How To Write A Term Paper in Nigeria

Writing a term paper doesn’t have to bring any course for an alarm. It is all about thinking of a topic that really interests you. It is a very indispensable aspect of academic discourse.

how to write a term paper

Writing a term paper is one of the basic problem of some people, in that they are afraid of writing or they find it difficult in expressing themselves precisely and fluently. Before we dive into the post title which is “how to write a term paper” the right way, Let quickly look at what a term paper means?.

Definition of a term paper

A term paper is an academic writing that helps to tell an expressive and explanatory story about a specific topic. It’s a process of discovery and reflection.


Steps one of writing a term paper

Find an engaging topic

Think about what author, work or topic that interests you. What would you like to be acquainted with? What are the ideas or appealing approaches you find captivating? What would you like to focus on more closely?

Steps two of writing a term paper

Limiting the subject matter with research questions

What do you want to find out exactly? What aspects of a work/topic do you want to examine? This question helps in writing a term paper. If you don’t actually know what you want to make a research on, it will be so hard for you to center your thoughts and make arguments relevant to the topic you have chosen.

Steps three of writing a term paper

Conversing your topic to your lecturer

When you find your research question, go see your lecturer during his / her office hours or email him/her the topic and questions. Wait for the lecturer’s approval before you start writing. If you are having challenges in defining your topic precisely, because it is too big, small or too experimental try and consult your lecturer about it. Together, you will definitely find an appropriate research question.

Steps four of writing a term paper

Looking up for primary/secondary sources

After you have gotten a clear question that you want to work on, go through the material that you want to research again. Browse the library or the internet to look for secondary literature about your topic. What have others published concerning the topic? How did they approach that same subject?

While reading, take some key notes about the topic and the likely format your term paper could take. What aspects seem to be particularly important to your chosen research question? What sub sections can your topic be divided into? etc.

Read Also: How to write a business plan

Steps five of writing a term paper

Drafting a rough draft

After you are through rereading your main text, what you need to do next is to draft an outline for your paper. There are various ways to do this. There are many structures to follow but the main thing is to find a method that will be comfortable for you. Some people prefer starting with a big question and then breaking it down into smaller Some people prefer starting with a big question and then breaking it down into smaller parts. While some prefer collecting materials first and then arrange it in order.

★ Established these larger parts in a way that they relate to each other.

★ Deliberate what rational and contents related references link them to one another.

★ Develop them gradually into chapters (or subchapters) in the arrangement of your
term paper.

Steps six of writing a term paper

Further analysis of your primary literature

Read, interpret and make notes of the literature you have read. Take into considerable the account of the texts, films, and images that you are writing about. It is generally valued to not only ask what is obtainable but also how it is obtainable.

Steps seven of writing a term paper

Revising your outline

Are you still in line with your original structure after you have dealt with your primary and secondary texts? Are there something new you might like to add? Can you think of titles that you can add to your sections to make it more concrete?

Steps eight of writing a term paper

Organizing your notes

Look at all your notes, explanations and ‘quotable’ quotes that you have made or collected and order this material in accordance with those points in your outline.

Steps nine of writing a term paper


From now, you can get started and put all your thoughts down on paper. There are lot of suggestions that can help you structure and make your writing process easier in many books based on academic writing.

Special features of a term paper


Always write an introduction in which the topic and the arrangement of your paper is explained. The introductory part helps tell your lecturer what the topic entails.


The body comprises of individual sections and subsections. Each chapter must have a title and this title should also be seen in the table of contents.


Your argumentation in paragraphs should be well structured. The paragraph will help in structuring your flow of thought and text. It is important that each paragraph should present an idea. For each paragraph, the idea should be developed through a reasonable arrangement of sentences. The main notion should be clearly stated in a topic sentence that often comes at the start or termination of the paragraph.


Develop your argumentation by citing from your most important text or less important sources. Quotes should serve as an evidence for your statements.

