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How to Write a Term Paper Outline

how to write a term paper outline
February 23, 2016

Writing a term paper outline isn’t an easy thing as most students assume. It requires certain skills as well as time on behalf of the one writing a term paper. But before we can move to some practical stuff for developing a term paper outline, it is better to set things right at the very beginning as a lot of people confuse term papers with research papers. These two terms are very similar and even may be used interchangeably in the broad context – both term and research paper can refer to a written research based academic assignment. But term paper specifically refers to an assignment that is due at the end of the term (study year, semester, etc.). The thing is that most term papers are based on a research (not all of them) and that is why some people use these terms interchangeably.

An outline is basically a plan for writing the paper. Writing a term paper outline helps organize thoughts and ideas that are then to be put to writing. In other words, if you know how to write a term paper outline you know the structure and overall format of your paper in advance.

Why Is It Important?

Some people doubt that an outline of term paper is of any importance. There are some who believe one can write an effective term paper without any outlines. We agree! But one can also get from New York to Seattle on a car. But that would be much more of a trouble than using an airplane for the same trip. Writing a term paper outline is the airplane that is meant to get you comfortably to your destination on time.  Here are some reasons why you may want to know how to write a term paper outline and why it is so important:

-          It is meant to show you where you are going and what next steps to be made.

-          It will help you stay focused throughout the process ensuring a good flow of your ideas.

-          It will keep you right on track if you choose to deviate from your subject. This way you will not have anything that is irrelevant on your term paper.

-          An outline can help you stay motivated throughout the writing process as you will see what stage you are at and how many steps are yet to be taken. It is especially true for big projects, such as term papers.

How to Write a Term Paper Outline?

You can search through examples of term paper outlines or even read a comprehensive term paper writing guide but that would probably take a lot of time. If you follow the recommendations listed below it may be just enough to get a good idea about how to write a term paper outline.

  1. Start with a placing title of your outline on the top of the page. It should appear as a heading and should not be very long. Your title should summarize the main point of your term paper.
  2. Introduction. If you want you can just give here a brief comment that should lead into the subject matter of your term paper.
  3. Body. This part should be structured in a bulleted list that are to cover the content of your term paper. In other words, you are to list things you want to say on your paper only in a very condensed format.
  4. Conclusion. That’s where you have to list your rewarded thesis, analytical summary, and a concluding statement.

These are basic components of every term paper outline and how you can organize them. If you take them as a foundation for your term paper then it is very likely you will make your academic life much easier. But in order to make sure you fully understand how to write a term paper outline we decided to provide one sample.

Sample Paper Outline

A Study on the Infant Feeding and Factors Affecting These Practices in New York City

  1. Introduction

    1. Statement of the Problem
    2. Terms and Definitions
    3. Framework: Theory
    4. Research Methods Used
      1. Research Type
      2. Respondents
      3. Survey
    5. Hypothesis
    6. Review of Literature
    7. Limitations
    8. Significance of the Subject and Study
  2. Body

 .         Background of the Research

  1. Breastfeeding Benefits
  2. Recommendations
  3. Breast Milk Substitutes
  4. The Innocent Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding
  5. The Milk Code & Violations
  6. Feeding Formula
  7. Factors Affecting the Decision on Infant Feeding Methods
  8. Presentation and Analysis of Data
    1. Socio-economic Profile of Mothers
    2. Infant Feeding Practices Today
      1. Exclusive Breastfeeding
      2. Mixed Feeding
      3. Feeding Formula
      4. Other Infant Feeding Practices
      5. Correlation Tests
  9. Conclusion

 .         Concluding Statement

  1. Analytical Summary
  2. Thesis Reworded
  3. Recommendations

Final Remarks

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive outline but it can give you a good idea about how you should develop the one for yourself. As you can see, it can serve as a guide to writing the whole term paper and if written properly it will help you develop a well-structured writing. As you may have guessed, writing an outline at the very first stage would be a huge mistake. The first stage of writing any term paper would be to study the material available and conduct a research. It is only when you have done that and you know what your paper will roughly look like at the end, you can start developing an outline.

Since it is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of a term paper there is no reason to explain why having a well-written final paper matters so much. What you may don’t know is that students who have a well-prepared outline usually end up having great term papers. If you still don’t really understand how an outline should be written you can search for more examples online. There are plenty of helpful articles on writing term paper outlines available free of charge. All you need to do is to spend some time reading them. There are also some online companies that provide writing and editing assistance along with live consultations on how to complete academic assignments. Nevertheless, we believe that either with someone’s help or on your own you will develop a great outline and your final term paper.

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