Term papers are a tremendously important part of any college-level academics where one is required to select a topic or work on an assigned topic by engaging in extensive research, finding adequate examples, furnishing his argument with appropriate details as well as leaving something for the reader to find out himself. Before working on the actual term paper it is necessary to create an outline according to which the work shall be carried out. This is indeed helpful to keep the student on track and maintain a certain expected level of organization. Outlines help in lending an overall structure to the term paper so that a logical progression is maintained. Below is a brief summary of how to write a term paper outline. It is always a good idea to go through a couple of term paper outlinesamples to get a feel of it.

Term paper outline template:

Introduction:  All pieces of writing begins with an introduction, however it is not mandatory that it is the first thing which should be written by the student also. One can always work on the body first and then go back and write the introduction if that seems feasible to him.

  • The introduction should begin with a catchy line that grabs the attention of the reader. Some interesting facts, a small anecdote, a famous quote or even a statistic can be appealing to the audience.
  • Any key terms should be defined at the outset if it is required for the understanding of the paper. It just saves words for the main body of the paper.
  • For argumentative papers, any controversial quotes should be avoided. The presence of an anti-thesis paragraph is most recommended for such papers.
  • The introduction should not be more than two pages as the attention of the reader is lost if the introduction drags on for numerous pages. It should be in proportion to the paper, maintaining a balance.
  • It is also advisable not to use too many examples here but rather to save them for the body.
  • Just introducing the topic, providing any background information and setting the ground for the main paper are the elements of a good, neat and compact introduction

It must always be remembered that a good introduction always increases the favours in the author's favour and raised his chances at good grades.

Body:  This is the main part of the paper and decides the actual marks one deserves. One is advised to prepare a structure he is comfortable with. Clarity is the goal and for this it is helpful to have keywords and points as they aid in the progression of the paper.

  • Having a 'contents' is one of the main goals for an outline. By structuring the entire essay or paper into headings/sub-headings and titles/sub-titles, it makes one easier to work and makes the paper appear organised. Also, the reader can always refer to the contents about the chronology of the topics in the paper.
  • The body should be substantiated with valid examples and details. Plagiarism is not tolerated anywhere and therefore, one must always quote and give references or at least a bibliography. They can be inserted as footers at the bottom of every page or at the end of the paper.
  • Notable works of famous authors should be mentioned to give evidence of the student's research and knowledge.
  • Statistics, if any, should be accurate if calculated by self, or the source should be rightly mentioned if borrowed from elsewhere. Such mistakes are severely penalized.
  • To make the paper more attractive, one must embolden or underline headings, give bullets or numbers, and also highlight key points or sub-headings.

Reading a couple of term paper outline examples help forming a clear idea of what is expected.

Conclusion:  Like the introduction, the conclusion must also not be too long. This should include all points in brief and summarize the whole paper without seeming repetitive. It is preferable if the conclusion does not begin with words such as 'thus', 'therefore' or 'so', instead with a comment summarizing the paper. The conclusion should end with a final statement either establishing the point or with a question, leaving the reader to find out more about the topic.

It is recommended that a student is well-versed with the outline for a term paper. And for this it helps to go through sample term paper outline available widely on the internet.