Term Paper Writing: Organizing Your Ideas

Writing a term paper should place a writer in a situation where they can best express their thoughts and ideas about their chosen subject. To most writers, this is relatively simple to accomplish. Some writers, however, need some guidance to help them effective write their term papers.

This usually involves the organizational aspect of writing a term paper. Believe it or not, term papers require a lot of organization to pull off. The nature of researching many resources, compiling that information and later interpreting it need organization. Otherwise, it gets too confusing for some writers to complete their work.

While other aspects of writing a term paper, it's pretty simple to organize your ideas before getting started. Once you sort your ideas into an easily interpretable way, writing the actual paper will become surprisingly easier.

Organizing your ideas for a term paper

Term papers present information in a concise and convincing way to readers. As the writer, you have to organize the information yourself, in a way that will help you convey that to them. There are actually several methods that writers use to organize ideas and information before writing a term paper.


Outlines are a classic way to organize ideas for any written work, including term papers. Outlines are pretty much a 'skeleton' of ideas that can help you chronologically plan what you want to 'say' within your term paper.

Some writers, however, prefer not to use an outline, as it might be too rigid of a guideline for how they write. All writers should at least give outlines a shot before trying something that might suit them better.

Note cards

Note cards can help writers organize ideas in a less rigid outline. Since they're more physical than a standard outline, you can actually 'move' them around if you feel like certain ideas work in another order than others. Lots of writers use note cards to plot many written works, including term papers.

While note cards work for a lot of writers, others might find them an inconvenience. Ultimately, there are ways to keep note cards more organized, such as note card binders, sleeves, rubber bands and manilla envelopes.

Bookmarking (clipping)

While not the most economical way, you can highlight, clip and bookmark relevant information from various resources to collect data. Even though this method is best known for its physical origins with books, periodicals and other physical media, you can accomplish this online, too.

This method of collecting ideas is relatively disorganized when compared to the others, though for some writers, it allows them to actually see the information they need in its relevant context, which goes a long way in helping them craft a convincing argument in their term paper.