Term Paper Format and Outline

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If you are required to submit a term paper at the end of this semester, worry not. The following guide will explain the basic term paper format and outline that should be used. It will also expound on what content to include in the various parts of the outline.

A term paper is a research-based writing assignment that students are supposed to submit at the end of the term. A student is expected to comprehensively elaborate on a topic that could be a concept, argument, or even a case study. There is no definite length of a term paper, and the tutor often specifies this. Writing a term paper takes much more and requires a lot of commitment. Getting help from one of our experts can ease the writing process

Difference Between A Term Paper And Research Paper

While many people think that term papers and research papers are more or less the same, they have significant differences. For instance, the purpose of a term paper is to assess the level of knowledge that a student has on a particular topic.

The essay affects the overall grades of a student and must be taken seriously. However, a research paper aims at solving a specific problem and improving the research skills of a student. Their formats are slightly different as well.

Additionally, a research paper has a hypothesis, and students reject or accept it based on available data at the end of the essay. On the contrary, a term paper is more straightforward and mostly tries to support a thesis. That is the reason why research papers are more prolonged than term papers. Also, term papers are submitted at the end of a semester, while research papers take longer.

The Basic Term Paper Format And Outline Explained

The format of your paper dictates how you arrange your ideas and the flow of the entire write-up. Hence, it needs to be a solid outline so that readers can grasp your concepts. The formats differ depending on the field of study. However, all term papers have a basic format. The significant parts of the outline are the introduction, body, and conclusion. The following is a simple term paper layout that you should follow when writing your essay.

  • Cover page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Results and discussion
  • Recommendations
  • Reference list

Cover page

It should contain your name, course name and number, tutor’s name, and submission date. These contents should be aligned at the center of the page.


It is usually a few paragraphs long and describes your paper. It informs the reader about your aims and why your issue or topic is worth writing.


It should be exciting and should explain the significance of your problem or topic and how you plan to discuss or solve the issue.


It should have the main arguments from your research. Give a brief history of the problem, the impact and effects of the issues, and possible solutions. Exhaust all your points and back them up with citations to convince your reader. Include an analysis of your research and expound on various positions regarding your topic.

Results and discussion

The findings of your research should be explained here. Additionally, you should discuss how your research findings affect your view on the topic and conclude your work with the support of measurable results.


Here, include suggestions that could improve on the work in the future

Reference list

Include all your sources here. Arrange them in Alphabetical order and use the correct citation style. The most common formats are APA and MLA. You should confirm what method to use from your paper guidelines. You can use citation creators to make your work easier.

Writing A Term Paper Following The Right Outline

Once you have the outline, it becomes easy to arrange the ideas of your research. Ensure that you include your thoughts in the right segments. Also, avoid plagiarism and use the specified fonts, spacing, and citation styles. Use simple and clear language for your readers to understand easily.

Once done, you need to proofread and get a peer to review your paper. Then, send the first draft to your tutor for corrections. Finally, write the final essay and submit it.

Example Of A Term Paper

Solitary Confinement



Solitary Confinement

Solitary confinement is the isolation of criminals in a separate cell. This is usually done as a form of punishment for inmates who break the rules while they are in prison. Today in the United States, about eight two thousand inmates are held every day in solitary confinement. The average time that prisoners are held ranges between twenty-two and twenty-four hours in a day in a confined space. Those who agree with solitary confinement defend the act by stating that it is necessary to discipline prisoners who break the rules while they are locked up. They also argue that it is an essential step in ensuring that prisoners who exhibit erratic behaviour are disciplined and those with mental disorders are separated from the others. Although these might be arguably good points, they fail to identify the fact that frequently, the confinement process fails to serve its purpose of discipline and causes prisoners with aggression to become even more aggressive. At the same time, it only worsens the situation for prisoners who suffer from mental illnesses. The process also causes psychological damage to inmates because of the nature of the punishment and the room where it is administered, and it proves to go against human rights because of the nature of its inhumane treatment (Arrigo and Bullock 2008). Research indicates that solitary confinement may be responsible for repeat offenders and the heightening of violence within prison walls. Solitary confinement should be discontinued because it has indicated that it is more detrimental than beneficial to the inmate, the correctional facility, and the society at large.

Pro-solitary confinement advocates argue that prison wardens and guards need to take necessary precautions to protect themselves while working in prison. This means that the prison staff should have full control of the prisoners. In order to have control, then prison staff must be in complete control of the mobility of inmates to reduce the chances of cases of violence and inflicting harm on other prisoners or members of staff. In this case, solitary confinement helps manage the movement of prisoners who display acts of violence by reducing their movements and hence ensuring that they are not in contact with anyone who they might harm. Solitary confinement mainly occurs for prisoners who are often caught breaking the rules, being aggressive, and practicing habitual offenses (Grassian 1983). The institution is meant to manage their behaviour and teach them a lesson. The punishment is usually used as a last resort when all other measures of control, including pepper spray and restrain chairs, have been exhausted. The methods which the staff use to restrain inmates who show disregard for regulations have not been quite clearly defined, which makes it difficult to understand when the human right of the person has been violated. However, in the cases where a prison staff member fails to protect an inmate, and the prisoner ends up being injured or killed then the staff members will be criminally charged for failing to protect the prisoner.

