term paper outline

How to write a term paper outline

To begin with, it is a common knowledge that creating an outline for a term paper is considered to be one of the key processes of the prewriting stage. In general, there are various types of the outlines that include a research outline, working outline, draft outline, and formal outline. However, if you are assigned to write a term paper outline, it is highly recommended to create a working outline. Surfing the internet, you can come across various manuals that help how to create the outline. According to the survey, samples are hard to understand. The students are discouraged in their success as the material is unknown. In order to avoid such case, we offer you to read the given below information. We have submitted the key points that are essential while writing an outline. So, do not hesitate and use them.

So, what is an outline for a term paper? Have you ever heard about it? Most students are confused about it. And how you can write a term paper outline? Nowadays, you can find different explanation to it. Generally speaking, a term paper outline is regarded as a plan for your paper that helps you order all the thoughts and arguments in a logical sequence.


Although an effective outline brings the students a number of significant benefits, still, the majority of college undergraduates faces some challenges while completing this academic assignment. The reason for this issue is the fact that the major number of them does not know how to write a term paper outline.

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How to Start Writing a Term Paper Outline?

  1. Doing Preliminary Research. In general, it is important to do a particular research before writing an outline for a term paper. Indeed, students should have a good understanding of a topic they are going to discuss in their papers.
  2. Identifying a Thesis Statement. After the preliminary research, it is highly recommended to identify a thesis statement that is one of the key elements of every academic writing. In fact, a thesis statement is considered to be the main idea of any essay, research paper, or term paper.
  3. Identifying Several Supporting Points. While preparing an outline for a term paper, it is required to choose some statements or arguments that would either support or deny your thesis statement.
  4. Think of Subtopics or Subcategories. Having identified the main idea of a paper as well as the main arguments that will be used in the academic writing, you have to think about the general structure of a term paper. In this case, you should think not only about the main parts of a research paper but also about some subcategories.
  5. Start Drafting a Term Paper. Nedless to say, that draft is an important element of every college paper that is created during the prewriting stage. While preparing a draft, you order all the points and arguments in the coherent and logical sequence. We should not underestimate the role of draft as it helps to collect the thoughts and imagine the structure of the future writing.
  6. Importance of Credible Sources. The last but not least tip that should be mentioned is the fact that every essay, research paper, and term paper requires the use of credible and reliable sources. Do not forget to cite all the materials you have used while writing your paper.

General Structure of a Term Paper Outline

If you still ask yourself how to write an outline for your term paper, it is highly recommended to read this part of writing. After reading the following passages, you will have an opportunity to understand the general structure of this kind of academic writing assignment. Generally speaking, the basic components of any term paper outline should include an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion.



This is the opening part of any writing. Depending on the type of the paper, its structure may also be changed. However, an introduction is the important element of a term paper outline that should include the following elements:

  • Attention Grabber. Usually, attention grabber is considered to be the first sentence of the introductive part. The primary purpose of this element is to cause the readers’ interest and make them read the whole papers.
  • Issues Overview. In this case, you have to mention everything discussed in the paper.
  • Key Terminology. Do not forget to list all the key terms that are required for the better understanding of a given topic.
  • Background Information. When the writers provide their readers with a background information, they are given a great chance to have a better understanding of all the materials introduced in the following parts of the paper.
  • Thesis Statement. As it was mentioned above, an effective thesis statement is one of the critical elements of a successful term paper. In general, it can be observed as one or two sentences at the end of the paragraph.


Main Body

In fact, the main body includes several paragraphs that comprise the basis of any academic writing assignment. Usually, this section of a term paper outline has the following functions:

  • It clearly presents the main arguments that can be found in the paper;
  • It gives particular examples and details to explain the arguments mentioned above;
  • It provides a number of evidence taken from different credible sources.
  • In this case, the notion of evidence implies the use of quotations and paraphrasing to support particular arguments.


This part is considered to be a closing section of any essay, research paper, or term paper. How to write a good conclusion of a term paper outline? An effective conclusion should:

  • restate a thesis statement using different words;
  • summarize each point used in the writing assignment and do not pay attention to the details;
  • provide a list of consequences that is required for writing an argumentative paper.

Moreover, this section of the paper should end up with a strong clincher statement.