How to Write a Term Paper: A Comprehensive Guide
Did you know that the concept of term papers can be traced back even further to the ancient library of Alexandria, one of the most renowned centers of learning in antiquity? Scholars from various disciplines would gather there to share their knowledge and document their research on scrolls, which served as early versions of term papers. These precious scrolls played a pivotal role in the preservation and dissemination of knowledge, paving the way for the academic traditions we uphold today. As we embark on the journey of writing a term paper, we pay homage to the age-old quest for knowledge and understanding that has transcended generations. So, let's embrace this intellectual tradition and embark on the path of crafting a remarkable paper that will stand the test of time.
How to Write a Term Paper: Short Description
Discover the art of crafting a successful term paper in this insightful guide. As a student, understanding a proper term paper format can significantly impact your academic performance. This article will take you through the fundamentals, from comprehending the purpose of a term paper to mastering the art of creating a well-structured outline. Packed with valuable tips for writing and organization, this resource promises to equip you with the tools needed to excel in your academic journey.
What Is a Term Paper: A Clear Understanding of the Concept
A term paper is an essential part of college education, typically assigned at the end of a semester. It serves as a way to assess students' understanding of the course material. Usually, it involves researching and writing about a specific topic related to the course. Crafting a good term paper requires being well-organized, conducting thorough research, and presenting your findings in a clear and analytical manner.
For more information on writing a term paper, you can refer to our guide below, prepared by our expert essay writer . It offers valuable insights and practical tips to help you excel in this academic endeavor.
How to Start a Term Paper
Before diving in, always bear in mind the term paper format instructions provided to you. Should you have any uncertainties, don't hesitate to seek guidance from your teacher before embarking on your research or writing journey. Oh, and please refrain from procrastinating until the eleventh hour to begin your research paper. If you aspire to produce an extraordinary piece and secure a top-notch grade, consider planning ahead and allocating dedicated time each day to work on it. Now, allow us to offer some valuable tips for your consideration:
- Strive to refine your topic - Adopt a learning perspective that enables you to arrange and structure your thoughts effectively. You can learn more about how to research a topic below.
- Captivate your readers from the start - Engage in a brainstorming session and jot down various ideas: pose rhetorical questions, share anecdotes, provide statistical facts, and more.
- Develop a clear thesis statement example - If you find yourself unable to succinctly summarize the primary idea of your article in 1-2 sentences, it's essential to return to the initial step and contemplate narrowing down your topic.
- Familiarize yourself with the style requirements - Your work must adhere to a standardized format. Below, you'll find more information on APA format and other relevant guidelines.
- Conduct further research - Armed with a clearer understanding of your objectives, you can delve deeper into the subject matter. Be sure to rely only on reputable and trustworthy sources.
- Pen the first sentence - Don't be overly concerned about perfection at the outset. Just begin writing. You can always refine or even delete those initial sentences later. The key is to start term papers as soon as you have gathered sufficient information.
Term Paper Topics
Instructors typically offer topics related to your course, but occasionally, you have the freedom to choose your own. To understand how to write a term paper topic, gather ideas by exploring the web, reading articles, news, magazines, and blogs. It's essential to select a topic that aligns with your course objectives and genuinely interests you. When a topic captures your curiosity, the research and writing process becomes more enjoyable and effortless.
Consider the following factors while choosing dissertation topics :
Length : Take into account the required assignment length—whether it's a substantial 10-page paper or a more concise 5-page one. Understanding the word count will help you determine the appropriate scope, whether broad or narrow, for your subject.
Resources : Check your school or community library for available resources, and explore online sources as well. Ensure you have access to hands-on books and materials to support your paper.
Complexity : Make sure you can effectively explain your chosen topic, no matter how complex it may seem. If you encounter questions, don't hesitate to seek guidance from experts or your professor. They can help clarify areas that may be challenging to grasp fully.
Avoid Overused Topics : Refrain from being swayed by overly trendy and overused concepts. Mainstream subjects seldom captivate the interest of readers or teachers. Opting for such a topic may inadvertently lead you to produce repetitive content.
Choose a Manageable Topic : Select a subject that you can discuss convincingly within the given time frame. Although passion can drive your topic choice, ensure it is manageable with the available resources. If needed, scale down a topic that remains intriguing and motivating to you.
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Term Paper Outline
Before you start writing a term paper, create an outline! It'll be the backbone of your paper and guide you as you research and write. Your teacher might have a specific essay format in mind, so keep that in mind when making your outline. The main parts you should include are the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Keep your paper organized and well-researched. Use simple language to explain your ideas clearly. Here's a basic term paper format you can follow:
- Cover page : Put your name, course number, teacher's name, and the deadline date in the center of your title page.
- Abstract : This is a short summary of your work. Tell the readers what your paper is about, why the topic is interesting, and what you'll discuss.
- Introduction : Start with a clear statement of your topic. Explain why it's important and how you plan to address it.
- Body : Share the main points from your research. Provide info about the topic so the reader understands it better. Don't forget to include different viewpoints on the issue and analyze your research thoroughly.
- Results : Explain what your research has led you to believe about the subject. Talk about any changes in your viewpoint since you started the project.
- Discussion : Wrap up with a summary and conclusion about the topic. You can end with an open question or encourage readers to do their own research on the subject.
How to Write a Term Paper: Following the Steps
Before you dive into your research and writing, it's essential to understand what a term paper proposal is all about. Basically, it's a way to present and defend your chosen topic to your instructor. You must get this proposal approved before you start writing the actual term paper.
In your proposal, include recent studies or research related to your topic, and make sure to provide proper references. Clearly explain why your topic is relevant to your course by submitting a short article. Outline your objectives and organize the flow of your ideas effectively. This will help your instructor understand the direction you plan to take with your term paper writing.
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Compose the Abstract
In the first section on how to write a reflection paper ; your focus should be on explaining what your research is all about. However, it's best to write this section after completing all the subsequent parts. Make sure to mention the major findings of your research so that even someone unfamiliar with the topic can read and understand it easily. Keep it simple and informative.
A well-structured abstract should consist of the following sections:
- Introduction : State the issue you are addressing in your paper and explain why the chosen topic is important. Also, clarify the practical, scientific, or theoretical purpose of your research.
- Body : Highlight the major points of your research and describe the investigation strategy you have chosen. Provide an overview of the nature of the results.
- Conclusion : Explain how the results can be applied or their implications.
While writing a term paper abstract, go through your paper again and underline key statements related to research objectives, methods, results, and conclusions. Copy these sentences, and you'll have the first draft of your abstract.
Tip : The abstract should be limited to 120-250 words, depending on your assignment instructions.
Now, what's the difference between the introduction and the abstract? The abstract presents the essence of your paper, listing its main points, including results and conclusions. On the other hand, the introduction provides background information on the topic, presents the proposition (or thesis statement), and outlines the key issues that will be discussed in the paper.
Craft the introduction
Prepare to captivate your readers right from the start with a compelling introduction. A strong opening can make it challenging for them to put your paper down. So, how do you pique their interest and keep them hooked?
- Grab attention : Begin with an intriguing fact, a surprising statement, or a thought-provoking contradiction that highlights the significance of your topic. Engage their curiosity from the very first sentence in your term paper.
- Provide an overview : Present a concise description of the issue you're addressing and state the primary goal of your paper. Additionally, illustrate how your specific topic relates to broader contexts, setting the stage for a deeper exploration.
- Write the thesis statement : Articulate the core argument or the central question your paper will address. Offer a glimpse of what lies ahead without revealing all the details.
Remember, the term paper introduction should be both inviting and concise. Avoid excessive examples or unnecessary details.
Generate Ideas and Compose Text: Body Sections
Once you've received your research results and notes, it's time to carefully examine what you've uncovered. Record the crucial outcomes of your research while eliminating any unnecessary materials to streamline your work.
When it comes to writing the body sections, an effective strategy is to start by crafting topic sentences based on your outline. From there, expand those topic sentences into complete paragraphs, incorporating relevant supporting details to bolster your points.
The number of paragraphs you'll need in your body section can vary depending on the specific topic and assignment instructions. In many cases, a term paper's body consists of a literature review followed by the presentation of your research findings.
Here's a helpful tip for maintaining coherence and clarity: Begin each paragraph with a well-crafted topic sentence. This serves as a clear introduction to the main idea of the paragraph, ensuring a smooth flow of ideas throughout your paper. By employing this technique, your term paper will be well-organized and easy for readers to follow.
Formulate the Conclusion
As you wrap up the main part of your term paper example, it's crucial to provide a thoughtful and concise conclusion that summarizes the information you've presented and discusses the broader implications of your research. Keep these points in mind while crafting your conclusion:
Note : Remember not to introduce any new information in this paragraph.
- Describe the final results of your research.
- Articulate the implications for future studies.
Now, take a moment to evaluate your research results by pondering these questions:
- What significance does my research hold?
- How does my topic intersect with other related subjects or areas?
Finally, draw everything together with a strong concluding sentence that leaves a lasting impression.
Refine and Enhance the Initial Draft
Once you've successfully completed your first draft and still have some time left, don't underestimate the importance of proofreading your text. Taking a moment to review your term paper can make a world of difference. After all, many professors interpret misspellings, punctuation mistakes, and grammar errors as a reflection of carelessness, which can overshadow your original ideas and significant findings. So, let's make your text shine!
