Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts
Writing a Research Paper
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.
Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
The pages in this section provide detailed information about how to write research papers including discussing research papers as a genre, choosing topics, and finding sources.
The Research Paper
There will come a time in most students' careers when they are assigned a research paper. Such an assignment often creates a great deal of unneeded anxiety in the student, which may result in procrastination and a feeling of confusion and inadequacy. This anxiety frequently stems from the fact that many students are unfamiliar and inexperienced with this genre of writing. Never fear—inexperience and unfamiliarity are situations you can change through practice! Writing a research paper is an essential aspect of academics and should not be avoided on account of one's anxiety. In fact, the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics. What is more, many students will continue to do research throughout their careers, which is one of the reasons this topic is so important.
Becoming an experienced researcher and writer in any field or discipline takes a great deal of practice. There are few individuals for whom this process comes naturally. Remember, even the most seasoned academic veterans have had to learn how to write a research paper at some point in their career. Therefore, with diligence, organization, practice, a willingness to learn (and to make mistakes!), and, perhaps most important of all, patience, students will find that they can achieve great things through their research and writing.
The pages in this section cover the following topic areas related to the process of writing a research paper:
- Genre - This section will provide an overview for understanding the difference between an analytical and argumentative research paper.
- Choosing a Topic - This section will guide the student through the process of choosing topics, whether the topic be one that is assigned or one that the student chooses themselves.
- Identifying an Audience - This section will help the student understand the often times confusing topic of audience by offering some basic guidelines for the process.
- Where Do I Begin - This section concludes the handout by offering several links to resources at Purdue, and also provides an overview of the final stages of writing a research paper.
Essay and dissertation writing skills
Planning your essay
Writing your introduction
Structuring your essay
- Writing essays in science subjects
- Brief video guides to support essay planning and writing
- Writing extended essays and dissertations
- Planning your dissertation writing time
Structuring your dissertation
- Top tips for writing longer pieces of work
Advice on planning and writing essays and dissertations
University essays differ from school essays in that they are less concerned with what you know and more concerned with how you construct an argument to answer the question. This means that the starting point for writing a strong essay is to first unpick the question and to then use this to plan your essay before you start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).
A really good starting point for you are these short, downloadable Tips for Successful Essay Writing and Answering the Question resources. Both resources will help you to plan your essay, as well as giving you guidance on how to distinguish between different sorts of essay questions.
You may find it helpful to watch this seven-minute video on six tips for essay writing which outlines how to interpret essay questions, as well as giving advice on planning and structuring your writing:
Different disciplines will have different expectations for essay structure and you should always refer to your Faculty or Department student handbook or course Canvas site for more specific guidance.
However, broadly speaking, all essays share the following features:
Essays need an introduction to establish and focus the parameters of the discussion that will follow. You may find it helpful to divide the introduction into areas to demonstrate your breadth and engagement with the essay question. You might define specific terms in the introduction to show your engagement with the essay question; for example, ‘This is a large topic which has been variously discussed by many scientists and commentators. The principle tension is between the views of X and Y who define the main issues as…’ Breadth might be demonstrated by showing the range of viewpoints from which the essay question could be considered; for example, ‘A variety of factors including economic, social and political, influence A and B. This essay will focus on the social and economic aspects, with particular emphasis on…..’
Watch this two-minute video to learn more about how to plan and structure an introduction:
The main body of the essay should elaborate on the issues raised in the introduction and develop an argument(s) that answers the question. It should consist of a number of self-contained paragraphs each of which makes a specific point and provides some form of evidence to support the argument being made. Remember that a clear argument requires that each paragraph explicitly relates back to the essay question or the developing argument.
- Conclusion: An essay should end with a conclusion that reiterates the argument in light of the evidence you have provided; you shouldn’t use the conclusion to introduce new information.
- References: You need to include references to the materials you’ve used to write your essay. These might be in the form of footnotes, in-text citations, or a bibliography at the end. Different systems exist for citing references and different disciplines will use various approaches to citation. Ask your tutor which method(s) you should be using for your essay and also consult your Department or Faculty webpages for specific guidance in your discipline.
Essay writing in science subjects
If you are writing an essay for a science subject you may need to consider additional areas, such as how to present data or diagrams. This five-minute video gives you some advice on how to approach your reading list, planning which information to include in your answer and how to write for your scientific audience – the video is available here:
A PDF providing further guidance on writing science essays for tutorials is available to download.
Short videos to support your essay writing skills
There are many other resources at Oxford that can help support your essay writing skills and if you are short on time, the Oxford Study Skills Centre has produced a number of short (2-minute) videos covering different aspects of essay writing, including:
- Approaching different types of essay questions
- Structuring your essay
- Writing an introduction
- Making use of evidence in your essay writing
- Writing your conclusion
Extended essays and dissertations
Longer pieces of writing like extended essays and dissertations may seem like quite a challenge from your regular essay writing. The important point is to start with a plan and to focus on what the question is asking. A PDF providing further guidance on planning Humanities and Social Science dissertations is available to download.
Planning your time effectively
Try not to leave the writing until close to your deadline, instead start as soon as you have some ideas to put down onto paper. Your early drafts may never end up in the final work, but the work of committing your ideas to paper helps to formulate not only your ideas, but the method of structuring your writing to read well and conclude firmly.
Although many students and tutors will say that the introduction is often written last, it is a good idea to begin to think about what will go into it early on. For example, the first draft of your introduction should set out your argument, the information you have, and your methods, and it should give a structure to the chapters and sections you will write. Your introduction will probably change as time goes on but it will stand as a guide to your entire extended essay or dissertation and it will help you to keep focused.
The structure of extended essays or dissertations will vary depending on the question and discipline, but may include some or all of the following:
- The background information to - and context for - your research. This often takes the form of a literature review.
- Explanation of the focus of your work.
