The Parts Of A College Term Paper: An Overview

You will have to write dozens of term papers in your college career, so it will benefit you to learn a simple formulaic approach to them. While the content will be different for all of them, and the style of formatting the paper and citations will vary some, if you can reduce the general approach and parts of the paper to a formula that you can always apply, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and work. The basic idea of this is that you will have a general outline that you can plug your information, notes, and sources into for each paper. Of course, depending on the specifics of the paper you may find yourself wanting to change it a bit—perhaps changing the order of body paragraphs. But you will still have the basic formula to go off of.

Here is a quick overview of the different parts of a college term paper:

  • - Introduction
  • It is often taught that you should think of your introduction as a funnel: starting off broad then moving to specific. That isn’t a bad idea, but one mistake that students can make is to start off too broad. Try not to start your introduction with grand sweeping statements about the world. Instead, start off halfway down the funnel, where it is still a bit broad, but you can see the end point from it.

  • - Thesis statement
  • The bottom tip of your introduction is your thesis statement. This should be a one sentence statement that sums up the main point or argument of your paper. By just reading this sentence your reader should have a rough idea of what the rest of the paper is going to be about.

  • - Body Paragraphs
  • The number of body paragraphs can range from 2 or 3 to 12 or 13, depending on the length and scope of your paper. In your body paragraphs you should present your information and evidence to support your thesis statement.

  • - Rebuttal
  • If you are writing a paper with a strong argument, you may want to include a rebuttal where you address some of the opposing arguments that could be made.

  • - Conclusion
  • Your conclusion will essentially be a summary of the rest of your paper. One important thing to keep in mind with it is that you shouldn’t be presenting any new information in it. Also, try to show your reader why the topic of your paper is important.