A term paper usually relies heavily on research and is presented at the end of a semester or term. While writing this type of academic documents, you’ll have to highlight the existing knowledge and mastery you’ve achieved over the topics you’ve studied during a term. Your teacher or professor may emphasise the quality of your term papers when offering grades or marks in the course.
Now, outlines are a brilliant way of organising your thoughts and maintaining an overall structure to your paper so that it follows a logical progression and smoothly transitions from one focus to another as you prepare your paper.
1. Come up with a topic
Your teacher may have assigned a topic, or you may be given the liberty to select your own. Even if you have been assigned a common topic for your term paper, it’s likely that you’ll need to find a specific “angle” as you work on it.
You’ll also need to determine the purpose of the particular topic. Sometimes, this is already provided to you. But if it isn’t, you’ll have the freedom to find your own purpose. Is it to argue, persuade, inform, or assess? It’s always an amazing idea to check in with your teachers to make sure that your goal aligns with the assignment.
2. Do your research
Research is an integral part of term paper writing and structuring. You should start collecting research materials before structure your term paper. As you write, you’ll probably discover gaps in your argument that needs further exploring, but you won’t have clarity about what you want to say until you conduct some preliminary research.
If you have access to your university library, talk to the librarian. Librarians are brilliant resources who can guide you to relevant research materials. Be sure to keep track of the resources. These are quite useful for keeping a record of sources you use. You can also keep track by writing down the bibliographic details.
3. Prepare a working thesis
Your thesis statement will evolve as you work on your term paper. This is rather common in the case of argumentative papers, where you’ll continue to ponder over your material as you write, and you may reach conclusions you didn’t anticipate. It’s best to prepare a working thesis to begin with, so that you can keep track of your paper’s central idea.
You can’t present a three-prong thesis statement as you did in high school. This type of thesis rarely works in the case of term papers, as these documents are longer and more complex. Go with a statement that highlights the main focus or claim for your paper.
4. Highlight your introduction
This part of the outline may involve explanatory sentences on what your topic is all about, what its purpose is, and contextual details that your readers require in order to understand your ideas. Don’t elaborate on your introduction. It’s probably wise to write the introduction last after you’re done with all other sections. Your thesis statement may evolve as you write, so devoting too much time to the introduction may be a waste of time.
Create a brief outline for now. Introductions essentially start with a broad statement and narrow it down until you present your thesis statement. Add a few bullet points about where you’ll start and include your thesis statement.
5. Start your outline’s first level
Once you write down the main ideas to discuss, you’ll have clarity on what the sections should come across. You can now focus on how to organise these paragraphs in the first level of your outline.
This level uses capital Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, etc.). Put each Roman numeral on a new line the main ideas you’ve highlighted.
6. Present the subpoints on the second level of your outline
The second level of your outline will have English capital letters (A, B, C, D, etc.). This level involves subpoints related to the main ideas. They will help develop the main sections of your papers, suggest the writers from the term paper writing service.
Present your subtopics beneath the main ideas you’ll discuss. Each subtopic should be associated with the main idea of the paragraph. Use your research and the material you generated during prewriting to fill this level of your structure.
7. Make space for the conclusion
Your conclusion will round off your argument based on your topic. At this point, you must return to your thesis statement, but you must not restate it properly. You don’t have to write a complete conclusion while outlining. You may not have a proper idea of how you want to conclude until you’ve written more of the term paper.
Some of the usual ways to conclude your paper include-
- Returning to the theme, you introduced in the introduction
- Maintaining the relevance of your argument to a broader context
- Presenting a course of action or solution to a problem
- Ending with a provocative question.
8. Revise the outline you’ve created
You may be dealing with an elaborate project, so it will allow you to revise your actual outline to reflect the new order you’ve decided on. After you have done that, revise the term paper as per your new outline.
After you’ve revised the term paper, crosscheck with the new outline to ensure that you have stuck with the structure you decided upon.
Having a clear structure for your term papers will help you put everything together perfectly. This way, you’ll be able to stay on the right track as you prepare your term paper.