First, read through your first draft and consider how you can make your paper cleaner and more convincing. Identify ideas that don't quite fit the context and either remove or modify them accordingly. Then, pinpoint areas that require more detailed support. To enhance the flow of your paper, add transitional phrases or words to connect your ideas smoothly.
Next, once your content is logical and well-structured, it's time to address any errors. Correct all grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes with care.
Lastly, ensure that your paper adheres to the right format and layout. Double-check that your pages are correctly numbered. Any visual materials like images, tables, and diagrams should also be properly numbered and titled. Just as you do when you finish your term paper, give the same attention to these details during the proofreading process. Your effort will result in a polished and impressive final paper.
Term Paper Format
When it comes to formatting your term paper, the first step is to consider its length and the specific citation style required. Depending on the topic you've researched, you'll be expected to adhere to a particular citation style. Proper referencing is vital to avoid accusations of plagiarism, as a term paper is an academic writing assignment. Commonly used citation styles include APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association).
When wondering how to cite research paper for social sciences, APA term paper format is the way to go. When referencing a book in APA style, you'll need the author's name, the book's title, the year of publication, the publisher, and its location. Be sure not to overlook this crucial information during your research.
On the other hand, if your paper falls within liberal arts and humanities, the widely used format is MLA. In this style, you'll need to include the publication name, date, and location for proper referencing.
By adhering to the appropriate format and citation style, you'll ensure a well-organized and academically sound term paper. Remember to pay close attention to the specific requirements and guidelines set by your instructor to create a polished and successful paper.
Term Paper Example
Click on the button to open our term paper example.
The timeline of events from 1776 to 1861, that, in the end, prompted the American Civil War, describes and relates to a number of subjects modern historians acknowledge as the origins and causes of the Civil War. In fact, pre-Civil War events had both long-term and short-term influences on the War—such as the election of Abraham Lincoln as the American president in 1860 that led to the Fall of Fort Sumter in April of the same year. In that period, contentions that surrounded states’ rights progressively exploded in Congress—since they were the initial events that formed after independence. Congress focused on resolving significant issues that affected the states, which led to further issues. In that order, the US’s history from 1776 to 1861 provides a rich history, as politicians brought forth dissimilarities, dissections, and tensions between the Southern US & the people of slave states, and the Northern states that were loyal to the Union. The events that unfolded from the period of 1776 to 1861 involved a series of issues because they promoted the great sectional crisis that led to political divisions and the build-up to the Civil War that made the North and the South seem like distinctive and timeless regions that predated the crisis itself.
What is the Difference between a Term Paper and a Research Paper?
When learning how to write a research paper , you should understand the main difference between a term paper and a research paper is the scope and purpose. A term paper is typically assigned at the end of a semester and focuses on the knowledge gained during the course. It is more structured and may cover specific topics within the course content.
On the other hand, a research paper is more in-depth and involves original research, analysis, and exploration of a particular subject. It often requires the use of primary sources and contributes new insights to the field of study. Research papers are common in higher education and advanced academic levels.
What Is the Fastest Way to Write a Term Paper?
The fastest way to write a term paper is to start early, plan your time effectively, and stay focused. Break down the task into smaller manageable chunks and create a clear outline. Prioritize your research, gather relevant information efficiently, and avoid getting sidetracked by unrelated sources. Write your entire paper in a focused and organized manner, and don't forget to proofread and edit for errors. Remember, maintaining a consistent pace and staying dedicated to the task will help you complete your term paper efficiently.
In conclusion, embrace the challenge of writing term papers with determination and a positive mindset. Start early, stay organized, and believe in your abilities. Seek guidance if needed and express your unique perspective confidently. You've got this! Happy writing, and enjoy the journey!
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How to Write a Table of Contents for Different Formats With Examples
7 August 2023
Rules that guide academic writing are specific to each paper format. However, some rules apply to all styles – APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, and Harvard. Basically, one of these rules is the inclusion of a Table of Contents (TOC) in an academic text, particularly long ones, like theses, dissertations, and research papers. When writing a TOC, students or researchers should observe some practices regardless of paper formats. Also, it includes writing the TOC on a new page after the title page, numbering the first-level and corresponding second-level headings, and indicating the page number of each entry. Hence, scholars need to learn how to write a table of contents in APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, and Harvard styles.
When writing academic texts, such as theses, dissertations, and other research papers, students observe academic writing rules as applicable. Generally, the different paper formats – APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, and Harvard – have specific standards that students must follow in their writing. In this case, one of the rules is the inclusion of a Table of Contents (TOC) in the document. By definition, a TOC is a roadmap that scholars provide in their writing, outlining each portion of a paper. In other words, a TOC enables readers to locate specific information in documents or revisit favorite parts within written texts. Moreover, this part of academic papers provides readers with a preview of the paper’s contents.
For writing your paper, these links will be helpful:
- Buy Research Paper
- How to Write a Research Paper
- How to Write a Research Proposal
- How to Write a Term Paper
- How to Write a Case Study
Difference Between a Table of Contents and an Outline
In essence, a TOC is a description of first-level headings (topics) and second-level headings (subtopics) within the paper’s body. For a longer document, writers may also include third-level titles to make the text palatable to read. Ideally, the length of papers determines the depth that authors go into detailing their writing in TOCs. Basically, this feature means that shorter texts may not require third-level headings. In contrast, an essay outline is a summary of the paper’s main ideas with a hierarchical or logical structuring of the content. Unlike a TOC that only lists headings and subheadings, outlines capture these headings and then describe the content briefly under each one. As such, an outline provides a more in-depth summary of essay papers compared to a TOC.
How to Write a Table of Contents in APA
When writing a TOC in the APA format , writers should capture all the headings in the paper – first-level, second-level, and even third-level. Besides this information, they should also include an abstract, references, and appendices. Notably, while a TOC in the APA style has an abstract, this section is not necessary for the other formats, like MLA, Chicago/Turabian, and Harvard. Hence, an example of a Table of Contents written in the APA format is indicated below:
How to Write a Table of Contents in MLA
Unlike papers written in the APA style, MLA papers do not require a Table of Contents unless they are long enough. In this case, documents, like theses, dissertations, and books written in the MLA format should have a TOC. Even where a TOC is necessary, there is no specific method that a writer should use when writing it. In turn, the structure of the TOC is left to the writer’s discretion. However, when students have to include a TOC in their papers, the information they capture should be much more than what would appear in the APA paper . Hence, an example of writing a Table of Contents in MLA format is:
In the case of writing a research paper, an example of a Table of Contents should be:
How to Write a Table of Contents in Chicago/Turabian
Like the MLA style, a Chicago/Turabian paper does not require writing a Table of Contents unless it is long enough. When a TOC is necessary, writers should capitalize on major headings. Additionally, authors do not need to add a row of periods (. . . . . . . .) between the heading entry and the page number. Moreover, the arrangement of the content should start with the first-level heading, then the second-level heading, and, finally, the third-level title, just like in the APA paper. In turn, all the information that precedes the introduction part should have lowercase Roman numerals. Also, the row of periods is only used for major headings. Hence, an example of writing a Table of Contents in a Chicago/Turabian paper is:
How to Write a Table of Contents in Harvard
Like in the other formats, writing a Table of Contents in the Harvard style is captured by having the title “Table of Contents” at the center of the page, in the first line. Basically, it comes after the title page and captures all the sections and subsections of Harvard papers. In other words, writers must indicate first-level headings in a numbered list. Also, scholars should align titles to the left side and capitalize them. In turn, if there is a need to show second-level headings, authors should list them under corresponding first-level headings by using bullet points. However, it is essential for students not to disrupt the numbering of first-level headings. Moreover, writers should align second-level headings to the left side and indent them by half an inch and capitalize on this content. Hence, an example of writing a Table of Contents in a Harvard paper should appear as below:
A Table of Content (TOC) is an essential component of an academic paper , particularly for long documents, like theses, dissertations, and research papers. When students are writing a TOC, they should be careful to follow the applicable format’s rules and standards. Regardless of the format, writers should master the following tips when writing a TOC:
- Write the TOC on a new page after the title page.
- Indicate first-level headings of the document in a numbered list.
- Indicate second-level headings under the corresponding first-level heading.
- If applicable, indicate third-level headings under the corresponding second-level heading.
- Write the page number for each heading.
- Put the content in a two-column table.
- Title the page with “Table of Contents.”
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10.4 Table of contents
You are familiar with tables of contents (TOC) but may never have stopped to look at their design. The TOC shows readers what topics are covered in the report, how those topics are discussed (the subtopics), and on which page numbers those sections and subsections start.
In creating a TOC, you have a number of design decisions:
- Levels of headings to include. In longer reports, consider not including only the top two levels of headings. This keeps the TOC from becoming long and unwieldy. The TOC should provide an at-a-glance way of finding information in the report quickly.
- Indentation, spacing, and capitalization. Notice in the illustration below that items in each of the three levels of headings are aligned with each other. Although you can’t see it in the illustration, page numbers are right-aligned with each other. Notice also the capitalization: Main chapters or sections are all caps; first-level headings use initial caps on each main word; lower-level sections use initial caps on the first word only.