- Explanation of the value of this work to scholarship on the topic.
- List of the aims and objectives of the work and also the issues which will not be covered because they are outside its scope.
The main body of your extended essay or dissertation will probably include your methodology, the results of research, and your argument(s) based on your findings.
The conclusion is to summarise the value your research has added to the topic, and any further lines of research you would undertake given more time or resources.
Tips on writing longer pieces of work
Approaching each chapter of a dissertation as a shorter essay can make the task of writing a dissertation seem less overwhelming. Each chapter will have an introduction, a main body where the argument is developed and substantiated with evidence, and a conclusion to tie things together. Unlike in a regular essay, chapter conclusions may also introduce the chapter that will follow, indicating how the chapters are connected to one another and how the argument will develop through your dissertation.
For further guidance, watch this two-minute video on writing longer pieces of work .
Systems & Services
Access Student Self Service
- Student Self Service
- Self Service guide
- Registration guide
- Libraries search
- OXCORT - see TMS
- GSS - see Student Self Service
- The Careers Service
- Oxford University Sport
- Online store
- Gardens, Libraries and Museums
- Researchers Skills Toolkit
- LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com)
- Access Guide
- Lecture Lists
- Exam Papers (OXAM)
- Oxford Talks
Latest student news
CAN'T FIND WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR?
Try our extensive database of FAQs or submit your own question...
Ask a question
- Utility Menu
- Questions about Expos?
- Writing Support for Instructors
Strategies for Essay Writing
- Tips for Reading an Assignment Prompt
- Asking Analytical Questions
- What Do Introductions Across the Disciplines Have in Common?
- Anatomy of a Body Paragraph
- Tips for Organizing Your Essay
- Strategies for Essay Writing: Downloadable PDFs
- Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines
- Schedule an Appointment
- English Grammar and Language Tutor
- Drop-in hours
- Harvard Guide to Using Sources
- Departmental Writing Fellows
- Writing Advice: The Harvard Writing Tutor Blog
OASIS: Writing Center
Writing a paper: outlining, outlining strategies.
Outlining your first draft by listing each paragraph's topic sentence can be an easy way to ensure that each of your paragraphs is serving a specific purpose in your paper. You may find opportunities to combine or eliminate potential paragraphs when outlining—first drafts often contain repetitive ideas or sections that stall, rather than advance, the paper's central argument .
Additionally, if you are having trouble revising a paper, making an outline of each paragraph and its topic sentence after you have written your paper can be an effective way of identifying a paper's strengths and weaknesses.
The following outline is for a 5-7 page paper discussing the link between educational attainment and health. Review the other sections of this page for more detailed information about each component of this outline!
A. Current Problem: Educational attainment rates are decreasing in the United States while healthcare costs are increasing. B. Population/Area of Focus: Unskilled or low-skilled adult workers C. Key Terms: healthy, well-educated Thesis Statement: Because of their income deficit (cite sources) and general susceptibility to depression (cite sources), students who drop out of high school before graduation maintain a higher risk for physical and mental health problems later in life.
A. Historical Employment Overview: Unskilled laborers in the past were frequently unionized and adequately compensated for their work (cite sources). B. Historical Healthcare Overview: Unskilled laborers in the past were often provided adequate healthcare and benefits (cite sources). C. Current Link between Education and Employment Type: Increasingly, uneducated workers work in unskilled or low-skilled jobs (cite sources). D. Gaps in the Research: Little information exists exploring the health implications of the current conditions in low-skilled jobs.
III. Major Point 1: Conditions of employment affect workers' physical health.
A. Minor Point 1: Unskilled work environments are correlated highly with worker injury (cite sources). B. Minor Point 2: Unskilled work environments rarely provide healthcare or adequate injury recovery time (cite sources).
IV. Major Point 2: Conditions of employment affect workers' mental health
A. Minor Point 1: Employment in a low-skilled position is highly correlated with dangerous levels of stress (cite sources). B. Minor Point 2: Stress is highly correlated with mental health issues (cite sources).
V. Major Point 3: Physical health and mental health correlate directly with one another.
A. Minor Point 1: Mental health problems and physical health problems are highly correlated (cite sources). B. Minor Point 2: Stress manifests itself in physical form (cite sources)
VI. Major Point 4: People with more financial worries have more stress and worse physical health.
A. Minor Point 1: Many high-school dropouts face financial problems (cite sources). B. Minor Point 2: Financial problems are often correlated with unhealthy lifestyle choices such unhealthy food choices, overconsumption/abuse of alcohol, chain smoking, abusive relationships, etc. (cite sources).
A. Restatement of Thesis: Students who drop out of high school are at a higher risk for both mental and physical health problems throughout their lives. B. Next Steps: Society needs educational advocates; educators need to be aware of this situation and strive for student retention in order to promote healthy lifestyles and warn students of the risks associated with dropping out of school.
Your introduction provides context to your readers to prepare them for your paper's argument or purpose. An introduction should begin with discussion of your specific topic (not a broad background overview) and provide just enough context (definitions of key terms, for example) to prepare your readers for your thesis or purpose statement.
Sample Introduction/Context: If the topic of your paper is the link between educational attainment and health, your introduction might do the following: (a) establish the population you are discussing, (b) define key terms such as healthy and well-educated , or (c) justify the discussion of this topic by pointing out a connection to a current problem that your paper will help address.
A thesis or purpose statement should come at the end of your introduction and state clearly and concisely what the purpose or central argument of your paper is. The introduction prepares your reader for this statement, and the rest of the paper follows in support of it.
Sample Thesis Statement: Because of their income deficit (Smith, 2010) and general susceptibility to depression (Jones, 2011), students who drop out of high school before graduation maintain a higher risk for physical and mental health problems later in life.