Quotes longer than three lines should be in a block and indented. Here, quotations marks are not needed. Quotes within a quote are enclosed with single quotation marks. For example: He said, “I will ‘I can’t.’ Think, ‘I can’t do it yet’.”

Titles of books, films and journals should be written in italics or underlined form.

Titles of poems, essays, and articles from anthologies in the internet are given in quotation marks.


Don’t forget to refer to the sources for your quotes. You need to make available references to all sources of statements that you have made use of that are not yours. This is true for direct quotes (exact replication of the text in quotation marks), as well as for summaries and paraphrasing (expressing the meaning or ideas in a source) which you do not put in quotation marks.

Plagiarism is a crime in writing and you should avoid it. To avoid this, just ensure that you give references for all quotes, statement and sentences you have used within your text either as footnotes or within the text.


There are two different methods to cite a source – using footnotes or by including sources within the running text and that takes us to;


When using footnotes, it should come after a direct or indirect quote. Then give your source(s) in the footnote below. If you are quoting a source for the first time, give a thorough bibliographic reference. In all subsequent references, it is appropriate to name the source in short form where the author’s name is being given, and a short title for the cited work with the appropriate page number.

For example: (Meyer, Portrait 67).

This is how a complete reference would look in a footnote in a work written in English:

1. Book from an author:

First Name, Last Name, Book Title (Place: Publisher, Year) Page Number.

2. Article in an Anthology:

First Name, Last Name of the cited author, “Title of the Article,” Title of the Book, ed. Nina Baym, “Melodramas of Beset Manhood: How Theories of American Fiction Exclude Women Authors,” The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature, and Theory, ed. Elaine Showalter (London: Virago Press, 1986) 79.

3. Article in a Periodical:

First Name, Last Name of the cited author, “Title of the Article,” Name of Periodical, Issue (Year): Page Number.
Paul Gil, “Loving Electricity, or the Materiality of Aesthetics,” African Literature 76.3 (September 2004): 493.

4. Internet Source (as far as the information is available):

First Name, Last Name of the author, “Title of the Article,” Date of Publication. URL. (date when you accessed this page). Ira Gatlin “ABCs of Style for term Papers and Handouts,” 2008.

NB: In English, the quotation marks come after commas and periods. The example above is valid for a paper written in English.


When using in-citation put it in parentheses, put your information source at the end of your quote in parentheses. You should always give the page number of the book, usually the author’s name and shortened title of the book. For example: (Okon, Leaves 52).


Keep your reader in mind as you write your paper. Conversions and road mapping should be used to let the reader know the information you are trying to convey. This orient the reader and make your paper more enjoyable to read.

Also, Read: How to write a good Movies review


After you have finalized the body of your paper, put your results in an organized summary at the end and then draw a conclusion. Put your paper within a larger framework – literary, cultural, historical or even theoretical. Then use the last paragraphs to ask yourself question: What is the result of my research and How do I assess my research results?


Here you should include all materials that you have quoted, rephrased or shortened in your bibliography?

You can choose any one of these models, but you must steadily stick to that form of doing
things. The same format that is being used in literature in-citation can be used here. The Next, step is for you to edit your paper.

11. Revision: Is everything correct and satisfactory?

Revising is also an important aspect of the writing process.

★ Go through your paper, examined and found out what you described in your
introduction? Does your title still match your term paper?

★ Read your paper through once more sentence by sentence for content, style and
formal aspects.

★ Go through your choice of words, adverbs, verbs and adjectives.

★ Does your paper conform with the required length, the font size, spacing and margin?

★ The basic information on the cover page, such as: course title, instructor’s name, the institute name/department, semester, paper’s title, your full name, your course of study.

★ Table contents: are the chapter titles and page numbers correct?

★ Page numbers: are your pages numbered correctly? because page one starts from the cover page and the table of contents are not numbered.

★ Is your spelling, grammar and punctuation correct?

Handing in your paper

Print two copies of your term paper. One for your department and the other for yourself.

Download the PDF Version of this guide and read it offline.

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