A term paper should be written in such a way that it is easy to read.

An essay due at the end of a semester is usually a term paper.You are expected to demonstrate your mastery of the material covered in the previous term.The quality of your term paper is an important factor in determining your grade or mark in the course.Explanations are a way of organizing your thoughts and giving an overall structure to your paper so that it contains a logical progression and smoothly transitions from one focus to another as you build up your case step-by-step.

Step 1: Make sure to review your assignment.

You might have been given an assignment or prompt for your paper, or a description of it in your syllabus.You have to be clear on the requirements and format of the assignment.Ask ahead of time if you have any questions.Instructors are usually happy to answer questions if you read the assignment first and give them enough time to reply.Do not wait until the day before the paper is due to be sent to your instructor to ask a question about it.S/he will probably not have time to respond at that point.The delay suggests to your instructor that you didn't plan ahead or give the assignment the proper attention.

Step 2: Discuss a topic.

You may have been assigned a topic or not.If you have been assigned a general paper topic, you will need to decide on your angle in approaching it.The topic of the American Civil War is too big for a term paper to discuss.You need a purpose for the paper, as well as an angle such as "Roles of African-Americans in the military during the American Civil War."Sometimes, this is given to you to write an analytical paper about a topic.You may be able to determine your own purpose if it isn't.Is it to argue, inform, or analyze?Check in with your instructor to make sure that your goal is in line with the assignment.

Step 3: You should do your research.

Research is required in most term papers.Before you write your essay, you should gather research materials.You won't have a good idea about what you want to say until you do some preliminary research, as you will likely discover gaps in your argument that require further research.If you have a library, it's a good idea to consult with it.Librarians can help you find relevant and credible research sources.Make sure your sources are reliable.It is a good idea to look in published books, peer-reviewed journals, and government or university websites.Make sure you don't rely on editorial or opinion pieces as sources of fact, because credible, mainstream journalism sources like The New York Times or The Guardian are helpful.Track your sources.You can keep a record of sources with EndNote and RefWorks.You may be able to access them through your school.The author's name, title, publisher, place and date of publication can be written on an index card or in a word processing document.You should record the page numbers and sources for any quotations you make.

Step 4: Make a topic.

Before you organize your paper, you should have some ideas about your topic.Prewriting exercises can help you get started.You can try freewriting.Pick a topic and write about it for 5 minutes.Don't change yourself.Before you start writing, review your material and highlight any useful starting points.This exercise can be repeated many times to generate ideas.It's possible to try clustering.It is possible to see connections between ideas by clustering.Write your topic on the center of a piece of paper and draw a box around it.Draw a few lines from the box.Write down an idea that matches the topic at the end of each line.Continue drawing lines outward until you feel like you have explored the connections between aspects of your topic.Try to ask questions.The big questions are, who?What?When?Where?Why?How?, can help you figure out what you need in your paper.You can answer the question in as much detail as you can by writing it on a separate sheet of paper.These are places where you will need to do some research if you don't have answers to the question.

Step 5: A thesis is a piece of writing.

As you write your term paper, your thesis statement will likely evolve.In analytical essays, where you will continue to think about your material as you write, and you may reach conclusions you didn't expect, this is very common.To know your paper's central goal or point, you need a working thesis.It is common for high school students to write 3-prong thesis statements, which include three main points, each of which has its own body paragraph.This type of thesis doesn't work for term papers as they are more complex.The main focus of your paper should be stated in a statement.

Step 6: It's best to start early.

A term paper is usually longer than other types of essays, and it often counts for a significant portion of your grade.It takes time and work to produce a term paper.Don't wait until the last minute to start working.If you can, work on your paper in stages.You should be able to come to the paper with fresh eyes if you give yourself at least a day between each stage.

Step 7: Your introduction should begin.

Explanation of what your field entails, what the purpose of your paper is, and contextual information that your reader needs in order to understand your argument may be involved.Don't completely write the introduction.You should wait to draft your introduction until you write the essay.Spending too much time on the introduction may be a waste of time because your thesis and argument will evolve as you write.For now, write an outline.A broad statement is usually the beginning of an introduction.The thesis statement should include a few bullet points.

