If you’ve been assigned a term paper and you’re having trouble putting everything together, do not stress. Take a deep breath and start out by finding a quiet area to begin writing. Turn off your phone to avoid distractions and make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast. Stay focused, and use these steps to pull everything together and get a top grade on your paper.
No great paper can be written without having a focused topic with an original target or argument. You may already know what the paper has to be about, but you want to choose a direction for the paper that is narrow enough to be creative but broad enough to have enough data for your research. Write down a list of questions you have about the general topic and pick a subject you are especially interested in. Get creative and explore different angles and perspectives. Consider what you’d like the reader to take away from the information at the end of the paper, and how others can expand the information you presented.
If you’re not sure where to start, try and read other examples of papers. You can find these online, through your school’s library, and from your friends and fellow students. You want to avoid plagiarism, so take advantage of paper examples by using them as a baseline to refer to, not to copy. The key here is that you get inspiration for ideas that might be unique compared to what has already been done.
Make a skeleton for your paper, starting off with bullet points that include the title of each section and a brief description for each paragraph. Catch the reader’s attention by presenting the topic in the introduction and give them a reason to care with interesting facts, statistics, or relatable information. Create a strong body by providing background information, supportive references, and a structured, defined points in each paragraph. Conclude by referring back to your thesis and leaving your reader more thoughts to consider on the topic.
Having in-text citations and a Works Cited section with proper format will add credibility and backbone to your paper. Research as much as you can on the subject and utilize any similar past research that you can use to support your arguments and claims. Ask your instructor if they’d prefer MLA or APA citations.
Read your paper, edit, proofread, and repeat. The more times you go through your paper, the more mistakes you can fix and the better it will flow when you’re finally ready to turn it in. Have someone else read your paper and make suggestions or comments. This can be tedious, but it’s worth it to get a more complete and professional looking paper.
Start small if you need to, and work your way through each section.