How to Write a Term Paper in MLA Style

How to Write a Term Paper in MLA Style

Many newbies experience a lot of stress from having to write a term paper for the first time. In part, these fears are justified because you have to consider many aspects and requirements of your professor. However, one of the main concerns is the MLA format. But let's not panic. These are just a set of citation and formatting guidelines, and you can easily figure out all the basics. So, how to write a term paper MLA style? Here's what you should know first.

  1. Use standard, white, 8.5 x 11–inch paper.
  2. 1-inch margins are a must.
  3. Double-space your paper.
  4. An 11-point Calibri or Arial is a good choice.
  5. Use the top margin for every page header.

He that would eat the fruit must climb the tree. This is why you should take a little time to understand all the basic aspects of formatting. Then you won't have any stress while writing your paper. However, there are many more aspects that you should know about.

The Paper Definition

First of all, every beginner should understand what type of assignment is to be done. Any term paper involves a detailed study of an object, subject, or event based on reliable data. In addition, you have to conduct research and confirm or refute your opinion on a certain aspect. Typically, you have to write about 15 pages or about 5,000 words. However, the final amount may differ, especially if your professor decides to give you additional instructions.

This Is Not a Research Paper!

Writing a paper in MLA is not something extraordinary, especially if you know all aspects of the paper. Typically, the main difference between your assignment and the research paper is the time frame. Typically, you need to complete your term paper by the end of the semester. 

On the other hand, any research paper can even take several months. Another main difference is that term paper is a mix of knowledge in a certain area and implementing data. Plus, you don't have to start your research from scratch. It is enough to make certain works of researchers as a basis and draw a conclusion based on the available data.

How to Write MLA Papers?

Let's imagine that your consciousness is a blank slate, and you want to know where you should start in order not to make mistakes and not waste a lot of time. A couple of important aspects will help you meet your professor's requirements and write a great paper.

Be Prepared for Long Research Hours

And here is the first pitfall that occurs in the path of the vast majority of students. Let's say you've received your topic and are ready to start today. What are your initial steps? Most likely, you will immediately start writing your intro and will be partly right. But let's look at the facts. Most likely, you still know practically nothing about the selected topic. So how reliable and valuable will the information you add to your paper be?

Newbies think that only new paragraphs can testify to the successful process of working on such an assignment. However, without preliminary research, your paper is unlikely to be complete. Reserve at least a couple of days to analyze all reliable sources and have a certain scientific foothold.

Create an Outline First

And here is another important aspect. How can you get started without a definite plan and framework for your paper? List all points, sections, and paragraphs. In addition, you can add a couple of sentences to each item so as not to forget the main message and certain aspects of your research. Then you won't have any questions like, "How to start an MLA paper?" Take your time and create your outline based on your professor's requirements. Don't forget that you have a classic format that you must stick to.

  • Title page;
  • abstract (if needed);
  • table of contents;
  • intro;
  • main parts;
  • conclusion;
  • references.

It will be easier to follow the basic structure as you search for important data for your assignment. But your main task is to discuss all the details with the professor in advance and find out what nuances you should pay attention to in the first place.

Come up With a Compelling Intro

It's no secret that your only reader will be your professor. However, this does not mean you should avoid using the hook to grab the reader’s attention or a specific quote. Your intro should be lightweight and informative. This part of the paper is a prelude to the main paragraphs and a starting point for your research. There is nothing wrong if you return to the starting section at the very end. Then you have more data.

Avoid Fluff Words

Fluff words are exactly what kills the value of your paper. You can only write more vague wording if you don't have the time and are forced to compromise. In other cases, you should think about expressing your thoughts and judgments as succinctly and concisely as possible. Imagine that you are a person who writes laws for any country. The lives of many people depend on your formulation and accuracy. Such a trick allows you not to be distracted from work and operate only with facts. Finally, you can ask your professor to lower the word count if you think you can cover your topic faster.

Make Sure to Proofread

Even if you have coped with an assignment and completed the last paragraph, you should not stop. Check every part of your assignment. Take a look at possible errors or inaccuracies. Your paper needs to be polished because only then can you expect high grades. Study each sentence carefully and rewrite the weak parts. Then you can not doubt the result.

How to Write a MLA Essay?

Let's say you already know where to start your term paper. But what about regular essays because this type of assignment is the most common? Don't worry; the formatting rules are identical for most papers. The first thing you need to know is that your essay is divided into three parts: intro, body paragraphs, and conclusion. The script for writing your paper will be no different from the classic 5-paragraph essay.

