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What is a term paper?

❶Use a dictionary or a thesaurus as needed. Make sure the print is easily legible.

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The term paper records your research and provides you with the opportunity to convey your thoughts, findings and opinions on the material you have considered. It may be that you've been asked to write your first term paper and you're not sure where to start, or you've not studied for a while and you can't remember how best to approach the task. Alternatively, you may already be good at writing term papers but in need of a plan to speed up the process, advice on how to improve your writing skills or polish an existing piece of work.

Whatever your reason for looking for information on term papers, we have put together a comprehensive set of instructions which, if followed, make writing a good term paper a simple and formulaic process. You'll find that sometimes your university gives you the term paper title. In that case, you can skip this section and move on to the next stage of researching and gathering information for your term paper. If you don't yet have a title, consider this: How many professional research papers have you come across in the course of your studies entitled 'Philosophy'..

Indeed, these are topics but they are just not specific enough to get a decent grade. If you want to write a good term paper, the best advice is to pose a question for your title and make sure you answer it. So how do you come up with a good question?

Let's take the criminology subject of 'restorative justice' as an example. This means that rather sending people to prison, we look for ways they can 'make amends'.

It's a subject on which there is a great deal of debate so it should give us some good results. You want to base your term paper on something that interests people. Current issues and debates interest people. So let's look on CNN and see what current debates have been raised about restorative justice.

We get three results, two of which don't seem to relate to restorative justice and one that most definitely does. This is a great start - you could pose various questions for your term paper from this. Another place to generate ideas for a term paper title is Google itself. A quick search for the term 'restorative justice' reveals a host of information sites that will be rich in news, articles, debates and current developments - and therefore, ideas for your term paper. As a term paper is usually the result of a term's worth of research, with any luck you'll have a good collection of notes and information at your disposal.

Unfortunately, not all students are this well organized! So if you haven't already done your term paper research, where do you find the sort of source material that's going to get you an A grade? Libraries are a thing of the past - the Internet is your new best friend. Most universities will give you an 'athens' password which is a magical key unlocking thousands of research databases all over the world. An amazing list of these sources can be found here:.

Open University Web Resources. When you've gathered together a good selection of information, make sure you then evaluate the quality of it - unless the source material for the term paper topic you have chosen is sparse, you'll need to decide what to include and what not to include in your term paper.

You'll be able to further sift through and sort your findings when you create an outline later - at which point you'll be looking for material to deal with specific points in your term paper.

The keys to effective papers are good organization and presentation of ideas and error-free technical skills. There are a number of sources that you can access to help you both organize and write your paper. Our comments on writing a paper that follow may prove helpful to you, but they are not substitutes for the fuller discussions you will find in these writing guides. There are three organizational issues to consider.

They are the outline, the parts of the paper, and the approach. No one would think of building a house, computer, or other important and complex project without a plan. Students regularly write papers without a plan. As a result, poor organization is a common weakness of undergraduate term papers. The best way to construct your plan and to organize information for maximum effect is to put together an outline.

An outline serves to lay out your paper's structure, to ensure that it is complete and logical, and to prevent you from getting off the track.

Determine what you wish to accomplish in the paper; then prepare an outline specifying every step from Introduction to Conclusion.

Linear writing is crucial in professional papers and reports. A good outline also serves to help you later: It ensures that you stay on track, write an accurate summary for your conclusions, and cover all of the relevant information and arguments.

All papers should have three basic parts: The introduction is the key to letting your reader know where you are headed and what you will accomplish. Remember always that while the organization of your paper may be clear to you, it is not clear to your reader. Therefore, the introduction is something like a road map that acquaints the reader with the journey ahead. This will make it easier for the reader to understand what follows and will improve the reader's evaluation of your work.

Tell the reader in concise terms 1 what the subject of the paper is, 2 what it is that you hope to find out, and 3 how you will go about it. If you are writing an advanced, theoretical paper, your introduction might well also include a review of the existing scholarship on the subject, a section in which you identify how you collected your data and other information, and a discussion of the methodology you will use.

Wolfinger is a guide for such advanced papers. The main body is the largest part of the paper. It should have a logical organization. Especially if the paper is long, it is often a good idea to divide the main body into sections designated by headings and subheadings. Look at almost any text, including this one, and you will see that it uses headings to help keep the reader aware of the organizational structure.

Also with regard to your main body, do not assume knowledge on the part of the reader. Include all important information, explain its significance, and detail your logic. Write your paper as though its reader will be a reasonably intelligent and informed person but not an expert on your topic. Your instructor wants to know what you know and will not "read into" the paper information that is not there. The conclusion should sum up what you have found and stress the evidence that supports your analysis.

