How To Create A Proper Table Of Contents For A Term Paper: Useful Advice

Smaller assignments often don’t require the use of a table of contents (TOC), but longer works like research papers or term papers sometimes do require a TOC to help readers navigate to specific sections. Because students hardly get to work on long assignments early on in their high school or college careers, they find properly formatting and structuring a TOC quite difficult. Here’s some useful advice on how to create a proper TOC:

Creating Section Headings:

Today, most word processing assignments allow you to set preferences and automatically insert headings into your document. This makes it easy to do so as you writer your paper, rather than have to manually bold text or change font size to signal the start of a new section heading. Section headings are important because readers have an easier time transition from one topic to another and will understand the organization of your term paper much more easily.

Creating Section Sub-Headings:

Similarly, sub-headings are important in separating out even smaller sections within a heading. For instance you may have a term paper that discusses the similarities and differences in mammals of Southern Europe and Northern Africa. An effective use of sub-headings would place three different types of mammals as sub-sections beneath a heading for Northern Africa. Again, all of this helps a reader understand your content more, especially when your work is several pages long.

Separating Sections into Pages:

A great way of making your term paper easier to follow is to separate sections to begin on a new page throughout your work. This will also make it easier to structure you table of contents so that navigation to a new section is easy to follow. There are a number of different formats and styles for you to follow on each section start, but you should first consult with your teacher to be sure he or she doesn’t have any specific requirements.

Putting it all Together in a TOC:

The table of content on a term paper page should be as simple and as clear as possible. Most word processors have a function that automatically take the content from your paper and organizes the headers and sub-headers into a TOC. But you may want to go through each line and find ways to edit the content into plain and simple English that is visually appealing and easy to read.