It may be that you've been asked to write your first term paper and you're not sure where to start, or you've not studied for a while and you can't remember how best to approach the task. Alternatively, you may already be good at writing term papers but in need of a plan to speed up the process, advice on how to improve your writing skills or polish an existing piece of work.
Whatever your reason for looking for information on term papers, we have put together a comprehensive set of instructions which, if followed, make writing a good term paper a simple and formulaic process. You'll find that sometimes your university gives you the term paper title.
In that case, you can skip this section and move on to the next stage of researching and gathering information for your term paper. If you don't yet have a title, consider this: How many professional research papers have you come across in the course of your studies entitled 'Philosophy'..
Indeed, these are topics but they are just not specific enough to get a decent grade. If you want to write a good term paper, the best advice is to pose a question for your title and make sure you answer it. So how do you come up with a good question? Let's take the criminology subject of 'restorative justice' as an example.
This means that rather sending people to prison, we look for ways they can 'make amends'. It's a subject on which there is a great deal of debate so it should give us some good results. You want to base your term paper on something that interests people. Current issues and debates interest people. So let's look on CNN and see what current debates have been raised about restorative justice. We get three results, two of which don't seem to relate to restorative justice and one that most definitely does.
This is a great start - you could pose various questions for your term paper from this. Another place to generate ideas for a term paper title is Google itself. A quick search for the term 'restorative justice' reveals a host of information sites that will be rich in news, articles, debates and current developments - and therefore, ideas for your term paper. As a term paper is usually the result of a term's worth of research, with any luck you'll have a good collection of notes and information at your disposal.
Unfortunately, not all students are this well organized! So if you haven't already done your term paper research, where do you find the sort of source material that's going to get you an A grade? Libraries are a thing of the past - the Internet is your new best friend. Most universities will give you an 'athens' password which is a magical key unlocking thousands of research databases all over the world.
An amazing list of these sources can be found here:. Open University Web Resources. When you've gathered together a good selection of information, make sure you then evaluate the quality of it - unless the source material for the term paper topic you have chosen is sparse, you'll need to decide what to include and what not to include in your term paper.
You'll be able to further sift through and sort your findings when you create an outline later - at which point you'll be looking for material to deal with specific points in your term paper. So you've got a title for your term paper and you've got some relevant research material that will help you build some arguments and indeed, support them in your term paper.
As mentioned previously, one of the best ways to learn how to write a term paper worthy of a passing grade comes from researching and reviewing previously written term papers that received high marks. Several colleges and universities make submissions from their top students available online.
Here are a few examples:. In many cases, the topic you are required to write about will be chosen by the professor. However, there will be times when you are asked to choose your own research topic. The most important thing to remember is to keep it relevant to your course study, wherever possible, pick a topic that interests you — or something that you genuinely want to know more about — this will increase the chances that you will remain engaged and eager to write a solid paper with lots of substance.
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Narrow down your topic to something that can really be worked within the boundaries of the paper. If the topic is already chosen for you, start exploring unique angles that can set your content and information apart from the more obvious approaches many others will probably take.
Finally, whatever angle your topic takes, it should be both original in approach and insightful, something the reader will be drawn into and fascinated by. Take great care not to choose a topic and be so set on how you see the outcome of your paper that you're closed to new ideas and avenues of thinking as you work through the paper. This is known in academia as "premature cognitive commitment".
It can mar an otherwise good paper because an outcome that is pre-determined in your head, regardless of the research findings along the way, will be molded to fit the outcome, rather than the outcome reflecting a genuine analysis of the discoveries made. Instead, ask continuous questions about the topic at each stage of your research and writing and see the topic in terms of a " hypothesis " rather than as a conclusion.
In this way, you'll be prepared to be challenged and to even have your opinion changed as you work through the paper. Reading other people's comments, opinions and entries on a topic can often help you to refine your own, especially where they comment that "further research" is required or where they posit challenging questions but leave them unanswered.
For some more help, see How to establish a research topic. It's pointless to launch into writing before you've done the research. You need to understand the background to the topic and the current thinking, as well as finding out what future research is considered necessary in the area. While it may be tempting to rehash information you already know really well, avoid doing this or you learn nothing from the research and writing process.