After the initial introduction, background on your topic often follows. This paragraph or section might include a literature review surveying the current state of knowledge on your topic or simply a historical overview of relevant information. The purpose of this section is to justify your own project or paper by pointing out a gap in the current research which your work will address.
Sample Background: A background section on a paper on education and health might include an overview of recent research in this area, such as research on depression or on decreasing high school graduation rates.
Major & Minor Points
Major points are the building blocks of your paper. Major points build on each other, moving the paper forward and toward its conclusion. Each major point should be a clear claim that relates to the central argument of your paper.
Sample Major Point: Employment and physical health may be a good first major point for this sample paper. Here, a student might discuss how dropping out of high school often leads to fewer employment opportunities, and those employment opportunities that are available tend to be correlated with poor work environments and low pay.
Minor points are subtopics within your major points. Minor points develop the nuances of your major points but may not be significant enough to warrant extended attention on their own. These may come in the form of statistics, examples from your sources, or supporting ideas.
Sample Minor Point: A sample minor point of the previous major point (employment and physical health) might address worker injury or the frequent lack of health insurance benefits offered by low-paying employers.
The rest of the body of your paper will be made up of more major and minor points. Each major point should advance the paper's central argument, often building on the previous points, until you have provided enough evidence and analysis to justify your paper's conclusion.
More Major and Minor Points: In this paper, more major points might include mental health of high school dropouts, healthcare access for dropouts, and correlation between mental and physical health. Minor topics could include specific work environments, job satisfaction in various fields, and correlation between depression and chronic illness.
Your conclusion both restates your paper's major claim and ties that claim into a larger discussion. Rather than simply reiterating each major and minor point, quickly revisit your thesis statement and focus on ending the paper by tying your thesis into current research in your field, next steps for other researchers, your broader studies, or other future implications.
Sample Conclusion: For this paper, a conclusion might restate the central argument (the link between lack of education and health issues) and go on to connect that discussion to a larger discussion of the U.S. healthcare or education systems.
Note that this video was created while APA 6 was the style guide edition in use. There may be some examples of writing that have not been updated to APA 7 guidelines.
- Prewriting Demonstrations: Outlining (video transcript)
Didn't find what you need? Search our website or email us .
Read our website accessibility and accommodation statement .
- Previous Page: Brainstorming
- Next Page: Organizing Your Thoughts
- Office of Student Disability Services
- Academic Residencies
- Academic Skills
- Career Planning and Development
- Customer Care Team
- Field Experience
- Military Services
- Student Success Advising
- Writing Skills
Centers and Offices
- Center for Social Change
- Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services
- Office of Degree Acceleration
- Office of Research and Doctoral Services
- Office of Student Affairs
- Doctoral Writing Assessment
- Form & Style Review
- Quick Answers
- SKIL Courses and Workshops
- Walden Bookstore
- Walden Catalog & Student Handbook
- Student Safety/Title IX
- Legal & Consumer Information
- Website Terms and Conditions
- State Authorization
- Net Price Calculator
- Contact Walden
Walden University is a member of Adtalem Global Education, Inc. www.adtalem.com Walden University is certified to operate by SCHEV © 2024 Walden University LLC. All rights reserved.
- Future Students
- International Students
- Current Students
Seven steps to writing a university research paper
Essay writing advice from an academic writing expert.
One of the cornerstones of the university experience is learning how to write a research paper – a written document that organizes and analyzes information you have collected to answer a question of yours or your professor’s choosing. A university research paper is a bit different from your typical high school essay, so we asked John Hill, Coordinator of VIU’s Writing Centre, who has helped thousands of students learn how to write research papers, to break it down into steps.
Step One: Determine the purpose of the paper
A research paper has a PURPOSE, and identifying that purpose is key to the focus of your work.
Step Two: Refine your research question
That focus is given by your RESEARCH QUESTION. Within your topic, what is the thing you want to know that you don’t know? This question is very important because it is what will drive your research. It is why you are doing research. Sometimes your prof will give you this question. Sometimes you will be expected to generate one of your own. But your job is to answer it.
Step Three: Organize your approach
You will decide what kinds of informationyou will need in order to answer that question. Think about how it fits together. This determines the ORGANIZATION of your paper. You may need to do a bit of background reading to get this far. And as you read, this structure may change as you learn more. You can use a mind map to generate these simple categories. They will form the basis of a series of organized single-subtopic paragraphs (you can have more than one paragraph on each sub-topic though, and you may gather multiple related paragraphs under sub-headings). The focus of each paragraph will be identified with a clear topic sentence.
Step Four: Collect information
You will search for this information using the LIBRARY’S ONLINE SEARCH TOOL . You can use a general Internet browser too, but the library gives access to important documents, especially academic journals, that may lurk behind paywalls if you search in Google. This enormous resource is part of what your fees buy for you, so use it! If your prof requires peer-reviewed journal articles this is the best way to do it (the library search has a filter you can use to select only such items). READING this kind of material is a skill. The writers have gone through the kind of process you are going through, so try to figure out their purpose: what is their research question? What are the main components of their paper, what is their argument? Look at their intro; look at their conclusion. It has structure: it is not just a list of stuff….
Step Five: Attribute the information
You will CITE this material from your research as you go. That is, you will inform your reader where this information came from. This answers the important question that your readers will have: “How do you know this?” Having a good answer to this question is what gives your paper credibility, so it’s good for you. It also helps your reader to find that material if they are interested in it, so it’s good for them. AND it prevents you from being accused of plagiarism (passing off others’ work as your own) which is good for us all. There are conventional ways of doing this and they vary from department to department. The three commonest are APA, MLA and Chicago. You can look this up. A good source is The OWL at Purdue . They are basically all quite straightforward: there’s a minimal element in the text with the cited material (author, date) in APA – plus page if useful, (author, page) in MLA, and just a superscript number in Chicago. This leads you to a full reference entry (Who, when, what, where) at the end of your paper (or in the case of Chicago, a numbered footnote at the bottom of the page – or an endnote at the end of the document).