- Vertical spacing. Notice that the first-level sections have extra space above and below, which increases readability.
Using the automatic TOC creator in your word processor can help you produce a clean, professional document. If you prefer to make your own, learn to use dot leader tabs in order to line up the page numbers correctly.
One final note: Make sure the words in the TOC are the same as they are in the text. As you write and revise, you might change some of the headings—don’t forget to change the TOC accordingly. See the example of a table of contents:
Chapter Attribution Information
This chapter was derived by Annemarie Hamlin, Chris Rubio, and Michele DeSilva, Central Oregon Community College, from Online Technical Writing by David McMurrey – CC: BY 4.0
Technical Writing Copyright © 2017 by Allison Gross, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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- Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples
Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples
Published on May 15, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.
The table of contents is where you list the chapters and major sections of your thesis, dissertation , or research paper, alongside their page numbers. A clear and well-formatted table of contents is essential, as it demonstrates to your reader that a quality paper will follow.
The table of contents (TOC) should be placed between the abstract and the introduction . The maximum length should be two pages. Depending on the nature of your thesis , paper, or dissertation topic , there are a few formatting options you can choose from.
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Table of contents
What to include in your table of contents, what not to include in your table of contents, creating a table of contents in microsoft word, table of contents examples, updating a table of contents in microsoft word, other lists in your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the table of contents.
Depending on the length of your document, you can choose between a single-level, subdivided, or multi-level table of contents.
- A single-level table of contents only includes “level 1” headings , or chapters. This is the simplest option, but it may be too broad for a long document like a dissertation.
- A subdivided table of contents includes chapters as well as “level 2” headings, or sections. These show your reader what each chapter contains.
- A multi-level table of contents also further divides sections into “level 3” headings. This option can get messy quickly, so proceed with caution. Remember your table of contents should not be longer than 2 pages. A multi-level table is often a good choice for a shorter document like a research paper .
Examples of level 1 headings are Introduction, Literature Review , Methodology , and Bibliography. Subsections of each of these would be level 2 headings, further describing the contents of each chapter or large section. Any further subsections would be level 3.
In these introductory sections, less is often more. As you decide which sections to include, narrow it down to only the most essential.
Including appendices and tables
You should include all appendices in your table of contents. Whether or not you include tables and figures depends largely on how many there are in your document.
If there are more than three figures and tables, you might consider listing them on a separate page. Otherwise, you can include each one in the table of contents.
- Theses and dissertations often have a separate list of figures and tables.
- Research papers generally don’t have a separate list of figures and tables.
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All level 1 and level 2 headings should be included in your table of contents, with level 3 headings used very sparingly.
The following things should never be included in a table of contents:
- Your acknowledgements page
- Your abstract
- The table of contents itself
The acknowledgements and abstract always precede the table of contents, so there’s no need to include them. This goes for any sections that precede the table of contents.
To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, be sure to first apply the correct heading styles throughout the document, as shown below.
- Choose which headings are heading 1 and which are heading 2 (or 3)!
- For example, if all level 1 headings should be Times New Roman, 12-point font, and bold, add this formatting to the first level 1 heading.
- Highlight the level 1 heading.
- Right-click the style that says “Heading 1.”
- Select “Update Heading 1 to Match Selection.”
- Allocate the formatting for each heading throughout your document by highlighting the heading in question and clicking the style you wish to apply.
Once that’s all set, follow these steps:
- Add a title to your table of contents. Be sure to check if your citation style or university has guidelines for this.
- Place your cursor where you would like your table of contents to go.
- In the “References” section at the top, locate the Table of Contents group.
- Here, you can select which levels of headings you would like to include. You can also make manual adjustments to each level by clicking the Modify button.
- When you are ready to insert the table of contents, click “OK” and it will be automatically generated, as shown below.
The key features of a table of contents are:
- Clear headings and subheadings
- Corresponding page numbers
Check with your educational institution to see if they have any specific formatting or design requirements.
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Write yourself a reminder to update your table of contents as one of your final tasks before submitting your dissertation or paper. It’s normal for your text to shift a bit as you input your final edits, and it’s crucial that your page numbers correspond correctly.
It’s easy to update your page numbers automatically in Microsoft Word. Simply right-click the table of contents and select “Update Field.” You can choose either to update page numbers only or to update all information in your table of contents.
In addition to a table of contents, you might also want to include a list of figures and tables, a list of abbreviations, and a glossary in your thesis or dissertation. You can use the following guides to do so:
- List of figures and tables
- List of abbreviations
It is less common to include these lists in a research paper.
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All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.
The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .
Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract in the table of contents.
To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:
- Apply heading styles throughout the document.
- In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group.
- Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents.
- Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents.
Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings. To update, simply right click and select Update Field.
The table of contents in a thesis or dissertation always goes between your abstract and your introduction .
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Table of Contents
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A guide to the table of contents page
- 1 Definition: Table of Contents
- 3 Everything for Your Thesis
- 5 Create in Microsoft Word
- 6 In a Nutshell
Definition: Table of Contents
The table of contents is an organized listing of your document’s chapters, sections and, often, figures, clearly labelled by page number. Readers should be able to look at your table of contents page and understand immediately how your paper is organized, enabling them to skip to any relevant section or sub-section. The table of contents should list all front matter, main content and back matter, including the headings and page numbers of all chapters and the bibliography . A good table of contents should be easy to read, accurately formatted and completed last so that it is 100% accurate. Although you can complete a table of contents manually, many word processing tools like Microsoft Word enable you to format your table of contents automatically.
When adding the finishing touches to your dissertation, the table of contents is one of the most crucial elements. It helps the reader navigate (like a map) through your argument and topic points. Adding a table of contents is simple and it can be inserted easily after you have finished writing your paper. In this guide, we look at the do’s and don’ts of a table of contents; this will help you process and format your dissertation in a professional way.
When adding the finishing touches to your dissertation, the table of contents is one of the most crucial elements. It helps the reader navigate (like a map) through your argument and topic points. Adding a table of contents is simple and can be inserted easily after you have finished writing your paper. In this guide, we look at the do’s and don’ts of a table of contents; this will help you process and format your dissertation in a professional way.
What is a table of contents?
A table of contents is a list, usually on a page at the beginning of a piece of academic writing , which outlines the chapters or sections names with their corresponding page numbers. In addition to chapter names, it includes bullet points of the sub-chapter headings or subsection headings. It usually comes right after the title page of a research paper.
How do you write a table of contents
To write a table of contents, you first write the title or chapter names of your research paper in chronological order. Secondly, you write the subheadings or subtitles, if you have them in your paper. After that, you write the page numbers for the corresponding headings and subheadings. You can also very easily set up a table of contents in Microsoft Word.
Where do you put a table of contents?
The table of contents is found on a page right at the beginning of an academic writing project. It comes specifically after the title page and acknowledgements, but before the introductory page of a writing project. This position at the beginning of an academic piece of writing is universal for all academic projects.
What to include in a table of contents?
A sample table of contents includes the title of the paper at the very top, followed by the chapter names and subtitles in chronological order. At the end of each line, is the page number of the corresponding headings. Examples of chapter names can be: executive summary, introduction, project description, marketing plan, summary and conclusion. The abstract and acknowledgments are usually not included in the table of contents, however this could depend on the formatting that is required by your institution. Scroll down to see some examples.
How important is a table of contents?
A table of contents is very important at the beginning of a writing project for two important reasons. Firstly, it helps the reader easily locate contents of particular topics itemized as chapters or subtitles. Secondly, it helps the writer arrange their work and organize their thoughts so that important sections of an academic project are not left out. This has the extra effect of helping to manage the reader’s expectation of any academic essay or thesis right from the beginning.
Everything for Your Thesis
A table of contents is a crucial component of an academic thesis. Whether you’re completing a Bachelor’s or a postgraduate degree, the table of contents is a requirement for dissertation submissions. As a rule of thumb, your table of contents will usually come after your title page , abstract, acknowledgement or preface. Although it’s not necessary to include a reference to this front matter in your table of contents, different universities have different policies and guidelines.
Although the table of contents is best completed after you have finished your thesis, it’s a good idea to draw up a mock table of contents in the early stages of writing. This allows you to formulate a structure and think through your topic and how you are going to research, answer and make your argument. Think of this as a form of “reverse engineering”. Knowing how your chapters are going to be ordered and what topics or research questions are included in each will help immensely when it comes to your writing.
The table of contents is not just an academic formality, it allows your examiner to quickly get a feel for your topic and understand how your dissertation will be presented. An unclear or sloppy table of contents may even have an adverse effect on your grade because the dissertation is difficult to follow.
Examiners are readers, after all, and a dissertation is an exercise in producing an argument. A clear table of contents will give both a good impression and provide an accurate roadmap to make the examiner’s job easier and your argument more persuasive.
