How to Write a Term Paper Proposal

by Patricia Smith Michaels, Demand Media

Writing a term paper proposal requires a topic, a working title and a clear intention of the paper you are planning to write. The purpose of the proposal is to present a working title and detailed description of the paper so that an instructor can give corrections and adjustments for the final paper. Doing enough prep work for the proposal will get you started on writing a draft of your eventual paper.

Step 1

Pick a topic that is familiar or of interest. Make sure that the topic meets the assignment guidelines before you begin.

Step 2

Write a brief description of the paper. Be sure to include the paper title even if it is a tentative one.

Step 3

Outline the parts of the paper and a brief description of what each part will cover. A sample outline might include a "Background" section about the topic, and a "Purpose" section which covers the questions to be answered by the term paper. Include a "Results or Findings" section, describing how the paper would fulfill the questions. Write a "Significance" section describing why the results are important. Finally, include a "Conclusion" section, providing a summary of the paper, the results and any thoughts on future work for the topic. Be as brief as possible because you are only providing an idea of what readers can expect to see in the final draft.

Step 4

Explain the significance of the topic and what contribution the paper will make to knowledge about the topic. For example, you might write how your paper will give the reader more insight on a specific topic or confirm a pre-declared hypothesis. If this is a research paper, give a discussion on the intended results even though you have not gone through the research yet.

Step 5

List planned references for the paper. If references are primary sources, such as interviews, explain how you will gather the data and present it.

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About the Author

Patricia Smith Michaels has been writing business and technology articles online since 2010. She has written instructional manuals and white papers for corporations and has more than 20 years of experience as a researcher and consultant in the areas of health care, education and management. She holds a Master of Business Administration in management and a Bachelor of Science in computers from St. John's University.

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