Step Six: Write your conclusion
After you have gone through this process, you should be able to DRAW SOME CONCLUSIONS from the information you have presented and explain how it answers your research question. That is the job of your, surprise, surprise, CONCLUSION.
Step Seven: Refine your thesis statement
It is a convention of the academic paper that you then take a tight, clear statement of that argument, the position your paper is taking, that is, how it is answering the research question, and drop it in at the end of your introduction. We call that your THESIS STATEMENT (the word “thesis” means argument”). And it really helps your reader understand your paper. And since your reader is the prof who is grading the paper, it really helps you too!
Bonus Step: Get help!
Oh, and step eight is of course to come to the Writing Centre (which is operating its sessions online currently) and talk to me or one of the other faculty tutors. Early in your process is best but come at any point. You can make an appointment using our online booking system . We can go through all of these steps in more detail and then get into the specifics of your particular assignment. We are here to help!
John Hill is the Coordinator of VIU’s Writing Centre.
- February 15, 2024 by Eric Zimmer
Studying overseas with international scholarships
Tony miyoshi and sam statchuk share their stories.
- February 12, 2024 by Eric Zimmer
Designing VIU’s next signature chocolate in Paris
Baking and pastry arts student grace poirier shares her story.
- February 7, 2024
VIU Student Pulse News: February 7
Black history month and valentine's day events ❤️.
Got an article idea for the blog? Email [email protected] .
Sign up for our blog
What’s Included: Research Paper Template
If you’re preparing to write an academic research paper, our free research paper template is the perfect starting point. In the template, we cover every section step by step, with clear, straightforward explanations and examples .
The template’s structure is based on the tried and trusted best-practice format for formal academic research papers. The template structure reflects the overall research process, ensuring your paper will have a smooth, logical flow from chapter to chapter.
The research paper template covers the following core sections:
- The title page/cover page
- Abstract (sometimes also called the executive summary)
- Section 1: Introduction
- Section 2: Literature review
- Section 3: Methodology
- Section 4: Findings /results
- Section 5: Discussion
- Section 6: Conclusion
- Reference list
Each section is explained in plain, straightforward language , followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover within each section. We’ve also included links to free resources to help you understand how to write each section.
The cleanly formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.
FAQs: Research Paper Template
What format is the template (doc, pdf, ppt, etc.).
The research paper template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.
What types of research papers can this template be used for?
The template follows the standard best-practice structure for formal academic research papers, so it is suitable for the vast majority of degrees, particularly those within the sciences.
Some universities may have some additional requirements, but these are typically minor, with the core structure remaining the same. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalise your structure.
Is this template for an undergrad, Masters or PhD-level research paper?
This template can be used for a research paper at any level of study. It may be slight overkill for an undergraduate-level study, but it certainly won’t be missing anything.
How long should my research paper be?
This depends entirely on your university’s specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them. We include generic word count ranges for each section within the template, but these are purely indicative.
What about the research proposal?
If you’re still working on your research proposal, we’ve got a template for that here .
We’ve also got loads of proposal-related guides and videos over on the Grad Coach blog .
How do I write a literature review?
We have a wealth of free resources on the Grad Coach Blog that unpack how to write a literature review from scratch. You can check out the literature review section of the blog here.
How do I create a research methodology?
We have a wealth of free resources on the Grad Coach Blog that unpack research methodology, both qualitative and quantitative. You can check out the methodology section of the blog here.
Can I share this research paper template with my friends/colleagues?
Yes, you’re welcome to share this template. If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, all we ask is that you reference this page as your source.
Can Grad Coach help me with my research paper?
Within the template, you’ll find plain-language explanations of each section, which should give you a fair amount of guidance. However, you’re also welcome to consider our private coaching services .
Home » Term Paper – Format, Examples and Writing Guide
Term Paper – Format, Examples and Writing Guide
Table of Contents
Term paper is a type of academic writing assignment that is typically assigned to students at the end of a semester or term. It is usually a research-based paper that is meant to demonstrate the student’s understanding of a particular topic, as well as their ability to analyze and synthesize information from various sources.
Term papers are usually longer than other types of academic writing assignments and can range anywhere from 5 to 20 pages or more, depending on the level of study and the specific requirements of the assignment. They often require extensive research and the use of a variety of sources, including books, articles, and other academic publications.
Term Paper Format
The format of a term paper may vary depending on the specific requirements of your professor or institution. However, a typical term paper usually consists of the following sections:
- Title page: This should include the title of your paper, your name, the course name and number, your instructor’s name, and the date.
- Abstract : This is a brief summary of your paper, usually no more than 250 words. It should provide an overview of your topic, the research question or hypothesis, your methodology, and your main findings or conclusions.
- Introduction : This section should introduce your topic and provide background information on the subject. You should also state your research question or hypothesis and explain the importance of your research.
- Literature review : This section should review the existing literature on your topic. You should summarize the key findings and arguments made by other scholars and identify any gaps in the literature that your research aims to address.
- Methodology: This section should describe the methods you used to collect and analyze your data. You should explain your research design, sampling strategy, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.
- Results : This section should present your findings. You can use tables, graphs, and charts to illustrate your data.
- Discussion : This section should interpret your findings and explain what they mean in relation to your research question or hypothesis. You should also discuss any limitations of your study and suggest areas for future research.
- Conclusion : This section should summarize your main findings and conclusions. You should also restate the importance of your research and its implications for the field.
- References : This section should list all the sources you cited in your paper using a specific citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).
- Appendices : This section should include any additional materials that are relevant to your study but not essential to your main argument (e.g., survey questions, interview transcripts).
