How to Write a Term Paper
Term papers are such written assignments which have as their main goal to check the knowledge of a particular student (or a group of students), and also give an opportunity to the latter to show and apply their knowledge. Term tests are widely used in different academic areas. Therefore in the following paper you will get familiar with some general tips on how to write a term paper. Make yourself sure that you know what the requirements in your specific field are. Humanities and social sciences require more theoretical analysis, more citations and references to given theories. Natural sciences require more experimentation and observation, thus your term paper will be more like an explanation of the experiment conducted. Of course, this is very general: every field has its own peculiarities.
Writing a term paper – 8 important tips
1. Understand your assignment
First you need to realize what is required from you. Remember that the most important thing is to show your knowledge and to apply it (if necessary). There will either be a topic assigned to your paper, or you will choose it yourself. The second option of course is better because it allows you to focus your efforts on a subject well known to you.
2. Work on the topic
Now you have to think more about the topic. In Humanities and Social sciences topics are usually more general, hence they include more concepts which can be exploited by you. A topic can sometimes be misleading so you should be well familiar with the subject in question. In Natural sciences topics are always strictly and precisely defined.
3. Preliminary research
This stage includes reading literature related to your topic. You can start from the more general literature and then narrow it down to more specific titles (articles, monographs).
Advice: calculate the time needed for reading. If you have only one week to read, then you should read one book and a few articles. Do not try to read too much because this will make you confused. Read only what is most important!
4. Make an outline
Prepare an outline of your term paper. Include all important ideas, your thesis and bibliography. This should be your point of departure, so do not write too much. This outline should be followed very strictly by you when you start writing the draft of the term paper.
5. Write an abstract
An abstract is not a must-do, but at times the instructor may require to write it. This is a short summary of the paper. Usually, it does not exceed 100 words. You can write the abstract together with the outline (for it is always easier to write a summary at the beginning of the writing process than at the very end).
6. Introduce your thesis
You can introduce the topic and the problem you analyze in the paper. Then it is advisable to formulate your thesis (or hypothesis) in a few sentences (but not more than five lines long). Keep in mind that the thesis cannot be changed during the writing process. Thus, if you want to change it later, you should re-write the whole paper.
7. Support the thesis with arguments
Expose several arguments in support of your thesis. If the case is related to some experiment, you can present the data derived from the latter. At any rate, the arguments need to be relevant (i.e. strictly related) to the topic, and also they should not allow for other interpretation of the data (i.e. they should support exactly this thesis, and not assume another one). Another point is that they need to be reliable (derived from or related to reliable sources).
8. Attach additional information and bibliography
You can attach documents from some archive, videos, photos, or diagrams. Then add a list of the titles used during your research. Adhere to a given academic standard for referencing (according to your academic field).
Writing a term paper is not a difficult thing to do. Usually, the problem is that you need to write several papers within a short period of time. Hence, you need to calculate your time and plan every single step of the writing process.
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