Your table of contents section will come after your acknowledgements and before your introduction. It includes a list of all your headers and their respective pages and will also contain a sub-section listing your tables, figures or illustrations (if you are using them). In general, your thesis can be ordered like this:
1. Title Page 2. Copyright / Statement of Originality 3. Abstract 4. Acknowledgement, Dedication and Preface (optional) 5. Table of Contents 6. List of Figures/Tables/Illustrations 7. Chapters 8. Appendices 9. Endnotes (depending on your formatting) 10. Bibliography / References
The formatting of your table of contents will depend on your academic field and thesis length. Some disciplines, like the sciences, have a methodical structure which includes recommended subheadings on methodology, data results, discussion and conclusion. Humanities subjects, on the other hand, are far more varied. Whichever discipline you are working in, you need to create an organized list of all chapters in their order of appearance, with chapter subheadings clearly labelled.
Sample table of contents for a short dissertation:
Abstract ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. ii Acknowledgements ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. iii Dedication ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. iv List of Tables ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. x List of Figures ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. xi Chapter 1: Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1 Chapter 2: Literature Survey ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 13 Chapter 3: Methodology ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 42 Chapter 4: Analysis ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 100 Chapter 5: Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 129 Appendices ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 169 References ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 172
When producing a more significant and longer dissertation, say for a Master’s degree or even a PhD, your chapter descriptions should contain all subheadings. These are listed with the chapter number, followed by a decimal point and the subheading number.
Sample table of contents for a PhD dissertation:
Chapter 1 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Literature Review 1.3 Data 1.4 Findings 1.5 Conclusion
Chapter 2, and so on.
The key to writing a good table of contents is consistency and accuracy. You cannot list subheadings for one chapter and forget them for another. Subheadings are not always required but they can be very helpful if you are dealing with a detailed topic. The page numbers in the table of contents must match with the respective pages in your thesis or manuscript.
What’s more, chapter titles and subheading titles must match their corresponding pages. If your first chapter is called “Chapter 1: The Beginning”, it must be written as such on both the table of contents and first chapter page. So long as you remain both accurate and consistent, your table of contents will be perfect.
Create in Microsoft Word
Fortunately, the days of manually writing a contents page are over. You can still produce a contents page manually with Microsoft Word, but consider using their automatic feature to guarantee accuracy and save time.
To produce an automatically-generated table of contents, you must first work with heading styles. These can be found in the home tab under “Styles”. Select top-level headings (your chapter titles) and apply the Heading 1 style. This ensures that they will be formatted as main headings. Second-level headings (subheadings) can be applied with the Heading 2 style. This will place them underneath and within each main heading.
Once you have worked with heading styles, simply click on the “References” tab and select “Table of Contents”. This option will allow you to automatically produce a page with accurate page links to your document. To customize the format and style applied to your table of contents, select “Custom Table of Contents” at the bottom of the tab. Remember to update your table of contents by selecting the table and choosing “Update” from the drop-down menu. This will ensure that your headings, sub-headings and page numbers all add up.
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In a Nutshell
- The table of contents is a vital part of any academic thesis or extensive paper.
- It is an accurate map of your manuscript’s content – its headings, sub-headings and page numbers.
- It shows how you have divided your thesis into more manageable chunks through the use of chapters.
- By breaking apart your thesis into discrete sections, you make your argument both more persuasive and easier to follow.
- What’s more, your contents page should produce an accurate map of your thesis’ references, bibliography, illustrations and figures.
- It is an accurate map of the chapters, references, bibliography, illustrations and figures in your thesis.
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Home » APA Table of Contents – Format and Example
APA Table of Contents – Format and Example
Table of Contents
APA Table of Contents
The APA (American Psychological Association) Table of Contents is a structured outline that provides an overview of the content of a research paper or manuscript. It is typically included in the front matter of the document and lists the major sections and subsections of the paper, along with their page numbers. The Table of Contents is an important organizational tool that helps readers navigate the document and locate specific information quickly and easily.
How to Make APA Table of Contents
Here are the steps you can follow:
- Create a new page for the table of contents. The page number should be the Roman numeral “i”.
- Center the title “Table of Contents” at the top of the page.
- List all the headings and subheadings in your paper in order. Be sure to include all major sections and subsections.
- Align the page numbers to the right margin of the page.
- Use dot leaders to connect the headings to their respective page numbers. Dot leaders are a row of dots that help guide the reader’s eye from the heading to the page number.
I. Introduction ……………………………………………………… i
II. Literature Review ……………………………………………….. 1
A. Subheading ………………………………………………………… 2
B. Subheading ………………………………………………………… 3
III. Methodology ………………………………………………………….. 4
A. Participants ………………………………………………………… 5
B. Procedure …………………………………………………………… 6
IV. Results ……………………………………………………………………. 8
V. Discussion ……………………………………………………………… 10
VI. Conclusion …………………………………………………………….. 12
How to Make APA Table of Contents in MS Words
To create an APA table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:
- Start by typing out your document in Microsoft Word.
- Once you have finished typing your document, place your cursor at the beginning of your document.
- Click on the “References” tab in the top menu bar.
- Click on the “Table of Contents” option on the left-hand side of the menu bar.
- Choose one of the APA table of contents styles from the drop-down menu that appears. There are two options for an APA table of contents: “APA 6th Edition” and “APA 7th Edition.”
- Once you have chosen your preferred APA table of contents style, click on it to insert it into your document.
- Now you need to format your headings to be included in the table of contents. Select the heading you want to include in your table of contents.
- Click on the “Styles” option in the top menu bar.
- Choose the appropriate heading style from the drop-down menu that appears. You can choose from “Heading 1,” “Heading 2,” “Heading 3,” etc.
- Repeat the previous two steps for each heading you want to include in the table of contents.
- Once you have formatted all the headings, go back to the “References” tab in the top menu bar.
- Select the “Update Table” option from the drop-down menu that appears.
- Choose whether you want to update the page numbers only or the entire table of contents.
- Click “OK” to update your table of contents.
Your APA table of contents is now complete!
APA Table of Contents Format
Here’s the general format for creating a table of contents in APA style:
- Start a new page after the title page and abstract.
- Type “Table of Contents” at the top of the page, centered.
- List all the major sections of your paper, including the introduction, body, and conclusion.
- Indent each level of subheading, using either the tab key or your word processor’s formatting tools.
- Use the same font and size for the table of contents as you did for the rest of the paper.
- Align page numbers on the right side of the page, directly after each section and sub-section.
- Include any appendices and references in the table of contents, if applicable.
Here is an example of an APA-formatted table of contents:
Table of Contents Format
Introduction ………………………………………. 1
Literature Review ………………………………… 2
Methods ………………………………………….. 6
Participants ……………………………………. 6
Procedure ……………………………………….. 8
Results ………………………………………….. 10
Discussion ………………………………………. 15
Appendices ………………………………………. 20
References ………………………………………. 21
APA Table of Contents Example
Here is an example of an APA-style table of contents:
I. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………. 1
II. Literature Review …………………………………………………………….. 3
A. Background………………………………………………………………… 3
B. Theoretical Framework ………………………………………………… 5
C. Empirical Studies………………………………………………………… 7
III. Methodology …………………………………………………………………. 10
A. Research Design ………………………………………………………… 10
B. Participants ……………………………………………………………….. 11
C. Materials ………………………………………………………………….. 12 ‘
D. Procedure …………………………………………………………………. 14
IV. Results …………………………………………………………………………. 16
V. Discussion ……………………………………………………………………… 19
A. Summary of Findings …………………………………………………. 19
B. Implications ………………………………………………………………. 21
C. Limitations and Future Directions ………………………………… 23
VI. Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………. 25
VII. References …………………………………………………………………… 27
VIII. Appendices ………………………………………………………………….. 31
When to use APA Table of Contents
You should use an APA TOC when:
- You are writing a research paper or a thesis that is more than 5 pages in length.
- Your document has multiple headings and subheadings that require organization and clarification for the reader.
- You want to make it easy for readers to find specific sections or information within your document.
- You want to comply with the APA style guidelines for formatting and referencing.
- Your document contains complex information that requires a clear structure to make it more comprehensible for the reader.
Advantages of APA Table of Contents
The American Psychological Association (APA) style table of contents has several advantages, including:
- Easy navigation: A well-organized table of contents makes it easy for readers to find the information they need quickly and easily. This is especially important in longer documents such as academic papers, theses, and dissertations.
- Standardized formatting: The APA style table of contents follows a standardized formatting style that is familiar to many academic readers. This makes it easier for readers to understand the structure and organization of the document.
- Consistency : By using the APA style table of contents, authors can ensure that the document is consistent and follows a clear organizational structure. This can help readers to better understand the content and stay focused on the main points.
- Professional appearance : A well-formatted APA style table of contents can enhance the professional appearance of the document. This is particularly important in academic and research settings where a professional appearance can increase the credibility of the work.
- Compliance with academic standards : Many academic institutions require the use of the APA style for academic papers, theses, and dissertations. By using the APA style table of contents, authors can ensure that their work complies with these academic standards.
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How To Write a Term Paper: A Guide That Works
30 June, 2020
16 minutes read
Author: Mathieu Johnson
Once you’ve started your university career, you are going to be asked to present a term paper. What’s the difference between a term paper and a research paper? How can you write a good term? What’s the best way to structure it? Where can you find some tips to make the writing process faster? In this article, we’ll discuss a few tips to help you prepare a term paper quickly and professionally.
What Is a Term Paper… And What Is The First Step?
