- By Jason Bacot
- Published 11/2/2010
When you go to college you will be required to write term papers. Although many students are put off by the thought of writing their first college term paper, providing you are well prepared and organized, writing a term paper should be a straight forward process. Most term papers follow a simple format that includes the following: *Identifying a topic and formulating a specific question you want to answer *Finding information on that topic from a variety of reputable sources *Making notes along with their bibliographic reference *Organizing your notes *Writing a plan or outline *Writing the first draft *Editing your paper Institutions vary when it comes to writing term papers, some will expect you to identify a topic and formulate a question to answer, while others may give you a choice of topics or questions that you need to research. Whether the topic is given or self-identified, the rest of the process of writing a term paper is pretty standard. The one thing that you need to ensure when you’re writing college term papers is that the sources that you use are reliable.
While it’s ok to use the internet for research, you should evaluate the sites that you visit as anyone can put information out on the World Wide Web. Most of the sources that you use for information should come from books and academic jour
nals; although you will still need to evaluate the sources to ascertain whether or not you trust what the writer is saying. When you read for information you should have some questions in your mind that you want answered and you should make notes while you’re reading. Always keep a note of where you found the information. Organize your notes by numbering them in order of importance as this will help you to formulate an outline for your paper. Once you have an outline, it’s time to write the body of your paper using information from your numbered notes to build your argument. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar as the important thing at this stage is to get the information down on paper, this is the first draft of your paper and it will be edited later. Once you have the body of your paper written it’s much easier to write the introduction. Some people prefer to begin with an introduction and then change it if necessary once the main body of the paper is written. Your conclusion should be a summing up of what you have written. Some professors will say that the introduction should lay out what you’re going to say, the middle should actually say it and then the conclusion should be a summing up of what has been said.
This outline for writing a term paper should work out well providing you have allowed yourself the time it takes to do it. Writing a good term paper should be done with breaks in between if you want to give your ideas time to develop.