Step 8: Write topic sentences for each paragraph.

Each paragraph should deal with one main idea, so that different topics are separated into different sections.A visual clue to the reader is provided by this.The direction for the paragraph should be set by your topic sentences.To let the reader know what the main topic will be, make sure they act as a road map.If you use facts or statements that don't give an idea of what the rest of your paragraph will argue, avoid it.A good topic sentence is informative and interesting.The topic sentence "Salt water is not suitable for drinking" does not communicate the main idea of the paragraph.The main argument for the paragraph is that it is a human right to have clean water.

Step 9: The first level is where your outline begins.

You will have an idea of what your paragraphs will discuss once you have your topic sentences.In the first level of your outline, you can decide how to organize these paragraphs.Capital Roman numerals are used in this level.I'm your introduction.Your first and second body paragraphs are called II and III.Place each Roman numeral on a new line.The paragraph order can be used to experiment.As you develop your paragraphs further, they may fit better in other parts of the paper.

Step 10: On the second level of your outline, fill in subpoints.

The second level of your outline uses English capital letters.Subpoints of your main point are included in this level.The body of your paragraphs will be formed by them.Beneath the first level, put the capital letter on a new line.The second level is close to the first level.Word processing programs will do this.Underneath your topic sentence, list your subtopics.The main goal or idea of the paragraph should be the focus of each subtopic.You can use your research and material from prewriting to fill in this level.

Step 11: You can expand on the subpoints with a third outline level.

You can use a third outline level to expand on your subpoints.Arabic numbers are used in this level.If you need further explanation for your subpoints, use this level.

Step 12: There is a conclusion in the last section.

Your conclusion is the end of your argument.It should return your thesis, but not restate it.There is no need to write a full conclusion while outlining.Before you write more of the essay, you may not have a clear idea of how you want to end.Common ways to conclude an essay include returning to the theme you introduced in the introduction, proposing a course of action or solution to a problem, or ending with a provocative question.

Step 13: If you prefer, you can choose a decimal outline.

You can organize your outline using only Arabic numbers and decimal points, which is less common than the standard alphanumeric organization.In the final term paper, this type of outline is used to identify headings and subheadings.The first section with the number 1.0 should be the beginning of a decimal outline.The number should be changed after the decimal point.The first and second subpoints would be called "2.1" and "2.2", respectively.Adding another decimal point and number can be used to continue adding subsections.

Step 14: Your first draft should be reverse-outlined.

If you can, let your first draft sit for a day.If you want to read it from start to finish, return it with fresh eyes.The main argument of each paragraph should be summarized as you read.This can be done on the side of the paper, on a separate sheet of paper or as a comment in a word processing document.Limit your summary to a few words.A key phrase or a few words can be used.It could be a sign that your paragraph is wandering.If you split your paragraph into two paragraphs, you can devote one to each idea.

Step 15: Look at this reverse outline.

Once you have summarized the main idea of each paragraph, look at what you wrote.Do the ideas progress logically?They seem to build on one another.Do they wander around?You might need to move paragraphs around.You will need to deletion in some cases.Rewriting sentences or whole paragraphs is one way to do that.

Step 16: Cut the paper in half.

If you have been looking at your computer screen too long, it could be that you don't know how to organize your term paper.Cut the draft into separate paragraphs.The paragraphs should be swapped around.Is it possible that they make better sense in another order?There is only one ideal way to structure your argument in a strong term paper, because each paragraph will build upon the previous one.You may need to hone your focus if you can swap paragraphs easily.If you want to make stronger connections between your paragraphs, consider adding clearer transitions and topic sentences.

Step 17: Your outline needs to be changed.

It is possible to revise your original outline to reflect the new order you have decided on.You should revise the term paper according to your new outline after you have done this.Make sure you stick with the structure you decided upon after you revise the term paper.