A term paper is a critical and analytical report on the topic or subject that you covered within the course of studies. It usually consists of two separate but equally important aspects: your own thoughts about the topic and a demonstration of your understanding of the existing literature. The main goal of this assignment is to summarize the material you learned and showcase your understanding of the topic. This aspect makes the term paper a universal instrument for assessing a student’s proficiency. It also explains why term papers cost so many points of your course grade.
We usually associate a term paper with a research paper , but although the concepts are quite similar, a research paper requires a more academic approach and a deeper investigation into the literature of your field of study.
To write an outstanding college term paper, you must understand that your professor has requested it in order to test your analytical thinking skills. You must collect relevant data, analyze it, and then make a summary or solve a particular problem. Such skills are highly relevant to the business world, so this type of the task is as practical as it is educational.
So, let’s start the preparation!
Before you begin writing
Unfortunately, there is no magical recipe that allows you to get everything done fast. You will need to choose the best way forward in whatever situation you find yourself, but here are some tips to help you prepare for the assignment.
To begin with, take the research stage seriously . Sometimes, when students are really interested in a topic, they only want to present their personal ideas about the problem. Unfortunately, if you’re not completely familiar with all the data from the various sources, you will need to reinvent the bicycle.
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In the initial stages of your research, investigate everything you can find on the topic . This may sound like a tall order, but you’ll find that it doesn’t actually entail that much reading. At this point you are only compiling the research, so you will be skimming through numerous prospects rather than reading them completely. Bear in mind that your aim is to get acquainted with the various aspects of your problem. The term paper summarizes the knowledge you gained within a course and requires to familiarize yourself with the research that other people have already made on your topic.
Thinking that your opinions are completely original and unique is quite egocentric, and it can get you into trouble. So, “your” thoughts about the problem are usually just somebody else’s statements that you have rephrased (or even a well-established academic concept!). Remember that your professor will be familiar with all the literature surrounding the issue: if you merely rewrite someone else’s thoughts and present them as your own (even if you don’t realize doing it), be prepared for criticism!
Applying a Structure To Your Term Paper
Once you have read all the leading authors and their approaches to your problem, it’s time to create a structure for your work. This is not yet an outline; you just need to decide what to write about. Sketch out the topic for the theoretical portion of your work and think about practical aspects and how you can approach the research in the best possible way.
At this point, you really need to call or email your supervisor . Your professor will have seen hundreds of term papers like yours (i.e., they have not yet been written, but a definite idea exists!) and will be prepared to give you feedback and advice. He or she will tell you what literature you have omitted, offer suggestions about what you should read, and give you feedback about your paper. It may well be that your approach has already occurred to somebody else, in which case there is no need to repeat it.
Choosing a Topic: Easy as Riding a Bike?
When you choose your topic, make sure you choose something that you are interested in . That’s our advice if you want a painless term paper. If you prefer to investigate a field that you’ve never really explored before, you can challenge yourself to do that, too. That might be sophisticated, but why not?
If you decide to investigate a topic or a problem that you are pretty familiar with, your writing will be more fluid. You will focus your attention on a specific aspect of the chosen field and expand your knowledge within that scope. On the contrary, choosing an unfamiliar subject matter can wash out your expertise.
Be prepared to change the topic if you find out that your research isn’t going anywhere. It might occur that you presuppose that your topic has a potential but somewhere at the stage of initial research, you find that it just won’t work. It’s always a good idea to consider two or three topics when you kick off the term paper writing – even if they are just different ways of examining the same problem. By doing this, you will be able to choose the best version, which may not be the one you started with at all!
Related Post: 100 Persuasive essay topics
Formulating a Thesis statement
Writing a proper thesis statement can also be challenging. To begin with, write down a couple of prominent ideas or concepts, then try to make rough drafts of them to see how they’ll work in the structural framework. You will probably find that one idea fits your style, interests, and knowledge base: you can choose that one as your thesis statement.
Remember that the thesis statement is the skeleton, the central concept of your paper. It is the elemental attribute of almost any academic paper – from master’s thesis to a simple five paragraph essay. If you do a thorough job on it, you will find that writing (and defending!) your argument is much easier.
Be aware that all of these stages are parts of a procedure – one leads to another. When writing a term paper, you should collect the material and wrap it up at the same time.
Planning – The Key To Success
Some people claim that they can write a term paper without any planning. In our opinion, this is impossible. If you don’t have a postgraduate degree and you aren’t a certified genius, you need to prepare an outline for your project. It may come as a surprise, but even people who claim otherwise actually prepare outlines – in their heads. But if you don’t have that much experience, use a pencil and your notebook to ensure that you don’t forget anything.
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That’s when we get to preparing your first draft . There’s only one thing to add here: do as many drafts as you need in order to achieve your goal. Understand that your aim is to create an excellent term paper and keep working at it until you are satisfied.
Term Paper Outline: Write Everything In The Proper Section!
In the Introduction , state the topic that you are going to investigate and the context of your work. This is the critical ‘selling’ moment of your work. In a nutshell, your introduction combined with a conclusion should give a sneak peek into what the whole paper is about. If your introduction is well-prepared, it will be quite complacent about the body of your project. The introduction must include an abstract that presents your thesis statement . You should explain your motivation (why should the reader be concerned about this problem?) , your methods (what scientific tools did you use?) , and the results (what you achieved) .
The Literature Review totally corresponds to its name – it is here to review the literature you compiled. Your professor will double check it to make sure that you understand the context of your argument. One more thing to add is: collect all the information you can! Ideally, you should read or at least glance through every book and author that you can find on the topic. Think of your task as a fascinating journey: if you approach it like that, reading hundreds of pages won’t seem like that much of a challenge.
In the Discussion , you must present the interpretations of the problem. Be honest, explain what you pieces of data you don’t agree with and what ideas and concepts you support. This section connects the dots between theory and practice when writing a term paper. Wherever possible, provide several interpretations of the subject matter, then choose the one(s) that are most relevant to the case you are presenting.
In the Body , focus on those arguments that prove your thesis statement. This section must be absolutely logical. If you have chosen a more complicated topic, use heading and sub-headings to improve the appearance of this section. While writing the body, keep your target audience (your professors) in mind. In other words, don’t just record the obvious causes/effects/solutions but also showcase your own findings – what you have discovered and how that proves your thesis statement. Demonstrate that you are familiar with the details and you will stun your readers with the prolific mastery of the topic.
Now, the Conclusion is her to summarize both the content and the purpose of the paper. The most challenging part is not to make it too dry. Reiterate your thesis statement and briefly show how your results justified your proposition. At the very end, you can suggest a call to action or pose a rhetorical question or statement that leaves your reader wanting more.
What to do next?
When you have finished, reread your work a couple of times. You will almost certainly find a few faults, whether they are contextual, factual, syntactical, grammatical, or even simple spelling mistakes. A very useful tip is to wait for two or three days after writing your final draft to proofread it afterward. Your brain will have time to process the information, and you’ll be able to look at it with a fresh view.
When proofreading, take care to polish the structural problems. The skeleton (the logic and the thesis statement) should make sense. If they don’t, try to approach the problem from another perspective. The changes may take some time, but bear in mind that your objective is to produce professional work. Be patient!
After that, print the term paper. The human eye processes information differently on the paper than on a computer screen; that’s why you need to print it and take one final look for any possible mistakes. Even if you don’t see any serious defects, pay attention to formatting, punctuation, and synonyms. It’s an academic text, so make it shine!
Term Paper Sample
Be sure to check the sample of a term paper, completed by our writers. Use it as an example to perfect your own writing. Link: Term Paper Sample: Consumer Buying Behavior .
The Do’s and Don’ts of Term Paper Writing
There you have the most important tips to help you succeed in writing a term paper. Now it’s up to you to stop reading and start writing!
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Term Paper – Master Your Fear of Writing
Just be honest and tell me, how many words? And how much time have you got to do it? If you’re about to embark on writing a term paper, I have excellent news for you – this is a crash course! I’m about to introduce you to the fine art of writing term papers for any topic. We will look at an airtight outline example, some life hacks, and the usual formatting tips. Let’s dive right in!
What Is a Term Paper? Definition and Guidelines
If you’ve only just started university and have already been slammed by this frightful word, welcome to this new level of study! University is not only about cramming from tons of books: It should also, ideally, foster critical thinking, teach you how to argue your points effectively, and help you develop research skills. And you will need all three of these to write a stellar term paper!
But hang on a sec, what is a term paper? A term paper is a longer type of research-based homework on a particular topic. Term papers range from 15 to 25 pages because any less is considered lazy and any more is too much for any professor to read (trust me, I teach at a university).
In general, you should be free to select a topic for your term paper, but regardless of whether you’re free to do it or are assigned one, term papers mostly have the same goal. Namely, they test your ability to formulate and support your arguments and locate yourself in a particular theoretical framework. Sound scary yet? Don’t worry! I’m here to illuminate some of the vaguer aspects of term paper writing.
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Structuring Your Term Paper Outline (+ Sample Term Paper Outline PDF)
Before you begin writing, it’s advisable to have an idea about where exactly your writing is going. The best way to achieve this is to write an outline, or (as we sleep-deprived academics like to call it) an abstract. An abstract is a short description of your paper/article/project that outlines your main research questions and the theoretical framework you will be working with.
