Writing is a tough mental art. That’s why you feel empty and drained when your Professor asks you to write a term paper. Deep down, you think you can’t write it, and you hand it to your brother or aunty to craft it for you.
But writing is easy, especially if you have the formula of doing it. Like any art form, it follows steps and processes to make it happen. Here are the seven steps that will prove to you that you – yes you – can write a term paper by yourself.
1. Expand your knowledge on the topic
You’re shaking, fretting, thinking that you can’t write your term paper because you have limited knowledge of the topic you’ve been asked to write. The best antidote for that is to expand your knowledge on the topic – by conducting a thorough research.
When you delve into researching the topic of your paper, you’ll get the opportunity to learn more on the subject. You’ll read scholarly books and articles about the topic. You’ll get to understand the meaning of technical terminologists. You’ll expand your knowledge on the topic thus gaining confidence to write about it.
- The best way to conduct a thorough research when writing your term paper is to begin by: Googling the meaning of technical terms on the topic.
- Watch documentaries and educational videos – related to the topic – on YouTube.
- Reflect on your life experiences relevant to the topic at hand.
2. Organise your material (s)
The next thing you should do, after conducting a thorough research, is to organize your materials, those supporting points and evidences you’ve gathered from your research.
You need to do that in order to quickly access them when you start writing. Because you’ll need other scholarly findings and opinions, which you’ll cite in your term paper, you need to keep your sources not only intact, but within reach.
For each article or e-book you’ve sourced, open a folder on your desktop and rename it base on the specific topic it discusses. This helps you save more time when looking for a specific article to cite in your writing.
3. Build your thesis statement
A thesis statement is a sentence or two that summarizes the core idea of your assignment, essay, or term paper. This is what you should do after you’ve finished organizing your research materials. Writing a thesis statement helps you stay focus on your main argument.
Because let’s face it: Your term paper tells one big idea stated in your thesis statement, usually placed in the last paragraph of your introduction. The best way to write your thesis statement is to determine the core argument of your term paper. To do that, ask yourself a simple question: “What’s the main message I want to convey to my readers?”
For example, before I start writing this piece, I first paused to ask myself: “What’s the main message I want to convey to my readers?” And my answer was: “To present seven simple steps that will help them write a term paper.”
That’s my thesis statement! Notice how the whole idea of the article is written to support this thesis.
4. Structure your points
You’re still in pre-writing stage, up to this stage, trying to expand your knowledge on the topic (so that you feel confident to write about it) and organize and state your thesis statement (your core idea). Here, you’re one step ahead to begin the writing process. You’re structuring your points in this phase.
You do this because you want to:
- Make your points clearer
- Make your points flow logically
- Help your readers to easily digest your argument
So how do you structure your points?
By putting them in sub-heads. Notice how I structure my points in this article? I use sub-heads in bold, which include, among others, “expand your knowledge of the topic,” “organize your materials,” “build your thesis statement,” “structure your points.” Notice how I put my points in their right places.
5. Write a rough draft
This is where you start writing. A rough draft is your first draft. It’s usually rough and dull and full of blunders. The main goal here is not to write a perfect copy of your term paper. No one can do that in one shot; even your Prof.
The goal of your first draft is to get your ideas down. Once you write them down, you can edit them later as (I’ll discuss in the next section). And doing that is a no-brainer: You just need the willpower that will allow you to just sit down and write as fast as you can – to get your initial ideas on paper.
Here, your main task is to clean up the mess you’ve dropped in your first draft. As you know, for your term paper to be readable, you must edit the jargons in your first rough draft.
“How do you edit your term paper?” you may ask. Start by:
- Checking your sources (ensure that your quotes and citation are accurate and are supplied from reliable sources)
- Cross-check the spellings of names, places, and locations in your paper (you tend to make wrong spelling for the names you’ve never heard about)
- Examine your grammar and punctuations (those subject-verb agreement and commas needs a critical eye)
You want your term paper to convey your message, be error-free and well presentable. That’s why you need to edit brutally.
Proofreading is the final phase for writing your term paper.
Proofreading, by definition, is the art of proofing your words for cleaning up errors, grammar goofs, and inconsistencies. This exercise increases the quality of your term paper. You need to make sure your content is error-free, and proofreading helps you do that by uprooting the tiniest errors embedded in it.
The best way to proof your term paper is to read it backward, read it out loud, and running it on software tools like Grammarly.
It’s tough, but it helps you write a high-quality term paper that will get you higher grades, and help you excel in your academic career.