Picking the Right Sources

And here is the main problem, which is a nightmare for all beginners. How to choose the right sources for your paper? Are there any tips or patterns? How to write a research paper in MLA format and get a high grade? Don't worry; there are a few key things you need to keep in mind. First, you cannot link to regular articles on the Internet. So first, you should focus on the reputation of the source.

Also, pay attention to the author. Perhaps this is a scientist or a famous researcher. One option is to consult with your professor. Specify which books. Articles or websites you can use to find quotes. Then it will be easier for you to cope with your task.

Good Paper Topics to Start Writing

Don't forget that choosing the right topic will help you achieve great results. What if you feel the passion and desire to start your research right now? Then you are on the right track. Here are the best options for getting started writing your paper.

Term Paper Topics on Education

And here is the first list that you should pay attention to. Education plays an important role in the life of every person. First of all, you can concentrate on describing the main nuances of the American educational system. You can also touch on distance learning and social media as a new vector for the comprehension of knowledge.

  1. How does distance learning affect the level of student knowledge?
  2. Can plagiarism be avoided when citing sources?
  3. Should you conduct gender grading in schools?
  4. How does the social environment affect the quality of education?
  5. Does social media affect students' knowledge?
  6. Why is modern education in need of reform?
  7. Why is discrimination in school a common problem?
  8. How difficult is it to get an educational grant in the USA?
  9. Are the changes in the student paper grading system important?
  10. Should students study abroad?

These are just some of the options that you can take as a basis. Feel free to experiment and touch on sensitive topics. The only condition is compliance with all rules and regulations.

Term Paper Topics on Environment

Here's another great option for those who don't know what to write about. Start exploring the impact of glaciers on world water levels. You can also focus on the consequences of the migration of certain animals or birds. Your main task is to confirm your statements with real data and rely solely on facts.

  1. Why is humanity still not exclusively using renewable energy sources?
  2. How can you solve the problem with landfills in megacities?
  3. What are the main disadvantages of solar energy?
  4. Do hurricanes affect animal populations in environmental disasters?
  5. How to get rid of overpopulation in the modern world?
  6. Can alternative energy be used instead of nuclear reactors?
  7. How does the environmental situation affect the life expectancy of people?
  8. Why can the Gulf Stream change its direction of movement?
  9. Why are science films about ecology so important for new generations?
  10. How to avoid large-scale fires during a drought?

As you can see, you have tons of options to start your research. Even ordinary aspects such as the influx of people to large cities can be used as a basis for your research. As a last resort, you can combine the two topics if you think this will get a good grade.

Term Paper Topics on Social Issues

Social issues are another option for your paper. The main advantage is that you are not limited to any aspects and can write about absolutely everything. For example, you can raise issues of inequality, segregation, or generational conflicts.

  1. Why is the death penalty justified in modern society?
  2. Does every person need religious education?
  3. Why is gender inequality and discrimination still a problem in our society?
  4. Why have flash mobs and demonstrations lost their relevance?
  5. How can you build contact between different generations of Americans?
  6. Do modern people need to be more tolerant?
  7. How to avoid global conflicts?
  8. Can social divisions cause discrimination?
  9. Does skin color affect integration into modern society?
  10. Can all social groups be made happy?

Try to find research, reputable sources, and writers with expert opinions. Then you won't have any problems with your paper. But first, you should think about making sure your topic isn't too provocative.

Useful Tips For Beginners

Do Not Hurry

Hurrying is the worst decision for those newbies who decide to write a term paper. It is best to reserve enough time to write a draft and edit any weak points in advance. The fact is that each topic can have redistributed nuances and a different amount of data for research. Do not delay the moment of writing the paper. Otherwise, you risk getting a low grade.

Organize Your Research

Take at least 30 minutes to organize all your research processes. Find trusted sources and create your outline. Any beginner needs to have a clear sequence of actions in order not to make typical mistakes. Try to organize all the data so as not to drown in the flow of information.

Don't Be Afraid to Delete Some Parts of Your Paragraphs

Sometimes students pay too much attention to secondary details, moving away from the main essence of the chosen topic. That is why you should not be afraid to delete some of the text if it does not help you in any way to support your thesis. Instead, be consistent and logical, especially if your topic involves scrutinizing certain processes.

Talk to Your Professor

Many students mistakenly think that paper is some kind of test worth going through alone. This is partly true, but your professor is interested in you gaining experience and knowledge. So don't be afraid to ask for obvious details or clarify the format of your paper. As a general rule, you shouldn't have a problem clarifying some details.