I generally suggest that people start with a very simple pyramid structure when writing an abstract:
- The foundation. This is where you introduce a broad, general statement on the topic of your choice. You can clarify and specify this in a few more sentences to ease your readers into the research project.
Example: Contemporary drama boasts the power to transform the audience through careful selection and crafty delivery of impactful images. By creating faux-reality, drama sometimes appeals to the affective side of the audience in order to provide commentary on a number of social and psychological issues. Duncan Macmillan’s Every Brilliant Thing capitalises on its affect-inducing potential, tackling the issue of suicidal depression.
- The middle. In this part of the outline, you state the aims of your study. Some of my favourite phrases to signal your intentions include: this paper aims to shed light on, the goal of this research paper is, the idea behind this term paper is, etc. Feel free to add some powerful verbs of action such as examine, assess, illuminate, discern, analyse, cross-reference, etc. to emphasise your ideas.
Example: This paper aims to explore how the play creates a more realistic setting by deviating from the audience’s expectations, thus blurring the line between drama and real life. It may be argued that simulated reality, exemplified through a number of exaggerations, impacts the affective component in the audience’s attitude formation and that its neglect of the cognitive reinforces the transformative power of Every Brilliant Thing .
- The top. The final part of your outline should highlight coherent hypotheses or research questions that your study will answer. While academic papers usually dream of some originality, this should not concern you yet – you don’t need to invent hot water in your term papers, but as you gain experience, novel conclusions will become easier to form.
Example: This paper will then take a final look at how the structure of the play simulates depression in order to sensitise the audience and to which extent it attains its goal of conveying the message of the universality and repercussions of the disease.
Writing an outline is a good way to organise your thoughts, figure out what kind of books you need, and anticipate your results.
In the abovementioned examples, the books you’d need would have to do with theatre, psychological influences, and simulation of reality.
This process applies to any subject. The outline can be more detailed, but it needn’t go over 300 words. A word of advice: if you cannot summarise the key points of your topic in 300 words, you should do some more brainstorming until you reach the specific goal.
PS Check out this excellent term paper outline sample !
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Term Paper Format – The Safety Net
Each term paper should follow a relatively familiar structure and way of arguing your points. Let’s start with the basics:
- Cover page. This is where your title goes (centred, bolded, pt24 ideally). The cover page should also list your personal details, such as name, address, email, student ID number, phone number (maybe), and the institution and the department for which you are writing your term paper. Each university tends to have its own layout for the cover page, but the rule of thumb is that institutional information goes above the title, whereas personal information is below.
- Table of contents – your readers need to know what to expect!
- Introduction. This is a more elaborate version of your project outline. You should specify what the paper is dealing with, what theoretical framework you’re using, and what your hypothesis is. My pro tip is to write the introduction last because term papers tend to grow as you write and you may end up with vastly different results from those you had expected.
- Theoretical framing. Explain which theories or ideas you’re using.
- Methodology. This is mostly present in scientific papers where you must explain what methods will guide your study (i.e. experiments).
- Analysis. Close readings, experiments, data surveys – whatever your project is doing, it should be doing it here.
- Discussion . Feel free to start interpreting your results in this section. A great paper does not simply list data – it compares and contrasts. You must be able to draw conclusions about what your analysis has shown you. Results as expected? Hypothesis confirmed. Results not ideal? There’s something to write about. Consider why something turned out differently and what that means for future studies.
- Optional: pitfalls and future improvements. Again, this is more present in sciences than humanities, but you could address possible pitfalls or blind spots in your study and suggest how they can be improved upon in the future. You can also talk about what lines of research your project can inspire.
- Conclusion . Time to wrap it all up. Briefly summarise the key points of research and main results. If you haven’t already devoted a separate section of the paper to this, you can also write about indications for future research in your conclusion.
Term Paper Structure Example
To give you a more precise example of a structured term paper, here’s a more detailed structure of the above-described example on theatre:
Still Unsure about How to Write a Term Paper?
Excellent, I love good questions! The truth is, writing a term paper is a labour of love (it is hard labour, especially if you’re carrying all the books!), so I will give you some tips on how to make it an enjoyable experience.
- Pick a topic you’re interested in. There’s nothing you can say to convince me that your subject is so absolutely wretchedly uninteresting that you simply cannot find such a topic. You just haven’t done your work yet. Start digging and follow the internet clicking abyss until you stumble upon something that takes your fancy. My master thesis idea was based on a single line I read in a magazine about Neil Gaiman’s American Gods – I managed to turn it into 80 pages, two scientific articles, and two talks just fine, even though it may not have been researched previously. So, whatever you’re writing about, there’s got to be a fun angle to it.
- Start reading. You cannot write a term paper from nothing. Once you have a general topic and an outline, you should start collecting your materials. Check out your library and inform yourself about the inter-library loan. Get acquainted with various scientific databases like JSTOR and ResearchGate – your university probably has wide access to many knowledge repositories you can use through an official VPN or library computers. Search by keywords and titles and save everything that sounds interesting. Learn to recognise important elements and ideas in those texts and be ready to use them to support your arguments.
- Know when to stop, too. Sometimes you’ll find yourself deep in the excitement of learning something new, but there will come a point when you realise you’re ready to put what you’ve found into your own words. Set up an experiment, survey, or study and follow up on the results. In humanities, this may mean a closer analysis of selected texts. This is where you start writing – again, leave the introduction for later and jump right into the core of the work.
- Mind the style. When writing a term paper, you need to keep certain standards up. Term papers are written in the ‘academic’ style and involve lots of passive voice, verbs of enlightenment (illustrate, examine, assess), and words marking cause-effect relationships. Don’t be afraid to use transition words to make your text and conclusions flow easily.
- Cite properly! Oh, how I hated learning all the citation styles when I was just starting out, but once you do learn the ropes, it gets easier. It’s a bit of drudgery, but my advice is to write down your sources meticulously as you go along. As soon as you cite someone, make sure you add the full citation at the end of the text (I like having them in a separate document), and don’t forget in-text citations. Depending on what field you’re studying in, you will have different citation styles (like MLA, Chicago, APA) at your disposal – make sure you check the requirements for each course and consult the corresponding websites with guidelines.
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Don’t Forget about Term Paper Editing!
And there goes the last-minute churning of text and hitting send before passing out for the next two days. Writing a term paper at university should not be left for the last minute. If you’re a chronic procrastinator, it’s time to learn to organise your time and devote enough of it to your assignments.
When you’re done with writing, you should leave your paper alone for a few days – sleep on it, as they say. You can treat this distance like any good study break – it’ll help you clear your mind, prevent resentment towards the subject, and allow you to see it through new eyes. Before submitting, re-read your text carefully and edit the writing. Weed out spelling and grammatical errors and prune unnecessary examples or repetitive statements. A good way to do this is to change the font or even font size in your writing software – this engages your perception and makes spotting mistakes easier.
Editing is also the time to consider how your arguments are holding together and whether you need to add or replace some text and/or rearrange your points. It’s an extremely important part of the writing process, but you shouldn’t overdo it either. Perfectionism can get you into the editing spiral that usually leads to messing up parts that were initially good. A few re-reads are fine, but anything more and you might as well start to rewrite the whole thing.
The last question to consider is whether you are happy with your result. Remember, this is a term paper and you’re still learning, so nobody expects it to be perfect, but you should be satisfied with what you’ve accomplished.
The Key Takeaways of Writing a Term Paper
Writing a term paper is a longer commitment than a simple essay. To ensure your success, start well ahead of time or you might find yourself rushed and stressed .
- Try to find a topic of personal interest to you.
- Scribble an outline to work out your angle or general direction of the paper.
- Read enough materials. Your library and online databases are your friends.
- Form hypotheses and set up experiments or analyses.
- Get down to business (and stop procrastinating !).
- Don’t forget to edit the paper well and format it correctly.
Source: Danica Stojanovic, ‘Theatrical (Hyper)Reality: The Effects of Breaking Formal Boundaries in Every Brilliant Thing ’, Over The Horizon, London, 2020, pp. 81‑100.
What is a term paper?
How do you write a term paper, how do you write a term paper proposal, how do you write a term paper outline, how long should a term paper be, how do you prepare a term paper, how do you write a conclusion for a term paper, how do you write a term paper introduction.
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How to Write a Term Paper: 5 Basic Components of Successful Format
Table of contents
A term paper is a research project written by students over an academic term, typically accounting for a significant part of a grade. It is intended to describe an event, a concept, or argue a point. The paper is usually original research involving a detailed study of a subject, requiring a considerable amount of preparation and effort.
The length and complexity of a term paper can vary but it's generally more comprehensive and detailed than regular academic essays. It usually includes an introduction, body, conclusion, and a bibliography citing the sources used.
Writing a term paper can be a piece of cake if you know how to properly structure it and where to begin. Browse this guide and learn how to write a term paper worth a A+.
