something that was discussed during the term. The task of writing the term paper is not to repeat what was discussed during the term but go in-depth about specific parts of it. 

The basics of term paper

An average term paper is typically several pages in length although there really is no specific length required. The teacher can set the requirements for the length, format, and other aspects of the term paper, in which case then students must follow all of those. But it’s important to keep in mind that the commonly accepted length of term papers is at around 5,000 words. 

Usually, a term paper will be required to have single spacing, single column, and 12 pt font. If it follows those requirements, the paper would normally reach around 15 pages. That may seem long for someone who has never written a term paper before but a really good topic would require a lot more than that.

Difference Between Research Paper and Term Paper

Students are sometimes confused between a research paper and a term paper. The confusion is understandable since the two have several things in common. One of the key differences between the two is the time frame required for their writing and submission. A term paper needs to be submitted at the end of the term, hence the name. 

A research paper may take months and sometimes years to finish. Also, a  teacher will ask students to write their term paper towards the end of the term as part of the requirements. For a research paper, the teacher will normally ask a student to work on it right at the beginning of the term. 

Another important difference is that a research paper is meant to find a solution to a problem. On the other hand, a term paper is mainly meant to measure the understanding of the student of the topic that was discussed during the term. It is used to check the effectiveness of the teaching too.

A research paper will also have its own hypothesis and it will either support that or reject it at the end.  A term paper does not have its own hypothesis and will just support existing research on the topic.

Here are the main sections of a term paper that you should be aware of:

  1. Title Page – This is a separate page with the title, name of the student, course, name of the teacher, and the date when the paper was submitted.
  2. Acknowledgment – This should include anyone who inspired the writing of the paper and any other relevant info for the introduction.
  3. Abstract – This is a summary of what is discussed in the paper. 
  4. Literature Review – This is where related research and papers that helped the student should be mentioned.
  5. Methodology – This section, a detailed description of the research methods that are used by the student in a step by step process.
  6. Results – This is where the findings are going to be presented. There should be measurable results here.
  7. Future Recommendations – On this part suggestions for future research can be given. The suggestions should be based on the findings of the term paper.
  8. Reference List – This is where all the resource materials used in writing the paper should be listed down.

Formatting in action

These are the main sections of a term paper. A student must include all of these sections to have a good paper.

Now in regards to the format, the length and the citation style to be used are also important considerations. When you do a research paper, you will be required to use a citation style. A citation style is a way that sources are cited within the paper.

There are several commonly used citation styles today. APA (American Psychological Association) is used for papers on topics within the Social Sciences. MLA (Modern Language Association) is used for papers in the liberal arts.

Using the citation styles can be confusing at first but as you write more term papers you will get the hang of using the citation styles and you will have an easier time. The good news is that there are plenty of online tools that can help you in generating citations based on the style that is required. That would make the writing a lot easier for you.

A term paper is an important tool used to assess the understanding of a student and how much was learned during the term. It is also a kind of practice for a student to master the skill of writing academic papers. It’s a preparation for the writing of a more complicated and longer papers.

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