Structure of Term Paper
Here’s an example structure for a term paper:
A. Background information on the topic
B. Thesis statement
II. Literature Review
A. Overview of current literature on the topic
B. Discussion of key themes and findings from literature
C. Identification of gaps in current literature
A. Description of research design
B. Discussion of data collection methods
C. Explanation of data analysis techniques
A. Presentation of findings
B. Analysis and interpretation of results
C. Comparison of results with previous studies
A. Summary of key findings
B. Explanation of how results address the research questions
C. Implications of results for the field
A. Recap of key points
B. Significance of findings
C. Future directions for research
A. List of sources cited in the paper
How to Write Term Paper
Here are some steps to help you write a term paper:
- Choose a topic: Choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to your course. If your professor has assigned a topic, make sure you understand it and clarify any doubts before you start.
- Research : Conduct research on your topic by gathering information from various sources such as books, academic journals, and online resources. Take notes and organize your information systematically.
- Create an outline : Create an outline of your term paper by arranging your ideas and information in a logical sequence. Your outline should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
- Write a thesis statement: Write a clear and concise thesis statement that states the main idea of your paper. Your thesis statement should be included in your introduction.
- Write the introduction: The introduction should grab the reader’s attention, provide background information on your topic, and introduce your thesis statement.
- Write the body : The body of your paper should provide supporting evidence for your thesis statement. Use your research to provide details and examples to support your argument. Make sure to organize your ideas logically and use transition words to connect paragraphs.
- Write the conclusion : The conclusion should summarize your main points and restate your thesis statement. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion.
- Edit and proofread: Edit and proofread your term paper carefully to ensure that it is free of errors and flows smoothly. Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
- Format and cite your sources: Follow the formatting guidelines provided by your professor and cite your sources properly using the appropriate citation style.
- Submit your paper : Submit your paper on time and according to the instructions provided by your professor.
Term Paper Example
Here’s an example of a term paper:
Title : The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity
As the world becomes more digitally interconnected, cybersecurity threats are increasing in frequency and sophistication. Traditional security measures are no longer enough to protect against these threats. This paper explores the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity, including how AI can be used to detect and respond to threats in real-time, the challenges of implementing AI in cybersecurity, and the potential ethical implications of AI-powered security systems. The paper concludes with recommendations for organizations looking to integrate AI into their cybersecurity strategies.
The increasing number of cybersecurity threats in recent years has led to a growing interest in the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve cybersecurity. AI has the ability to analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate a security breach. Additionally, AI can automate responses to threats, allowing for faster and more effective mitigation of security incidents. However, there are also challenges associated with implementing AI in cybersecurity, such as the need for large amounts of high-quality data, the potential for AI systems to make mistakes, and the ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI in security.
This section of the paper reviews existing research on the use of AI in cybersecurity. It begins by discussing the types of AI techniques used in cybersecurity, including machine learning, natural language processing, and neural networks. The literature review then explores the advantages of using AI in cybersecurity, such as its ability to detect previously unknown threats and its potential to reduce the workload of security analysts. However, the review also highlights some of the challenges associated with implementing AI in cybersecurity, such as the need for high-quality training data and the potential for AI systems to be fooled by sophisticated attacks.
To better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with using AI in cybersecurity, this paper conducted a survey of cybersecurity professionals working in a variety of industries. The survey included questions about the types of AI techniques used in their organizations, the challenges they faced when implementing AI in cybersecurity, and their perceptions of the ethical implications of using AI in security.
The results of the survey showed that while many organizations are interested in using AI in cybersecurity, they face several challenges when implementing these systems. These challenges include the need for high-quality training data, the potential for AI systems to be fooled by sophisticated attacks, and the difficulty of integrating AI with existing security systems. Additionally, many respondents expressed concerns about the ethical implications of using AI in security, such as the potential for AI to be biased or to make decisions that are harmful to individuals or society as a whole.
Based on the results of the survey and the existing literature, this paper discusses the potential benefits and risks of using AI in cybersecurity. It also provides recommendations for organizations looking to integrate AI into their security strategies, such as the need to prioritize data quality and to ensure that AI systems are transparent and accountable.
While there are challenges associated with implementing AI in cybersecurity, the potential benefits of using these systems are significant. AI can help organizations detect and respond to threats more quickly and effectively, reducing the risk of security breaches. However, it is important for organizations to be aware of the potential ethical implications of using AI in security and to take steps to ensure that these systems are transparent and accountable.
- Alkhaldi, S., Al-Daraiseh, A., & Lutfiyya, H. (2019). A Survey on Artificial Intelligence Techniques in Cyber Security. Journal of Information Security, 10(03), 191-207.
- Gartner. (2019). Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2020/
- Kshetri, N. (2018). Blockchain’s roles in meeting key supply chain management objectives. International Journal of Information Management, 39, 80-89.
- Lipton, Z. C. (2018). The mythos of model interpretability. arXiv preprint arXiv:1606.03490.
- Schneier, B. (2019). Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World. WW Norton & Company.
- Wahab, M. A., Rahman, M. S., & Islam, M. R. (2020). A Survey on AI Techniques in Cybersecurity. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, 11(2), 22-27.
When to Write Term Paper
A term paper is usually a lengthy research paper that is assigned to students at the end of a term or semester. There are several situations when writing a term paper may be required, including:
- As a course requirement: In most cases, a term paper is required as part of the coursework for a particular course. It may be assigned by the instructor as a way of assessing the student’s understanding of the course material.
- To explore a specific topic : A term paper can be an excellent opportunity for students to explore a specific topic of interest in-depth. It allows them to conduct extensive research on the topic and develop their understanding of it.
- To develop critical thinking skills : Writing a term paper requires students to engage in critical thinking and analysis. It helps them to develop their ability to evaluate and interpret information, as well as to present their ideas in a clear and coherent manner.
- To prepare for future academic or professional pursuits: Writing a term paper can be an excellent way for students to prepare for future academic or professional pursuits. It can help them to develop the research and writing skills necessary for success in higher education or in a professional career.