Discover How to Write a Term Paper & What It Is
Students who earn Cs (70 per cent equivalent) do obtain degrees, but they barely get valuable, interesting job offers. Tell Granny to get ready with the magnets: we are about to start our amazing academic adventure! What is a term paper ? It is an effective method to increase the overall great point average and professional skills every student should not ignore. What is a term paper? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word this way: “A major written assignment in a school/college course representative of a student's achievement during a semester.” No matter which is your personal answer to “what is a termpaper,” it is the last chance to fix the final course grade. There will be no other chance to improve the academic performance as it is the final assignment to pop up during the semester. The need to learn how to write a term paper appears closer to of the educational year’s finish; try to be ahead of your class by reviewing the steps to writing a term paper earlier! Or you can simply get the best term paper writing service .
Accepted Essay’s Format
How to write an outline for a term paper? Do not bother – have a look at the helpful guide prepared by the talented scholars to understand what the main parts of the good final projects are! Here are five main parts of this process. Please do not be confused with five paragraph essay. Term paper help can get your assignment written in half a day, by the way.
Brief (1/3 of A4 page) description of the written work. Wonder how to write an abstract ? Write down what the topic is, reasons to discuss it (how it is related to the core college discipline/major), and your results.
What is a termpaper without a powerful introduction? It does not make any sense; stick to the following checklist to avoid missing an important introduction element:
- Define the problem.
- Include a literature review made of recent thoughts, findings, and approaches to the solution.
- Is the chosen issue significant?
- Write about the ways you plan to handle the existing problem.
Buy term papers online if that doesn't seem interesting for you at the moment.
- Explain the methods used to research corresponding sources plus the ways you selected the relevant data.
- Describe the impression of the tool, relevance, and quality of the gathered information.
- Write down the steps required to choose/utilize the information.
In this section, list the results of the experiment (trying to solve the problem) and the obstacles faced on the way while trying to answer every related question.
In the final part, the student is willing to do whatever they think is relevant. In personal words, it is important to explain what the findings mean, make a summary of the main points, draw some conclusions, & interpret the role of the findings in the context of the studied subject. The outline will prevent the student from falling off the topic, forgetting the next item in the line to discuss. Need some help with it? Call online academic writing services to allow them explain how to write a term paper by developing the most powerful essay!
“What Is a Term Paper?” on the Essay Examples
To understand a topic better, it is critical to have great examples in front of your nose. You may know how to write a term paper, having an idea of the outline, but choosing a good topic might be a challenge. A topic reflects the title, which is the face of your writing. Do not hope that your teachers/professors will give a list of great topics every time the end of the semester is closer. Modern instructors prefer to leave freedom of choice to their students. Many ways exist to help with the choice of topic:
- Recent articles
- Current news
- Favorite literature
- Movies & documentaries
If you decide to pick one of the sources as your primary source of information, do not forget to cite the quotes. It is important to add a Reference list on the last page. The basic rule of choosing the appropriate topic is to have the one, which fulfills the purposes of the college course and is the subject of the student’s interest. It makes no sense to select the topic you do not know at the advanced level. It is important to understand the criteria of choosing a topic to realize how to write a term paper. In case your head goes spinning from all the new information, simply shop for custom written term papers and call it a day.
Selecting the Topic: Criteria
What length are you planning to handle? What is a termpaper regarding of volume? It is not a typical argumentative, narrative essay ; a project of this type is a lengthy document, which contains no less than 5-10 pages. If your teacher asks for the certain amount of words, leave the word count to your Microsoft Word app. If writing huge pieces does not inspire you, try to select narrower topics. Take into account the length and plan how many words you plan to include into each part. Resources: school, college, or community libraries are no longer the best places to look for the relevant information. The modern world offers high technologies! Go to the Internet, open Google, type whatever you wish to research, and you will get millions of results. Remember: every source requires a reference. These are the top resources that will help to write a great term paper:
- Class notes
- Academic journals
The final page of your essay should contain a full Bibliography made of the cited sources. The last thing to think about is the complexity level. It is better to avoid topics you are not expert in; try choosing something you know from your personal experience & life examples, what can be explored in details. In case of any questions, professionals working in the field of your study may help. Teachers put extra credits to the works with interviews & surveys. Do not use primary sources only! Wish to learn how to write a history term paper, biology lab report , art movie review, capstone project , or how to write a dissertation in psychology? Buy a ready solution online!
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- A Research Guide
- Writing Guide
- Assignment Writing
How to Write a Term Paper
- Purpose of a term paper
- How to start a term paper
- Structure and outline
Step-by-step writing guide
Standard term paper format.
- Term paper examples
- Writing tips
What is the purpose of a term paper?
How to start a term paper correctly.
- Choose your topic by focusing on what inspires you unless you are already given a topic.
- Take time to research and analyze your subject.
- Start with a term paper outline (see our templates in the next sections).
- Come up with a strong thesis statement before writing anything for body paragraphs.
- Provide topic sentences and practical examples.
- Provide a strong lesson in the conclusion if it suits the subject you write about.
- Edit and proofread available information for trustworthiness.
Term paper structure and outline
- Introduction. This is where you talk about the subject and a problem you are researching. It helps to introduce your thesis statement and explain the objectives that have been set.
- Body Paragraphs. As a rule, in writing college term papers, one must write down several subheadings and headings to divide ideas and arguments into several (at least four) paragraphs. As done below, each body paragraph should contain one idea and a strong topic sentence.
- Heading 1: History of the argument and background.
- Heading 2: Extent of the problem that you write about.
- Heading 3: Effects of the problem and possible causes.
- Heading 4: Possible solutions and outcomes.
- Conclusion. The final part should represent a strong summary and a response to your thesis statement.
Step 1: Data collection
Step 2: explaining research relevance, step 3: introducing your subject, step 4: literature review preparation, step 5: offering results and conclusions, step 6: structural term paper evaluation, step 7: check your citations and references.
Helpful term paper examples
- Term paper examples that earned an A grade from the University of Delaware
- Sample term paper offered by the Justus-Liebig Universitat Giessen
- Purdue Owl Lab Citation Formats Database
- Simon Fraser University Sample Term Paper
Term paper writing tips
- Choose a topic that inspires you if you have an opportunity. If you have been given an already existing prompt to write, research your subject online and ask about the use of course materials. It will help you to narrow things down and already have source materials for referencing purposes.
- If you can choose a subject to write a final paper for your course, think about something you can support with statistical data and some practical evidence.
- Most importantly, keep your term paper relevant to the main objectives of your study course.
- Keep your tone reflective and natural as you write.
- Double-check your grading rubric regarding limitations and obligatory requirements that must be met.
- Always proofread your term paper aloud!
- If you have an opportunity, consider editing your term paper with the help of a friend or a fellow college student.
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How do I format a table of contents in MLA style?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook . For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .
Tables of contents may be formatted in a number of ways. In our publications, we sometimes list chapter numbers before chapter titles and sometimes list the chapter titles alone. We also sometimes list section heads beneath the chapter titles. After each chapter or heading title, the page number on which the chapter or section begins is provided. The following show examples from three of the MLA’s books.
From Elizabeth Brookbank and H. Faye Christenberry’s MLA Guide to Undergraduate Research in Literature (Modern Language Association of America, 2019):
From Approaches to Teaching Bechdel’s Fun Home, edited by Judith Kegan Gardiner (Modern Language Association of America, 2018):
From the MLA Handbook , 8th ed. (Modern Language Association of America, 2016):
Need more information? Read about where to place a table of contents in your paper .
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How to Write a Table of Contents
Last Updated: February 28, 2023 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 93% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,013,665 times.
The Table of Contents in a document acts as a map for the reader, making it easier for them to find information in the document based on title and page number. A good Table of Contents should be organized, easy to read and simple to use. You can write a Table of Contents manually on your computer or have a word processing tool create it for you. Make sure the Table of Contents is formatted properly in your final document so it is as accurate and accessible as possible.
Sample Tables of Contents
Creating the Table of Contents on a Word Processor
- The Table of Contents should be on its own page. Do not include the introduction or a dedication on the same page as the Table of Contents.
- For example, you may write down main headings like, “Introduction,” “Case Study 1,” or “Conclusion.”
- For example, under the main heading “Introduction” you may write the subheading, “Themes and Concepts.” Or under the main heading “Conclusion” you may write, “Final Analysis.”
- You can also include sub-subheadings underneath the subheadings, if applicable. For example, under the subheading “Themes and Concepts” you may have the sub-subheading, “Identity.”
- Some papers do not have subheadings at all, only main headings. If this is the case, skip this step.
- For example, if the “Introduction” section begins on page 1, you will attach “page 1” to the Introduction heading. If the “Conclusion” section begins on page 45, attach “page 45” to the Conclusion heading.
- Check that the subheadings are located underneath the correct headings, indented to the right.
- Make sure there are page numbers for the subheadings listed as well.
- You can center the content in the table using the table options if you want the content to appear a few spaces away from the lines of the table. You can also leave the content indented to the left if you'd prefer.
- You can put the title above the table or in a separate row on the top of the rest of the content.
Using a Word Processing Tool
- You should also confirm the page numbers are correct in the document. Each page should be numbered in order. Having the correct page numbers will ensure the Table of Contents is created correctly when you use the word processing tool.
- If there are subheadings in your document, label them “Heading 2.” Highlight each subheading and click on “Heading 2” in the Styles tab.
- If there are sub-subheadings in your document, label them “Heading 3.” Highlight each subheading and click on “Heading 3” in the Styles tab.