Go into research with a sense of adventure and an openness to learning things you've yet to grasp, as well as being ready to discover new ways of looking at old problems. When researching, use both primary original text, document, legal case, interviews, experiment, etc.
There is also a place for discussing with like-minded students and even finding online discussions about the topic if you feel comfortable doing this but these discussions are for idea-sharing and helping you to gel your ideas and are not usually quotable sources. For more information, here are some helpful resources to check out: How to research a paper. How to take notes , How to take better notes , How to take notes from a textbook , How to take notes on a book and How to take Cornell notes.
Refine your thesis statement. After you've done the research, reflect back over the chosen topic. At this point, it's essential to pinpoint the single, strong idea you'll be discussing, your assertion that you believe you can defend throughout the paper and that makes it clear to a reader what they're about to learn about and be given a sound conclusion on.
Your thesis statement is the spine of your essay, the idea that you'll go on to defend in the paragraphs that follow. Serve it up half-baked and the remainder of the paper is bound to be flavorless. Construct a thesis that your research has proven is interesting to you — that way, backing it up won't be such a bore. Once you're satisfied that your topic is sound and clarified, proceed to writing your first draft.
Remember that the research doesn't stop here. And nor does the thesis statement, necessarily. Allow room for flexibility as you continue working through both the research and the writing, as you may wish to make changes that align with the ideas forming in your mind and the discoveries you continue to unearth. On the other hand, do be careful not to be a continuous seeker who never alights upon a single idea for fear of confinement.
At some point you are going to have to say: Develop an outline for the paper. Some people can work on a term paper skipping this step; they're a rare and often time-pressed breed. It is far better to have an outline sketched out so that you know where you're headed, just as a road map helps you to know where you're going from A to B.
Like the entire paper, the outline is not set in stone but subject to changes. However, it does give you a sense of structure and a framework to fall back on when you lose your way mid paper and it also serves as the skeleton of your paper, and the rest is just filling in the details. There are different approaches to developing an outline and you may even have your own personal, preferred method. As a general guidance, some of the basic elements of an outline should include: Descriptive or explanatory paragraphs following the introduction, setting the background or theme.
Using your research, write out the main idea for each body paragraph. Any outstanding questions or points you're not yet sure about. See How to write an outline for more details. Make your point in the introduction.
The introductory paragraph is challenging but avoid turning it into a hurdle. Of all the paper, this is the part often most likely to be rewritten as you continue working through the paper and experience changes of direction, flow and outcome.
As such, see it as simply a means of getting started and remind yourself that it's always revisable. This approach allows you the freedom to mess it up but rectify it as needed. Also use this as an opportunity to help yourself come to grips with the general organization of the term paper by explaining the breakdown, something the reader will also need to be aware of from the start.
Try using HIT as the means for getting your introduction underway: H ook the reader using a question or a quote. Or perhaps relate a curious anecdote that will eventually make absolute sense to the reader in the context of the thesis.
I ntroduce your topic. Be succinct, clear and straightforward.
How To Write A Term Paper. This guide covers what a term paper is, how to form a title for your term paper, how to decide what to put in your paper, how to conclude your paper and even how to reference your paper correctly.
Learn how to write a Term Paper with our Ultimate Guide. Follow every step to submit the paper that would stun your professor!
Dec 22, · How to Write a Term Paper. Two Methods: Sample Papers Writing Your Own Term Paper Community Q&A. beyond the purview of this brief guide). The best essays are like grass court tennis – the argument should flow in a "rally" style, building persuasively to the conclusion%(11). Writing a term paper worthy of a high grade requires much more than a few research hours and some words on a paper. Time, planning, above-average writing skill, these are just a few of the things needed to create a noteworthy paper.
GUIDE TO TERM PAPER WRITING GOAL. Imagine you wish to describe a controversy surrounding a particular topic within some field of computers, and their effects on society, to a person who has no preliminary knowledge of what you wish to discuss. Syllabus Supplement. Term Paper Guide. The Term Paper must meet the following requirements. Minimum length is 3, words. The topic will be a philosopher from among a posted list of living philosophers. You may pick your favorite from this list or if you wish I will assign one for you based on your interests. You can research aspects of the.