Purpose of Term Paper
The main purposes of a term paper are:
- Demonstrate mastery of a subject: A term paper provides an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. It requires students to research and analyze the topic, and then present their findings in a clear and organized manner.
- Develop critical thinking skills: Writing a term paper requires students to think critically about their subject matter, analyzing various sources and viewpoints, and evaluating evidence to support their arguments.
- Improve writing skills : Writing a term paper helps students improve their writing skills, including organization, clarity, and coherence. It also requires them to follow specific formatting and citation guidelines, which can be valuable skills for future academic and professional endeavors.
- Contribute to academic discourse : A well-written term paper can contribute to academic discourse by presenting new insights, ideas, and arguments that add to the existing body of knowledge on a particular topic.
- Prepare for future research : Writing a term paper can help prepare students for future research, by teaching them how to conduct a literature review, evaluate sources, and formulate research questions and hypotheses. It can also help them develop research skills that they can apply in future academic or professional endeavors.
Advantages of Term Paper
There are several advantages of writing a term paper, including:
- In-depth exploration: Writing a term paper allows you to delve deeper into a specific topic, allowing you to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.
- Improved writing skills: Writing a term paper involves extensive research, critical thinking, and the organization of ideas into a cohesive written document. As a result, writing a term paper can improve your writing skills significantly.
- Demonstration of knowledge: A well-written term paper demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, which can be beneficial for academic or professional purposes.
- Development of research skills : Writing a term paper requires conducting thorough research, analyzing data, and synthesizing information from various sources. This process can help you develop essential research skills that can be applied in many other areas.
- Enhancement of critical thinking : Writing a term paper encourages you to think critically, evaluate information, and develop well-supported arguments. These skills can be useful in many areas of life, including personal and professional decision-making.
- Preparation for further academic work : Writing a term paper is excellent preparation for more extensive academic projects, such as a thesis or dissertation.
About the author
Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer
You may also like
Position Paper – Example, Format and Writing...
What is Literature – Definition, Types, Examples
What is Science – Definition, Methods, Types
Academic Paper – Format, Example and Writing...
Evolution – Definition, Types and Example
What is Art – Definition, Types, Examples
Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
- How to structure an essay: Templates and tips
How to Structure an Essay | Tips & Templates
Published on September 18, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
The basic structure of an essay always consists of an introduction , a body , and a conclusion . But for many students, the most difficult part of structuring an essay is deciding how to organize information within the body.
Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text
Upload your document to correct all your mistakes in minutes
Table of contents
The basics of essay structure, chronological structure, compare-and-contrast structure, problems-methods-solutions structure, signposting to clarify your structure, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay structure.
There are two main things to keep in mind when working on your essay structure: making sure to include the right information in each part, and deciding how you’ll organize the information within the body.
Parts of an essay
The three parts that make up all essays are described in the table below.
Order of information
You’ll also have to consider how to present information within the body. There are a few general principles that can guide you here.
The first is that your argument should move from the simplest claim to the most complex . The body of a good argumentative essay often begins with simple and widely accepted claims, and then moves towards more complex and contentious ones.
For example, you might begin by describing a generally accepted philosophical concept, and then apply it to a new topic. The grounding in the general concept will allow the reader to understand your unique application of it.
The second principle is that background information should appear towards the beginning of your essay . General background is presented in the introduction. If you have additional background to present, this information will usually come at the start of the body.
The third principle is that everything in your essay should be relevant to the thesis . Ask yourself whether each piece of information advances your argument or provides necessary background. And make sure that the text clearly expresses each piece of information’s relevance.
The sections below present several organizational templates for essays: the chronological approach, the compare-and-contrast approach, and the problems-methods-solutions approach.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
The chronological approach (sometimes called the cause-and-effect approach) is probably the simplest way to structure an essay. It just means discussing events in the order in which they occurred, discussing how they are related (i.e. the cause and effect involved) as you go.
A chronological approach can be useful when your essay is about a series of events. Don’t rule out other approaches, though—even when the chronological approach is the obvious one, you might be able to bring out more with a different structure.
Explore the tabs below to see a general template and a specific example outline from an essay on the invention of the printing press.
- Thesis statement
- Discussion of event/period
- Importance of topic
- Strong closing statement
- Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages
- Background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press
- Thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation
- High levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe
- Literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites
- Consequence: this discouraged political and religious change
- Invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg
- Implications of the new technology for book production
- Consequence: Rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible
- Trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention
- Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation
- Consequence: The large-scale effects the Reformation would have on religion and politics
- Summarize the history described
- Stress the significance of the printing press to the events of this period
Essays with two or more main subjects are often structured around comparing and contrasting . For example, a literary analysis essay might compare two different texts, and an argumentative essay might compare the strengths of different arguments.
There are two main ways of structuring a compare-and-contrast essay: the alternating method, and the block method.
In the alternating method, each paragraph compares your subjects in terms of a specific point of comparison. These points of comparison are therefore what defines each paragraph.
The tabs below show a general template for this structure, and a specific example for an essay comparing and contrasting distance learning with traditional classroom learning.
- Synthesis of arguments
- Topical relevance of distance learning in lockdown
- Increasing prevalence of distance learning over the last decade
- Thesis statement: While distance learning has certain advantages, it introduces multiple new accessibility issues that must be addressed for it to be as effective as classroom learning
- Classroom learning: Ease of identifying difficulties and privately discussing them
- Distance learning: Difficulty of noticing and unobtrusively helping
- Classroom learning: Difficulties accessing the classroom (disability, distance travelled from home)
- Distance learning: Difficulties with online work (lack of tech literacy, unreliable connection, distractions)
- Classroom learning: Tends to encourage personal engagement among students and with teacher, more relaxed social environment
- Distance learning: Greater ability to reach out to teacher privately
- Sum up, emphasize that distance learning introduces more difficulties than it solves
- Stress the importance of addressing issues with distance learning as it becomes increasingly common
- Distance learning may prove to be the future, but it still has a long way to go
In the block method, each subject is covered all in one go, potentially across multiple paragraphs. For example, you might write two paragraphs about your first subject and then two about your second subject, making comparisons back to the first.