- The text and font for each main heading may change based on the settings for “Heading 1,” “Heading 2,” and “Heading 3.” You can choose your preferred text and font for each main heading so they appear as you like in the Table of Contents.
- You can choose the built-in Table of Content options, where the tool will automatically choose a font size and style for you.
- You can also go for from a list of custom Table of Contents, where you choose the font color and size based on your preferences.
Polishing the Table of Contents
- You should also check the subheadings or sub-subheadings in the Table of Contents, if applicable, to ensure they match those in the document.
- If you created the Table of Contents manually, do this by going in and adjusting the headings and/or the page numbers when they change.
- If you created the Table of Contents with a word processing tool, update it by clicking the Update option by the Table of Contents option on the Reference tab. You can side clicking on the Table of Contents and choosing “update” that way.
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- ↑ https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/word-tips/how-to-create-a-table-of-contents-in-word/1/#
- ↑ https://examples.yourdictionary.com/reference/examples/table-of-content-examples.html
- ↑ http://bitesizebio.com/21549/using-word-to-write-your-thesis-making-a-table-of-contents-inserting-captions-and-cross-referencing/
- ↑ https://guides.lib.umich.edu/c.php?g=283073&p=1886010
- ↑ https://nsufl.libguides.com/c.php?g=413851&p=2820026
About This Article
To write a table of contents, open a new document and list the major headings, titles, or chapters of the project in chronological order. Next, insert subheadings or subtopics if your project has those. Fill in the page number where each heading starts, then format the content in a table with 2 columns. Place the headings and subheadings in order in the first column, then put the page numbers in the second column. Don't forget to add a "Table of Contents" title at the top of the document! To learn more about polishing your Table of Contents, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How To Write a Table of Contents for Academic Papers
Posted by Rene Tetzner | Mar 17, 2021 | How To Get Published | 0 |
How To Write a Table of Contents for Academic Papers Although every author begins a writing project with the best of intentions and an ideal outline in mind, it often proves difficult to stick to one’s initial plans as the text begins to unfold and its complexities grow in number and depth. Sometimes a document quickly exceeds the word limits for a project, and at others certain important aspects are neglected or turn out a good deal shorter than intended. Drafting a working table of contents for your writing project can provide an excellent tool for keeping your discussion on track and your text within length requirements as you write.
A working table of contents should begin with a title. This title may change as you draft your text, but a working title will help you focus your thoughts as you devise the headings and plan the content for the main parts, chapters, sections and subsections that should be added beneath it. All headings, whether numbered or not, should be formatted in effective and consistent ways that distinguish section levels and clearly indicate the overall structure of the text. These headings can also be altered as your writing advances, but they will provide an effective outline of what you need to discuss and the order in which you think the main topics should be presented. At this initial stage, it is also a good idea to write under each heading a brief summary of or rough notes about what you hope to include in that part of the document, and you can continue to add, adjust and move material around within and among the sections as your table of contents and ultimately your text progresses. Reminders of how long (measured in words, paragraphs or pages) the entire text and each of its parts should ideally be may also prove helpful.
Once you have your annotated table of contents drafted, it will serve as an informative list of both content and order that can be productively consulted as you write. Assuming you construct your working table of contents as a computer file in the same program you intend to use for writing the entire document, you can also use the table of contents as a template for composing the text as a whole, replacing your rough notes under each heading with the formal text as you draft it. This practice lends an immediate physical presence to the guidance provided by your table of contents because you are literally working within that outline, which can be especially wise if you tend to run on or become distracted by new ideas as you write.
Finally, your working table of contents can become your final table of contents if one is required for your project. If you would like to use the working table of contents in this way and are also using it as a template, be sure to rename the file and save a separate copy before you begin adding the formal text of your document. Then you can simply delete your summaries and rough notes from the original table of contents to make your final one, leaving only the headings, to which you can add relevant page numbers as required.
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How to Write a Table of Contents: Basic, MLA, and APA Styles
Usually, tables of contents are used in documents that consist of several chapters or sections. Creating a table of contents may seem to be a simple task, however, different formatting styles and rules regarding spacing may cause some problems if students are not familiar with these standards.
College-Writers.com decided to help you prepare a good table of contents by explaining the features of the most common styles: MLA and APA. The MLA style is popular in literature, while APA is used in social sciences. If there’s no particular style specified by your professor, you may need to create a basic table of contents.
Basic Table of Contents
First, let’s see what a basic table of contents looks like. This table should demonstrate how your paper is organized, and what topics are addressed in it. You should include every section of your paper and provide a corresponding page number. If your work has big sections, you can benefit from making descriptive headlines so that your audience could easily find the necessary information on any specific subtopic. For example, if this article was several pages long, its table of contents would look like this:
Basic Table of Contents…………………………………………3
APA Style Table of Contents……………………………………5
MLA Style Table of Contents……………………………………6
Entries in your table of content should be written using capital letters, just like headlines in your paper. To make your table easy to read, line up page numbers. You can do it manually or use various programs that can format your text documents automatically. These programs can also help with spacing.
APA Table of Contents
You may or may not use the APA style in your papers, depending on your field of study, the type of your paper, and requirements of your school. Literature reviews traditionally don’t have a table of contents, having only a standard title page. In this case, you should also include an introduction and a reference list. If your paper has several major sections, its table of contents may look like this:
The title shouldn’t be underlined or written in bold font. An APA table of contents should also include an abstract and a list of references. Obviously, you should also follow the general guidelines of the APA style. When creating a table of contents according to the APA style, you may also benefit from making descriptive headlines.
MLA Table of Contents
Your MLA style paper may have a table of contents if it’s long enough. The MLA format doesn’t have any strict requirements regarding breaking up the text so you can approach this issue as you like, taking into account the type of content. Here’s a list of suggested sections for an MLA paper:
- Body (three parts);
- Conclusion (Summary);
- Explanatory Notes;
- Contact Organizations;
- Endnotes (if you don’t use citations in parentheses or footnotes);
You should also include a title page, however, there’s no need to number it, unless your title is on the main page of your paper. Don’t forget that the MLA style also requires you to provide a list of tables and illustrations. Here’s an example of a table of contents written according to the MLA format:
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Table of Contents Format
For Academic Papers
This table of contents is an essential part of writing a long academic paper, especially theoretical papers.
This article is a part of the guide:
- Outline Examples
- Example of a Paper
- Write a Hypothesis
Browse Full Outline
- 1 Write a Research Paper
- 2 Writing a Paper
- 3.1 Write an Outline
- 3.2 Outline Examples
- 4.1 Thesis Statement
- 4.2 Write a Hypothesis
- 5.2 Abstract
- 5.3 Introduction
- 5.4 Methods
- 5.5 Results
- 5.6 Discussion
- 5.7 Conclusion
- 5.8 Bibliography
- 6.1 Table of Contents
- 6.2 Acknowledgements
- 6.3 Appendix
- 7.1 In Text Citations
- 7.2 Footnotes
- 7.3.1 Floating Blocks
- 7.4 Example of a Paper
- 7.5 Example of a Paper 2
- 7.6.1 Citations
- 7.7.1 Writing Style
- 7.7.2 Citations
- 8.1.1 Sham Peer Review
- 8.1.2 Advantages
- 8.1.3 Disadvantages
- 8.2 Publication Bias
- 8.3.1 Journal Rejection
- 9.1 Article Writing
- 9.2 Ideas for Topics
It is usually not present in shorter research articles, since most empirical papers have similar structure .
A well laid out table of contents allows readers to easily navigate your paper and find the information that they need. Making a table of contents used to be a very long and complicated process, but the vast majority of word-processing programs, such as Microsoft WordTM and Open Office , do all of the hard work for you.
This saves hours of painstaking labor looking through your paper and makes sure that you have picked up on every subsection. If you have been using an outline as a basis for the paper, then you have a head start and the work on the table of contents formatting is already half done.
Whilst going into the exact details of how to make a table of contents in the program lies outside the scope of this article, the Help section included with the word-processing programs gives a useful series of tutorials and trouble-shooting guides.
That said, there are a few easy tips that you can adopt to make the whole process a little easier.
The Importance of Headings
In the word processing programs, there is the option of automatically creating headings and subheadings, using heading 1, heading 2, heading 3 etc on the formatting bar. You should make sure that you get into the habit of doing this as you write the paper, instead of manually changing the font size or using the bold format.
Once you have done this, you can click a button, and the program will do everything for you, laying out the table of contents formatting automatically, based upon all of the headings and subheadings.
In Word, to insert a table of contents, first ensure that the cursor is where you want the table of contents to appear. Once you are happy with this, click 'Insert' on the drop down menu, scroll down to 'Reference,' and then across to 'Index and Tables'.
Click on the 'Table of Contents' tab and you are ready to click OK and go. OpenOffice is a very similar process but, after clicking 'Insert,' you follow 'Indexes and Tables' and 'Indexes and Tables' again.
The table of contents should appear after the title page and after the abstract and keywords, if you use them. As with all academic papers, there may be slight variations from department to department and even from supervisor to supervisor.
Check the preferred table of contents format before you start writing the paper , because changing things retrospectively can be a little more time consuming.
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Martyn Shuttleworth (Aug 27, 2009). Table of Contents Format. Retrieved Sep 27, 2023 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/table-of-contents-format
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