There is something very human about wanting to have things summed up, so do not leave your reader hanging without a conclusion. There are several ways to approach your paper. A common organizational approach is a chronological one. The advantage of this approach is that it uses the passage of time as its organizing mechanism. The disadvantage of a chronological approach is that it can easily become a "laundry list" of events, both important and unimportant.

Students often list everything they find, leaving it to the reader to determine which factors are most important. Chronologies are also no substitute for analysis. There is nothing wrong with a chronological approach if it is done well; just be sure to put more emphasis throughout on why things happened than on what happened.

A more analytic approach would be organized around a set of factors, or variables, that are important to the subject of the paper. Theoretical approaches can also be used to organize a paper. See Allison's Essence of Decision for an illustration of such an analytic approach. Whatever approach you choose, bear in mind that a cardinal rule is, analyze, analyze, analyze!

Summarizing your findings in the conclusion does not mean that this is the only place to put "you" in the paper. Your analysis should appear throughout the paper. A big error that many novice writers make is to use the main body of the paper to create a heap of facts and to wait until the conclusion to say what they mean. This approach is boring and will not impress your readers with your analytical ability.

The best papers by far are those that draw data, events, and other material together and interpret them throughout.

Besides organization, the other hallmark of a good paper is clarity in writing. Remember that if a paper fails to communicate well, then its research-no matter how well done--will have little impact.

There is an old piece of advice that says, "write like you speak. Good written communication is somewhat different from good spoken communication. When you speak to someone, especially face to face, you can convey meaning through voice inflection, gestures, and other methods in addition to your words.

These methods are not available in written communications. Therefore, choice of words, punctuation, and other considerations are particularly vital when you write.

Good writing can be divided into three parts: Thomas Alva Edison once supposedly commented that "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Writing and polishing drafts of a paper take time and effort.

They cannot be done the night before the paper is due. If you sit down at your word processor the night before your report is due and write it into the wee hours of the morning, you will almost certainly leave your reader as bleary-eyed when he or she reads the paper as you were when you wrote it. Two things to do are to write drafts and to get others to read your paper. Write a draft, preferably more than one. No professional writer would dream of sending a manuscript out for review or to press without writing multiple drafts.

Indeed, the more one writes, the more one feels the need to do drafts. Only undergraduates have the hubris to keyboard a paper into the computer, print a copy out, hand it in, and wait confidently for that rave review and an "A" grade from the instructor.

A better idea is to write a first draft. Note here that the adjective "rough" does not precede "draft. Once your smooth draft is done, put it aside for a few days so that you can gain perspective. You may be surprised at how many ways you find to improve what you have written when you look at it with "fresh eyes.

There are many people who can help you write a first-rate paper. One person is your instructor. Discuss your topic and your ideas with your professor. He or she may be able to help you refine your topic, avoid pitfalls, identify resources, or plan the paper's organization. Submit drafts to your professor far enough ahead of the deadline to give the instructor time to suggest revisions. It may prove helpful also to ask a classmate, a family member, or someone else to read your paper.

Most people are not good judges of their own writing. We tend to read what we meant to say, not what we actually wrote. A fresh reader will be able to point out technical errors and lapses in your argument and organization. Writing centers are another source of help at many colleges and universities. You may have already paid for such assistance with your tuition dollars; you might as well use it.

It may take innate talent to become a great literary figure, but achieving a reasonably pleasing literary style is possible for everyone who exercises a little care. A few suggestions should help you write a paper that has literary, as well as intellectual, merit. Watch your sentence structure. Students and scholars too often seem to assume that long, complex sentences are symbolic of profundity. They are not; they are mostly just cumbersome.

Simple, subject-verb-object sentences are best. Still, if you do not vary them occasionally, numerous short sentences do not "read" well. So, after several simple sentences, add a longer one. But do not go too far the other way. Consider "Rourke's Rule of 2s": Rely on active tense, action verbs.

Avoid the passive tense No: Similarly, action verbs made, jumped, went are better than verbs of being is, are, were. Colloquial English typically does not make a good impression unless you are writing fiction. Obscenities and other forms of gutter English are almost never acceptable. Avoid starting too many sentences with adverbial or adjectival clauses or phrases.

These are the short phrases such as "In the morning, we went Also shun beginning or ending sentences with words or phrases such as: Watch your paragraph length. Paragraphs over one page in length are usually too long. They may contain redundant statements or more than one major idea. Rework such paragraphs to delete unnecessary text or to separate ideas into additional paragraphs. At the other extreme, one-sentence paragraphs are not acceptable. Remember that each paragraph should have a topic sentence and several others that explain or develop that topic.

Rely on transitions between paragraphs. Conventions like "On the other hand," "Still," "Also," "Nevertheless," "Thus," "However," or "As a result" help the reader get from one thought to another.

