How to write a term paper outline: practice makes perfect

A term paper can be a lot of pressure and really stressful. The key to a good term paper is preparation! If you are completely prepared you are much more likely to do well on it. An outline is a great way to be prepared. Having a ritual for your term paper outline is very helpful. Doing the same steps over and over helps them to become second nature to you and causes you less stress in the long run. A lot of people see an outline as an extra step but really it is an important step that some leave out. So how do you create the ritual you will use and what are the best steps to take?

Outline steps

  • Do all of your research first
  • Create the outline in the correct order
  • Use the outline as a guide for your term paper

Research comes first

If you do all of your research before you start the outline you will be better off. Take good notes while you research and paraphrase in your notes to avoid unintended plagiarism. This way if you copy your own notes word for word it is okay. Take long notes with full ideas. Anything you intend to use should go into your notes.

First things first

Writing a standard outline is easy. Everyone knows what they look like. They are pretty basic in design. Doing it in order, for example putting the introduction first and then the body paragraphs should be outlines in order of how they will be written. Also, information in each section should be listed in the order that you will write it. This creates a blueprint for your term paper. It will make the writing much easier and flow better because all of the information you need is right there in order.

Use it or lose it

The whole point of taking these steps is to create an outline that works for you. It should make writing easier. If you don’t use it as if it is a pre-paper summary, than it does you no good. Pretend that the outline is the abbreviated paper and use the research and ideas you already have in the outline to help you write it. Just expand on every idea and increase the amount of information. By the end the outline should directly reflect what the paper looks like otherwise what good did it do you. Let it work for you.

Outlines can be of great help and inspiration if you let them. Doing everything in the correct order and every time makes it a lot easier. This is one way to take some of the pressure off and know that you are covered because you know you have done the work.