Term Paper Outline

Term Paper: Full Guide with Structure, Outline, and Examples

Writing a term paper is a great responsibility that requires your dedication so as to write a paper that will earn you that good grade that you desire. The fact that you are reading this post means that you are committed towards writing a high quality term paper that will impress your instructor. I assure you that this short guide will be quite helpful to you and your peers.

  1. What is a Term Paper?

A term paper can be defined as an assignment that is given at the end of a semester to assess a student’s knowledge about the course materials taught by your instructor throughout the semester. In most cases, your instructor gives you a topic that will capture various aspects of your course. To gain high marks, your term paper should not only be well-written, but also well-organized, analytical and bearing reliable information from research. This paper should reflect your ability to perform research and critically analyze information and present it in a manner that is understandable to your reader.

  • Steps of Writing a Term Paper

The process of writing a term paper contains several crucial steps. The first step involves familiarizing yourself with the requirements of the assignment. Go through all instructions carefully so as to ensure that you do not miss out on anything that your instructor requires from you. If there is anything that is unclear, do not hesitate to contact your instructor for clarification.

The second step involves selecting a topic based on your instructor’s instructions. If your instructor has not given you the specific topic to write about, you should be keen to select a topic that is specific so as to avoid writing a shallow paper.

In the third step, you should extensively carry out research based on your topic. Ensure you take notes as you go about your research so as to consult them during the writing stage.

In the fourth step, you should create an outline for your term paper. This outline contains your main ideas. Please scroll down to the section on preparing an outline for further details.

In step five, write the first draft of your term paper. Let the ideas flow and do not seek perfection.

Proceed to edit your first draft and thereafter write your final paper. Your paper should follow a specific format so as to comprehensively present all your main points. Please scroll down to the section on how to structure your term paper.

The final stage involves proof reading your term paper and submitting it to your instructor.

  • Preparing an Outline for Your Term Paper

A term paper outline acts as a roadmap for guiding you in the writing process. As a writer, an outline allows you to organize all your points in a systematic. These points guide you in writing your term paper by ensuring that you do not go off-track.  

Below is a sample of an outline that can be used in writing your term paper.


  1. Background
  2. Thesis Statement


  1. Main Point 1
  2. Supporting point with evidence
  3. Supporting point with evidence
  4. Supporting point with evidence
  5. Main Point 2
  6. Supporting point with evidence
  7. Supporting point with evidence
  8. Supporting point with evidence
  9. Main Point 3 (Counter argument)
  10. Supporting point
  11. Supporting point


  1. Reiteration of proposition and summary
  2. Recommendations
  3. Recommendation
  4. Recommendation
  5. Recommendation
  • How do You Structure Your Term Paper?

Now that you have developed an outline for your term paper, structuring your final paper will not be quite a great challenge. You should, however, note that the structure of a term paper depends on the course that you are studying. Different departments may have different requirements regarding the format of a term paper. But for the purpose of giving you an example, the format below can be used in structuring your term paper.

Cover Page

Depending on the guidelines given by your instructor, this page may appear on its own page. It should contain your name, institution and department, course title, instructor’s name and date of submission.


This is a brief summary of all the points discussed in your term paper. It is usually written last so as to ensure that it captures the main points in your paper. However, this part should be less than a page long.


This is the part where you introduce your topic to your reader and give a background on the problem you are discussing in your term paper. Give an explanation of the significance of your topic then proceed to give a clear thesis statement that reflects what you seek to do in your paper.


Depending on the number of main points you want to discuss as per your term paper outline, this is the major section of your paper which should carry most of the world length that your instructor has prescribed. Each point should be discussed in its own paragraph and supported by reliable evidence. You may also use sub titles if the points you are discussing contain other supporting points like shown in the sample outline given in the previous section. Be careful with this section as it is the part where you showcase your prowess in research and analytical skills.


This is the section where you offer a brief summary of all main points discussed in the main body of your term paper. You should also restate the thesis statement and show whether it has been adequately addressed. If there are any recommendations that you can offer, you may discuss them in this section.

  • Term Paper Examples

Below are two excerpts of the introduction part of term papers. For complete samples of term papers, you may contact us through the dialogue box provided in this post.

Sample 1 (MLA Format)

Topic: Factors that Led to the Formation of the European Union

The European Union (EU) is an organization that is composed of 27 European countries after the exit of the United Kingdome through the much publicized Brexit.  According to the European Parliament, several European countries sought to establish closer economic, political and social ties in the aftermath of the Second World War (3). This was the beginning of the efforts to unite Europe. Through the EU, both member and non-member states continue to get transformed in various spheres including economic, political and social transformations. In particular, the socio-economic and political institutions under the EU continue to play a crucial role in transforming both its member and non-member states through the establishment of effective regulatory and conflict resolution systems. To understand the actual role played by the EU, it is essential to investigate the factors that led to its formation. Through this paper, the major political and economic reasons that influenced the formation of the EU will be discussed.  

Sample 2 (APA Format)

Topic: Traditional Agriculture versus Corporate Agriculture

Traditional agricultural systems in the U.S. continue to be an important source of food products despite facing stiff competition from corporate agriculture. Traditional agricultural systems include local farms and ranches that are run by rural individuals who use traditional farming methods such as organic farming. On the contrary, corporate agriculture refers to farming and ranching that is done on a large scale using modernized equipment and technologies. Currently, traditional agricultural systems are under threat from corporate agricultural systems due to several factors including the increased demand for food to feed the expanding population and the existence of a regulatory systems that seems to favor corporate farming (Olmstead, 2016). This paper seeks to advocate for the support of traditional agricultural systems since they are more advantageous than corporate agricultural systems in terms of protecting the environment, supporting local economies and enhancing the health of individuals through the provision of healthier organic food products.

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