They smooth the reading process. Get to the point. Do not beat around the bush; save a tree; avoid word pollution. Your paper must be free of common writing mistakes. Cautions about some of these are:. Misspelled words make you appear uneducated, careless, or both. Keep in mind that misspelled words and typographical errors cannot be distinguished from each other by a reader.

Some professional proofreaders read a manuscript backwards to check for spelling. Do not rely on just your own sense of how words are spelled. Use a dictionary, a "spell check" program if you have a computer, and a second reader to proofread your drafts. Beware of spell checkers, though! Thus it is crucial to have a human scan your words. Make sure subjects and verbs agree. Subject-verb disagreement is most likely to occur when the two are separated in the sentences by several other words.

Be careful of verb tense. Many poor writers use only present tense. Use past tense, future, and other tenses as appropriate. Also be careful to keep verb tense consistent within paragraphs. Make pronouns mean what they say. Misuse of pronouns is very common. A pronoun refers to the last noun of the same person and gender. Consider the sentences, "John F. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was subsequently also shot and killed.

Many Americans wept at his death. Also, do not normally use pronouns more than twice in a row to refer to the same noun. Use the noun or a variation thereof again for clarity.

While we are on the subject of pronouns, it is seldom correct to use a gender-specific pronoun he, she, him, her to refer to an inanimate object. The United States, for example, is an "it," not a "she.

Do not split infinitives. Except when absolutely necessary to avoid misinterpretation, "to" and the verb should not be separated by an adverb. One method may be to mark with a different color ink or use a hi-liter to identify sections in your outline, e. Group your notes following the outline codes you have assigned to your notes, e. This method will enable you to quickly put all your resources in the right place as you organize your notes according to your outline. Start with the first topic in your outline.

Read all the relevant notes you have gathered that have been marked, e. Summarize, paraphrase or quote directly for each idea you plan to use in your essay. Use a technique that suits you, e. Mark each card or sheet of paper clearly with your outline code or reference, e.

Put all your note cards or paper in the order of your outline, e. If using a word processor, create meaningful filenames that match your outline codes for easy cut and paste as you type up your final paper, e. Before you know it, you have a well organized term paper completed exactly as outlined. The unusual symbol will make it easy for you to find the exact location again. Delete the symbol once editing is completed. Read your paper for any content errors.

Double check the facts and figures. Arrange and rearrange ideas to follow your outline. Reorganize your outline if necessary, but always keep the purpose of your paper and your readers in mind. Use a free grammar and proof reading checker such as Grammarly.

Is my thesis statement concise and clear? Did I follow my outline? Did I miss anything? Are my arguments presented in a logical sequence? Are all sources properly cited to ensure that I am not plagiarizing? Have I proved my thesis with strong supporting arguments? Have I made my intentions and points clear in the essay? Re-read your paper for grammatical errors. Use a dictionary or a thesaurus as needed. Do a spell check. Correct all errors that you can spot and improve the overall quality of the paper to the best of your ability.

Get someone else to read it over. Sometimes a second pair of eyes can see mistakes that you missed. Did I begin each paragraph with a proper topic sentence? Have I supported my arguments with documented proof or examples?

Any run-on or unfinished sentences? Any unnecessary or repetitious words? Varying lengths of sentences? Does one paragraph or idea flow smoothly into the next?

Any spelling or grammatical errors? Quotes accurate in source, spelling, and punctuation? Are all my citations accurate and in correct format?

Did I avoid using contractions? Did I use third person as much as possible? Have I made my points clear and interesting but remained objective? Did I leave a sense of completion for my reader s at the end of the paper? For an excellent source on English composition, check out this classic book by William Strunk, Jr.

Place yourself in the background, Revise and rewrite, Avoid fancy words, Be clear, Do not inject opinion, Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity, … and much more. The Elements of Style was first published in There is also a particular formatting style you must follow. There are several formatting styles typically used.

APA American Psychological Association style is mostly used to cite sources within the field of social sciences.

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How to Write a Term Paper. Feb 08, Types of Academic Writing. Before we delve into the structure of a term paper, let’s first define it and look into the objectives of this writing assignment. A term paper is a research paper required at the end of a school semester. It tracks and evaluates the students’ knowledge about the course.

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The term paper definition is a long essay written on a subject based on the work done during your studies. The actual length may vary, but generally, term papers are around 5, words long, or between pages.

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A term paper is usually assigned to students as a research assignment that covers most of the material given over an academic term: a semester, or a whole academic year. If you want to know how to do my term paper, or how to do custom term paper, you can ask us for help and be sure to get it. There is absolutely no problem of running away or disappearing with your money while you are working with us.

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Why do instructors assign papers? Answering this question is a good place to start thinking about term papers because if you know why papers are such a common assignment, then perhaps you can approach the task with added enthusiasm and dedication. So if you haven't already done your term paper research, where do you find the sort of source material that's going to get you an A grade? Libraries are a thing of the past - the Internet is your new best friend.