Depending on the discipline or area of study you write your assignment in, your term paper will have some general formatting rules you need to follow to ensure you meet the minimum requirements of an assignment. You should always consult with your instructor to be sure, but you can generally follow these 10 basic tips that are correct across all disciplines:
Your term paper should usually start with a short abstract (about a paragraph long) which briefly but accurately describes what your entire work is about. This will allow other researchers quickly evaluate your work to see if it will be of any use towards their own research.
Your introduction is separate from your abstract and should provide some background on your topic. It should also provide a brief reason why you have chosen your topic and why your work is so important. Your thesis statement should close your introduction and state concisely what your central argument you are making.
The next section of your term paper needs to point out what research methods you have followed to conduct your work. You do this in order to allow for other academics to conduct their own work independently and arrive at similar results.
Your discussion is the main part of your term paper. Each paragraph should discuss a single topic and contain related supporting evidence that proves your thesis statement. It’s best to keep paragraphs to single ideas in order to prevent any confusion on the part of your reader.
This section deals with the results of your study. It should present conclusions exactly as they appear, even if they disprove your original hypothesis or thesis statement. Be sure to include any data you have that presents an explanation to how you’ve arrived to these particular results.
Citations are extremely important in academic works. But you have to make sure that you understand how to insert them properly. Any idea, data, quote, or paraphrase that is taken from another writer, researcher, or any other source must be given credit. Each discipline will have its own citation format so be sure to pick up a guide to make sure you are inserting them properly.
Continuing on the tip listed above there is a right way and a wrong way to use quotations. Too many students make the mistake of over-using quotes to pad their term papers. You should try your best to paraphrase as much as possible instead of using long quotes to break up your original thought or idea.
Using “to be” verbs is a quick way to have points removed from your overall grade in any kind of writing assignment. These are all forms of a state of being which are considered passive and vague in most instances in which they are used.
Papers with spelling errors can be extremely annoying to your readers. Don’t simply utilize your computer’s spellcheck to correct your paper; print out your term paper and do a first-hand check for spelling errors.
Lastly, be sure to check for all of the finishing touches such as page numbers, margins, line spaces and more. At the very least your paper should be consistent throughout so choose a formatting style and stick with it.
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