A Quick Guide To Term Paper Writing: Learning The Essentials


There are a few tricks to learning how to write a term paper. As you go through your first paper consider the following tips:

  • Find out if the teacher wants the paper APA or MLA-it does matter
  • Once you know if it is MLA or APA: find a comprehensive guide
  • Always use size 12 font
  • Always use a simple font like Arial
  • Always double space
  • Find out if the teacher wants a bibliography or a Works Cited: there is a big difference between the two papers
  • Find out if the reference page (bibliography or works cited) needs to be annotated
  • If you are going to use a writing tutor: hire him or her now and set up your needed appointments
  • Go for all of your teacher extra help appointments
  • Ask questions in class
  • If your school has a writing lab or peer tutoring, use those tools
  • Make your research, writing, and due dates schedule now
  • Stick to your schedule
  • Make sure you use valid and credible data bases
  • Find out if you need an outline (you should use one even if you are not required to make one)
  • If you have to make an outline: find out if it topic or sentence form
  • Find out if you are required to turn in a rough draft and then a corrected final draft
  • Find out if the teacher will want hard copies of all of your sources
  • Do not miss any deadlines
  • You must know what an intext citation is: and use one every time you use some one else’s information in your paper
  • Put your last name and the page number in the top left corner of each page
  • Do not use a title page but instead a heading on the left side on the first page: Your name, your teacher’s name, the date, and the class name

The first time you write a research paper, it will seem impossible. Each time you write one after that it will get easier and easier to do. There will be some requirements that are based on whether the paper is APA or MLA, some requirements that are based on your teacher, and some decisions will be driven by your topic. Knowing your teacher’s expectations upfront and knowing all of the rules will help you with the process. Find a good MLA or APA guidebook and print this list to help you as you write your research paper for the first time.