The law indicates that harm must not come to an inmate while an officer us present and the failure to protect the prisoner from injury will be met with firm penalties. In a case in 2005, a group of officers was found guilty of negligence when they failed to protect a prisoner who was murdered by another prisoner while they were on a prison bus. According to reports, three of the officers were found guilty of negligence while one of them was found guilty of gross negligence while the attack was taking place. The family won a settlement of eighteen million dollars for the murder. Since the state formally employed the officers, the state was required to cover about two hundred thousand dollars for each of the officers. The officer who was found guilty of gross negligence did not receive any support from his employers (Cooper v. Rodriguez 2014). The cases of the murder of the prisoner further demonstrate the crucial need to be in control of prisoners at all times. This ensures that there are fewer cases of a similar nature happening. The process allows the segregation of prisoners who display violent behaviour, therefore, enabling the prevention of activities that might lead to harm on any of the inmates. By having the inmate in solitary confinement, they cannot bring harm to the rest because they are monitored closely throughout the time.

Currently, there have been several concerns raised about the impact of solitary confinement on the health of an inmate. The research indicated that the act had dangerous implications on mental health on the psychological wellbeing of an inmate. This was first seen during the Korean war, where prisoners were kept in solitary confinement. This led to research on the effects of the isolation on the mental health of prisoners (Haney 2003). It indicated that isolating human beings from all social interactions and deprive them of any interaction with other humans. They may begin to lose all touch with reality and become unaware of their surroundings. It is argued that even a few days of being confined can completely shift normal brain patterns leading to a loss of a touch of reality.

Over time, the prisoner loses complete awareness, and their attentiveness is completely damaged. This means that they cannot use interactive with external stimulation moving forward, causing them to contact hyperresponsiveness where they are declared to be psychiatrically sick. The damage is often permanent, which means that even after their release, they cannot blend with society again. In the year 2008, Evan an inmate who had been sentenced to solitary confinement after being aggressive with an officer murdered the head of the prison facility, Tom Clement, where he had been held after release by shooting him (Zennie 2013). This is just but an example of a case where solitary confinement only worsened the situation of an inmate and made him even more aggressive, causing him to commit a bigger crime than he was previously sentenced for. At times, it makes them even more dangerous due to their inadequate sense of attention.

In accordance with the law of the United States, it is illegal to inflict pain on an inmate that may lead to an injury such as organ failure. It also prevents torture that may inflict mental agony because it risks brain impairment (Grassian 1983). It was reported that fifteen days in confinement is the maximum punishment beyond which irreversible psychological harm may take place. This is after many inmates have spent an even longer time in solitary confinement. Although it allows segregation of aggressive inmates from the rest, it risks the inmate acquiring irreversible damage to their psychological health, and allowing them back in society becomes more dangerous than it was initially. Extreme cases of isolation increase the instances of psychological disorders in prisoners.

Solitary confinement should be discontinued because it has been proven to have severe effects on the mental health of a patient. Even in shorter periods of confinement prisoners have been shown to show higher levels of aggression than they initially displayed when been detained. At the same time, the infrastructure that is associated with the process is quite expensive and causes a big gap in state funds. The reality is that once a prisoner who has been in solitary confinement for long enough is released, they become a danger to both themselves and the society they expect to welcome them back. They leave with feelings of vengeance and anger towards their punishers and the rest of the community. It is, therefore, more valuable for a state to find other ways of separating inmates who show signs of aggression rather than solitary confinement as this might worsen their condition.

Despite the benefits that come from solitary confinement, it has been found to impede the justice system often more than it benefits it. The act is very expensive. This is because of the number of staff members that are required. While in solitary, the cost of maintaining the facility turns out to be much higher than that of a normal cell. The cost of the confinement facility is also very high. The funding that is required in solitary confinement alone reduces the financing that could be used in other programs that would be beneficial to citizens, including education programs or drug abuse prevention programs. At the same time, it does not discipline the prisoner in most cases. Instead, the inmates come from solitary confinement with feelings of heightened belligerence and reprisal. The state government should, therefore, discontinue the act of solitary confinement because it goes against the point of correctional punishment which is to reform the behaviour of a prisoner and it eats into state funds that could serve better purposes.


Arrigo, B. A., & Bullock, J. L. (2008). The psychological effects of solitary confinement on prisoners in supermax units: Reviewing what we know and recommending what should change. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 52(6), 622-640.

Cooper v. Rodriguez (2014). FindLaw’s Court of Appeals of Maryland case and opinions. Retrieved 6 May 2020, from https://caselaw.findlaw.com/md-court-of-appeals/1708843.html

Grassian, S. (1983). Psychopathological effects of solitary confinement. American Journal of Psychiatry, 140(11), 1450-1454.

Haney, C. (2003). Mental health issues in long-term solitary and “supermax” confinement. Crime & Delinquency, 49(1), 124-156.

Zennie, M. (2013). Did solitary confinement turn an affluent attorney’s son into ‘white supremacist gunman ‘Evil Evan?”. Retrieved 6 May 2020, from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2297910/Evan-Ebel-Did-solitary-confinement-turn-affluent-attorneys-son-white-supremacist-gunman-Evil-Evan.html

Now you know the basic term paper format and outline thanks to this article. You can use it to write term papers on any subject. However, remember to include any other segment that your tutor specifies.

What is a term paper format?

A term paper is normally used to explain a concept, an event, or argue on a point. It is an original written work discussing the topic and usually written on lengthy pages. Especially during the end of the semester.

What are the parts of a term paper?

The parts of a term paper include; chapter titles, tables of content, abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, recommendation, and reference.

How should a term paper look like?

The main parts of the term paper include; introduction, a body, and a conclusion that should be well structured and organized.

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