The tabs again show a general template, followed by another essay on distance learning, this time with the body structured in blocks.
- Point 1 (compare)
- Point 2 (compare)
- Point 3 (compare)
- Point 4 (compare)
- Advantages: Flexibility, accessibility
- Disadvantages: Discomfort, challenges for those with poor internet or tech literacy
- Advantages: Potential for teacher to discuss issues with a student in a separate private call
- Disadvantages: Difficulty of identifying struggling students and aiding them unobtrusively, lack of personal interaction among students
- Advantages: More accessible to those with low tech literacy, equality of all sharing one learning environment
- Disadvantages: Students must live close enough to attend, commutes may vary, classrooms not always accessible for disabled students
- Advantages: Ease of picking up on signs a student is struggling, more personal interaction among students
- Disadvantages: May be harder for students to approach teacher privately in person to raise issues
An essay that concerns a specific problem (practical or theoretical) may be structured according to the problems-methods-solutions approach.
This is just what it sounds like: You define the problem, characterize a method or theory that may solve it, and finally analyze the problem, using this method or theory to arrive at a solution. If the problem is theoretical, the solution might be the analysis you present in the essay itself; otherwise, you might just present a proposed solution.
The tabs below show a template for this structure and an example outline for an essay about the problem of fake news.
- Introduce the problem
- Provide background
- Describe your approach to solving it
- Define the problem precisely
- Describe why it’s important
- Indicate previous approaches to the problem
- Present your new approach, and why it’s better
- Apply the new method or theory to the problem
- Indicate the solution you arrive at by doing so
- Assess (potential or actual) effectiveness of solution
- Describe the implications
- Problem: The growth of “fake news” online
- Prevalence of polarized/conspiracy-focused news sources online
- Thesis statement: Rather than attempting to stamp out online fake news through social media moderation, an effective approach to combating it must work with educational institutions to improve media literacy
- Definition: Deliberate disinformation designed to spread virally online
- Popularization of the term, growth of the phenomenon
- Previous approaches: Labeling and moderation on social media platforms
- Critique: This approach feeds conspiracies; the real solution is to improve media literacy so users can better identify fake news
- Greater emphasis should be placed on media literacy education in schools
- This allows people to assess news sources independently, rather than just being told which ones to trust
- This is a long-term solution but could be highly effective
- It would require significant organization and investment, but would equip people to judge news sources more effectively
- Rather than trying to contain the spread of fake news, we must teach the next generation not to fall for it
Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting
Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:
- Academic style
- Vague sentences
- Style consistency
See an example
Signposting means guiding the reader through your essay with language that describes or hints at the structure of what follows. It can help you clarify your structure for yourself as well as helping your reader follow your ideas.
The essay overview
In longer essays whose body is split into multiple named sections, the introduction often ends with an overview of the rest of the essay. This gives a brief description of the main idea or argument of each section.
The overview allows the reader to immediately understand what will be covered in the essay and in what order. Though it describes what comes later in the text, it is generally written in the present tense . The following example is from a literary analysis essay on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein .
Transition words and phrases are used throughout all good essays to link together different ideas. They help guide the reader through your text, and an essay that uses them effectively will be much easier to follow.
Various different relationships can be expressed by transition words, as shown in this example.
Because Hitler failed to respond to the British ultimatum, France and the UK declared war on Germany. Although it was an outcome the Allies had hoped to avoid, they were prepared to back up their ultimatum in order to combat the existential threat posed by the Third Reich.
Transition sentences may be included to transition between different paragraphs or sections of an essay. A good transition sentence moves the reader on to the next topic while indicating how it relates to the previous one.
… Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.
However , considering the issue of personal interaction among students presents a different picture.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
- Ad hominem fallacy
- Post hoc fallacy
- Appeal to authority fallacy
- False cause fallacy
- Sunk cost fallacy
- Choosing Essay Topic
- Write a College Essay
- Write a Diversity Essay
- College Essay Format & Structure
- Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay
- Grammar Checker
- Paraphrasing Tool
- Text Summarizer
- AI Detector
- Plagiarism Checker
- Citation Generator
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
An essay isn’t just a loose collection of facts and ideas. Instead, it should be centered on an overarching argument (summarized in your thesis statement ) that every part of the essay relates to.
The way you structure your essay is crucial to presenting your argument coherently. A well-structured essay helps your reader follow the logic of your ideas and understand your overall point.
Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:
- The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
- The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.
It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.
You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2023, July 23). How to Structure an Essay | Tips & Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/essay-structure/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, comparing and contrasting in an essay | tips & examples, how to write the body of an essay | drafting & redrafting, transition sentences | tips & examples for clear writing, what is your plagiarism score.
- Skip to Guides Search
- Skip to breadcrumb
- Skip to main content
- Skip to footer
- Skip to chat link
- Report accessibility issues and get help
- Go to Penn Libraries Home
- Go to Franklin catalog
Critical Writing Program: Decision Making - Spring 2024: Researching the White Paper
- Getting started
- News and Opinion Sites
- Academic Sources
- Grey Literature
- Substantive News Sources
- What to Do When You Are Stuck
- Understanding a citation
- Examples of Quotation
- Examples of Paraphrase
- Chicago Manual of Style: Citing Images
- Researching the Op-Ed
- Researching Prospective Employers
- Resume Resources
- Cover Letter Resources
Research the White Paper
Researching the White Paper:
The process of researching and composing a white paper shares some similarities with the kind of research and writing one does for a high school or college research paper. What’s important for writers of white papers to grasp, however, is how much this genre differs from a research paper. First, the author of a white paper already recognizes that there is a problem to be solved, a decision to be made, and the job of the author is to provide readers with substantive information to help them make some kind of decision--which may include a decision to do more research because major gaps remain.
