From Topic Selection to Editing and Proofreading: The Complete Guide to Term Paper Writing

As soon as a paper is assigned in class, students should start considering the topic that they want. Beginning a paper early will allow the student to have extra time to research and write their paper. To get started on the writing process, students should consider the following guide to term paper writing.

Finding a Topic

In some cases, the student will be lucky enough to have a teacher-assigned topic. Many teachers, however, like to have students pick a topic. For these papers, students will have to immediately begin brainstorming different topic ideas. The topic must be broad enough for students to fill the length requirement with relevant information. It must also be narrow enough for the student to finish their argument adequately within a few pages.

Identify the Audience

Each paper is written to a specific audience. In some cases, the student will only be writing to the instructor. For more serious paper assignments, the student will be writing to a team of academicians or even the members of an academic conference. The audience of a paper will determine the style and word choice that the student uses.

Step Into the Research Process

Before students can write out their argument, they have to find evidence that supports their ideas. During the research process, students may end up fine-tuning their thesis or even changing their argument completely. For the best paper, students should make sure to use scholarly articles and high-quality sources. The teacher will look at the paper's sources, so students cannot just submit a random website.


It may take extra time initially, but an outline will allow the student to complete their paper faster. An outline basically serves as a map or guide for the essay. In the outline, the student will logically order the argument into paragraphs. They should write out different quotes or research that will support each point. Every academic paper should always have an outline because it simplifies the writing process. It is far easier for the student to change the order of the argument or add paragraphs in an outline than it is in an actual essay.

Drafting the Paper

A first draft should never be turned in as the final version of a paper. Students should be prepared to print out multiple drafts of their essay. In each draft, they should edit for ideas, grammar errors and logical flaws. Once they have edited the first draft, they should print out another draft and start editing again. One of the most time consuming parts of writing a paper is editing, but it is also the most important.