The Basics of How to Write a Term Paper Outline in no Time

The Basics of How to Write a Term Paper Outline in no Time

Term paper assignments are a common task in college. To score high in your term papers, you must adhere to the instructions of your tutor and adopt a good term paper outline. A term paper outline acts like your compass throughout the writing process. It shows all the points you intend to discuss in your paper. Among other things, your teacher will insist that you develop an outline before you start writing to guide you on elements to add or eliminate from your work. This guide gives you basic instructions of how to write a term paper outline. Read on to find out more.

A simplified method of how to write a term paper outline

Do not be in a hurry to start working on your paper before you understand a roadmap of your paper. Think about the topic you are tackling, the main points the materials you have. Again, sort your material in different groups, which will form sections and subsections of your outline.

Regardless of the type of term paper you are working on, your outline should capture the following elements:

Introduction – This is where you state the purpose of your paper. Your first paragraph also gives background information on the topic. Do not write a long intro. It is recommended that your introduction should be 10% of the entire paper.

As the first part of your paper, make it appealing and attractive to the reader. Begin in a manner that piques the reader’s interest as you wet their appetite. This will ensure that they develop the urge to proceed to subsequent chapters until they get to the conclusion. End your introduction with a thesis statement.

The body paragraphs – This section bears the meat of your term paper. It has headings and subheadings, which will help you, organize your ideas logically. As you think about how to write a term paper outline, reflect on the evidence you will need to support your argument.

Ensure that you link of these sections to your main topic and your thesis statement. You can organize your body paragraphs as follows:

    • Heading 1: Background of the problem
    • Heading 2: Magnitude of the problem
    • Heading 3: Effects of the problem
    • Heading 4: Possible Future Solutions

Conclusion – This is the last part of your term paper. Wrap up your main idea. Try the following tricks when developing your conclusion:

  • Restate your thesis – Go back to your introduction and rewords your thesis statement
  • Make recommendations – Your reader wants to know the way forward.
  • Call to action – Challenge your audience to do something in addressing the problem, which you have discussed.

With this introduction, let us look at an example of a term paper outline:

Example #1: Term paper Outline

This example shows key elements to include in your term paper outline:


This is a short description of your paper. Capture the issue or problem, its significance and your findings. It is a sneak preview of your work.


  • State the issue at hand
  • Literature review: Show what other writers say on the problem.
  • Why is this problem important?
  • What is your solution to the problem?


  • How did you collect your data?
  • What do you learn from the data? Is it relevant to your problem?
  • How did you utilize the data in your paper?


  • What did you gathers during your survey?
  • Did your findings provide answers to research questions?


  • What is the meaning of your findings
  • Give a summary of important findings
  • Draw conclusions from your results
  • State the application of your findings in the real world
  • State the limitations of your results


Wrap up your paper


Acknowledge every source you consulted by giving bibliographical information on a well-formatted reference page.

This example should give you a hint of how to write a term paper outline very fast. Are you still finding difficulties? Let us look at other sections:

Rules of how to write a term paper outline

An outline is a blueprint or plan to follow as you develop your term paper. It helps you organize your ideas and arguments making it easier to understand your piece. Furthermore, if you have a good outline, you are likely to conduct an effective research because you already know what you intend to include in your paper.

The following steps will help you come up with a good outline whenever you are working on your term papers. Remember to consult with your professor before you start working on your assignment for any clarifications.

Writing a good term paper Outline

Step 1: Review your assignment. Go over the instructions and make sure you understand everything. Do not hesitate to make inquiries. As you review the assignment, take note of the format, which your lecturer wants you to follow.

Step 2: Choose a topic to work on – You will get a research topic from your teacher or you will have the freedom to settle on one. Even where you have a topic, you will have to decide the angle of your paper.

The secret of how to write a term paper outline is having a good topic. As you choose your topic, keep the following in mind:

  1. Choose something you love – It is easy to write about an area that you enjoy than picking on something you have scanty information.
  2. Choose a topic with sources – Go for a topic that has literature. Do not go for topics, which are abstract and no one has written anything on the issue.
  • Consider the scope of your topic – Avoid too narrow and too broad topics. Limit your topic to allow you enough time to handle.

Step 3: Do your research – A good term paper depends on the depth of research. Gather enough material before you make an outline of your paper. As you research, you are likely to discover other perspectives on the issue. Divide your materials into groups, which will form subheadings of your paper.

Where to find information:

  1. Visit the library – The library is a resource center. Engage the services of the librarian and find out different publications on the topic.
  2. Surf the net – The internet will give you general information on the topic. Consult reliable sites, including government websites, online libraries and university sites.
  • Keep track of your sources – remember you will need these sources as you draft your paper.

Step 4: Develop your thesis statement – Thesis will give you direction and ensure that you do not go off the tangent as you write.

With these hints of how to write a term paper outline, let us consider another example. Keep reading…

Example 2: Term Paper Outline

This sample, Canadian Industrial Relations captures important elements, which we have discussed in this guide. The writer begins by introducing the issue of industrial relations, before moving to the need for workers to belong in unions.

The outline of this paper has the following components:

Topic – Canadian Industrial Relations


Background information on industrial relations

Body paragraphs:

Role of workers unions in Nova Scotia Economy

Right to strike

Contract negotiations

Improving workers rights



More tips on how to write a term paper outline

Do you always bypass an outline when working on your term paper? Well, this could be the reason why you never impress your professor. An outline allows you to think through your topic before you start writing.

Be flexible to make changes so that the rest of the paper and your outline harmonize.

Having discussed the process of how to write a term paper outline, let us examine the benefits of outlining your paper.

Importance of a term paper outline

Saves time – You will spend less time researching and drafting your paper when you have a good outline.

You can improve it – Once you have completed your paper, revisit your outline and adjust it to be in line with the rest of your paper. Go over your outline a few times and see what you can add or remove to improve it.

You will capture everything – The essence of having a good outline is to ensure that you include important elements in your paper.

Improves the flow An outline makes your ideas flow logically

We hope that that these principles of how to write a term paper outline will be helpful. Find more examples below.

Example #3: Sample Term paper outlines

The following papers have great outlines, take a look…

  • Frederick Douglass
  • Comparison of Leadership Styles
  • BP Oil Spill: Major Public Relations Issue

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