Thus, a white paper author would not “brainstorm” a topic. Instead, the white paper author would get busy figuring out how the problem is defined by those who are experiencing it as a problem. Typically that research begins in popular culture--social media, surveys, interviews, newspapers. Once the author has a handle on how the problem is being defined and experienced, its history and its impact, what people in the trenches believe might be the best or worst ways of addressing it, the author then will turn to academic scholarship as well as “grey” literature (more about that later). Unlike a school research paper, the author does not set out to argue for or against a particular position, and then devote the majority of effort to finding sources to support the selected position. Instead, the author sets out in good faith to do as much fact-finding as possible, and thus research is likely to present multiple, conflicting, and overlapping perspectives. When people research out of a genuine desire to understand and solve a problem, they listen to every source that may offer helpful information. They will thus have to do much more analysis, synthesis, and sorting of that information, which will often not fall neatly into a “pro” or “con” camp: Solution A may, for example, solve one part of the problem but exacerbate another part of the problem. Solution C may sound like what everyone wants, but what if it’s built on a set of data that have been criticized by another reliable source? And so it goes.
For example, if you are trying to write a white paper on the opioid crisis, you may focus on the value of providing free, sterilized needles--which do indeed reduce disease, and also provide an opportunity for the health care provider distributing them to offer addiction treatment to the user. However, the free needles are sometimes discarded on the ground, posing a danger to others; or they may be shared; or they may encourage more drug usage. All of those things can be true at once; a reader will want to know about all of these considerations in order to make an informed decision. That is the challenging job of the white paper author. The research you do for your white paper will require that you identify a specific problem, seek popular culture sources to help define the problem, its history, its significance and impact for people affected by it. You will then delve into academic and grey literature to learn about the way scholars and others with professional expertise answer these same questions. In this way, you will create creating a layered, complex portrait that provides readers with a substantive exploration useful for deliberating and decision-making. You will also likely need to find or create images, including tables, figures, illustrations or photographs, and you will document all of your sources.
Business & Research Support Services Librarian
Connect to a Librarian Live Chat or "Ask a Question"
- Librarians staff live chat from 9-5 Monday through Friday . You can also text to chat: 215-543-7674
- You can submit a question 24 hours a day and we aim to respond within 24 hours
- You can click the "Schedule Appointment" button above in librarian's profile box (to the left), to schedule a consultation with her in person or by video conference.
- You can also make an appointment with a Librarian by subject specialization .
- Connect by email with a subject librarian
Find more easy contacts at our Quick Start Guide
- Next: Getting started >>
- Last Updated: Feb 15, 2024 12:28 PM
- URL: https://guides.library.upenn.edu/spring2024/decision-making
- Boston University Libraries
WR 151 - Gael Garcia Bernal Filmography and Latin America
About this guide, featured resources.
- Background Information
- Find Articles & Journals
- Citing Your Sources
- Latin American and Spanish Videos Freely Available on the Internet: A Guide to Web Sources
- FT250 / CI202 Understanding Film
- Literature Guide
This guide provides research resources and information related to
WR151: Gael Garcia Bernal Filmography & Latin America
Image sources: Creative Common Search - Openverse and Wikimedia.
- Sources of background information, including encyclopedias.
- Links to books and e-books.
- Databases for finding articles.
- Help in citing your sources.
Screen Studies Collection
A comprehensive survey of current publications related to film scholarship alongside detailed and expansive filmographies. This collection includes the specialist index FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals Database and the detailed and complementary filmographies created by the American Film Institute and the British Film Institute; AFI Catalog and Film Index International.
Digital Hispanica - Cinema Studies
Digitalia Hispánica is a multidisciplinary database of e-resources in Spanish. Digitalia Hispánica contains 21 thematic collections of e-books; e-journals as well as international collection of streaming feature films and documentaries, and ostly films are from Spain or Latin America. The films are n the original language,and some are dubbed into English or with English subtitles.
Student's Guide to Writing College Papers
Turabian 's popular guide, the team behind Chicago's widely respected The Craft of Research has reconceived and renewed this classic for today's generation. Designed for less advanced writers than Turabian 's Manual of Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Seventh Edition, Gregory G. Colomb and Joseph M. Williams here introduce students to the art of defining a topic, doing high-quality research with limited resources, and writing an engaging and solid college paper. The Student's Guide is organized into three sections that lead students through the process of developing and revising a paper. Part 1, "Writing Your Paper," guides students through the research process with discussions of choosing and developing a topic, validating sources, planning arguments, writing drafts, avoiding plagiarism, and presenting evidence in tables and figures. Part 2, "Citing Sources," begins with a succinct introduction to why citation is important and includes sections on the three major styles students might encounter in their work - Chicago, MLA, and APA - all with full coverage of electronic source citation. Part 3, "Style," covers all matters of style important to writers of college papers, from punctuation to spelling to presenting titles, names, and numbers." -- Publisher description.
Third cinema in the third world : the aesthetics of liberation
Although Third Cinema began as a movement of, by, and for the colonized, Gabriel argued passionately for its transnationalist possibilities. In his seminal work Third Cinema in the Third World: The Aesthetics of Liberation , for example, he writes that “the principal characteristic of Third Cinema is really not so much where it is made, or even who makes it, but, rather, the ideology it espouses and the consciousness it displays.”
The MotorCycle Diaries
- Next: Background Information >>
- Last Updated: Feb 19, 2024 4:32 PM
- URL: https://library.bu.edu/GaelGarciaBernalFilmography