How to Write a Term Paper
While B’s or C’s may also be acceptable grades to some, you cannot possibly achieve maximum satisfaction unless you get a perfect A+ on your essay. Are you feeling frustrated because you’ve been working hard, but you haven’t managed to get the highest grades? We’re here to help! Pay attention to the recommendations we’ve put together in this article, and you’re bound to get the best results in your class!
The Steps to Writing a Term Paper
1. Select a subject
You need to be as original as you can. If your instructor allows you to decide on your own term paper topic, you need to use it to your advantage! Opt for a topic you’re especially fascinated about, as this way writing the term paper will be much easier and more enjoyable. When choosing a subject, think about the important questions that you wish to seek responses to. After selecting the subject, make sure to narrow it down to something achievable. In many cases, the first subject students think of is too extensive to cover. When the subject is too broad, it will be very tough to meet the deadline and the word count requirements. Narrow down the subject to an aspect which can truly be approached while complying with the requirements. In case you are required to write a paper on a given subject, you ought to begin investigating original standpoints that can make your paper unique and distinguishable. Don’t go for the evident approaches that a lot of students may resort to. Last but not least, no matter what perspective you approach, your subject ought to be both unique and visionary. Think of something to get your audience intrigued.
After opting for a subject, avoid being too fixated on the way in which you picture the results of the paper, as that can render you reluctant to explore new perspectives and paths of thought. In the academic environment, this mistake is referred to as “premature cognitive commitment." This can ruin an otherwise outstanding paper because when a result is pre-established in your mind, no matter of the discoveries of your study, your conclusions will be shaped to match that result. In a good term paper, the result will mirror an authentic assessment of the findings of your research. You need to ask perpetual questions regarding the subject throughout every phase of the research. You should regard the subject as a hypothesis instead of a conclusion. By doing so, you’ll be ready to face the challenges you’ll encounter along the way. Moreover, you’ll be prepared to have your perspective modified as you go through each step.
By exploring other individuals’ remarks, perspectives, and accounts on a subject, you may be able to perfect your own paper, particularly in the eventuality that they note that additional investigation is needed or they propose thought-provoking queries without offering any responses.
2. Carry out your research
Unless you conduct a research beforehand, it’s useless to start the writing work. You must comprehend the context of the subject and the existing lines of thought. Moreover, you need to learn what additional studies are regarded as essential in the field. Many students are inclined to reuse ideas that they’re already well-aware of. You should steer clear of this approach, as it won’t help you learn anything from the study and writing work. By starting your research with an open mind, you’ll be able to gain new knowledge and find new methods of examining widely-acknowledged issues. During your research, you need to utilize both primary (original written works, official papers, conversations, trials, etc.) and secondary (other authors’ understandings and accounts of the primary material) materials. Another good idea would be to talk with your peers who think the same way as you. Additionally, you could also search for online debates on the subject. Nevertheless, you need to be aware of the fact that such debates are only useful for acknowledging other perspectives and giving shape to your own thoughts and, in general, cannot be cited.
3. Perfect the thesis assertion
Once you finalize the research work, you need to ponder on your picked subject once more. For this step, it’s pivotal to highlight the unique, powerful perspective you’ll be approaching. We’re talking about the statement that you think you’re capable of supporting in your term paper and that makes the audience aware of what your paper is about. Your thesis assertion constitutes the backbone of your term paper, the concept that you’ll proceed to support in the body paragraphs. Unless this statement is well-conceived, the rest of your essay will most likely be dull. Devise a thesis that you regard as fascinating. Otherwise, supporting it will be a tedious and annoying task. Once you feel content that your subject is firm and definite, the next step is devising the first rough outline.
Keep in mind that this step doesn’t put an end to your research or your thesis assertion. As you proceed with both the research and the writing work, you need to be flexible. It’s important to make adjustments that match the new thoughts that emerge and the new findings you come across. However, as a word of caution, you should avoid being an incessant searcher who never settles for an exclusive concept because they’re afraid of closure. Once you reach a certain point in your work, you’ll be obliged to conclude that you’ve found enough arguments to support your point. In case you still want to explore your subject further, you should consider approaching it in the future as part of a postgraduate study. However, when writing your term paper, you need to be aware of the fact that you must comply with a deadline and a limited word count!
4. Devise a structure
Some students can write their term paper without developing an outline first. However, this is a rare type of student, and, in most situations, the students who do it this way are on a tight deadline. It’s much more helpful to devise a structure, as this way you’ll be aware of the path you must follow. The outline of your term paper serves the same purpose as a map, meaning that it helps you reach your destination. Similarly to the rest of your essay, the structure is prone to modifications. Nevertheless, it does offer you a feeling of being well-organized as well as a frame to return to in case you feel lost while writing your paper. Moreover, the outline functions as the framework of your essay. The other parts of your writing process merely amount to filling in the blanks. An outline may be devised in distinct ways. Some students may even use their own distinctive techniques. As a rule, here are some of the essential sections your structure ought to be made of:
- Introduction, debate paragraphs/chapters and conclusion or recap.
- Once you’re ready with the introduction, write some clarifying or explanatory paragraphs, which have the purpose of establishing the context or topic.
- Assessment and argument paragraphs/chapters. Make use of your research and devise the primary perspective for each of the body paragraphs.
- Any remarkable queries or ideas that you cannot regard with certainty yet.
5. Illustrate your viewpoint in the introductory section
Devising the introduction can be quite difficult. However, it shouldn’t become an obstacle. Out of the entire essay, the introductory paragraph is the section that will most probably require revisions as you keep on writing the paper and encounter modifications of course, flow, and result. Therefore, you ought to regard it as nothing other than a manner of commencing your term paper. Keep in mind that the introduction is always rewritable! This strategy grants you the liberty of committing errors and then fixing them whenever necessary. This may also aid you in grasping the universal structure of your essay by shedding light on the main sections that need to be covered. This is something that you should keep in mind from the very start! You should attempt to utilize the “HIT” method when devising your introductory paragraph:
- Hook the reader by providing a query or a quotation. Another interesting approach would be to narrate a peculiar anecdote which will ultimately make complete sense to the audience once they read your thesis.
- Introduce the subject. You need to be brief, precise and direct.
- Thesis assertion. We’ve already explained this phase earlier.
- Keep in mind that you must explain the terms included in your question. Terms such as “globalization” have a lot of distinctive significations. As a result, it’s essential to assert the specific meanings you’ll be utilizing in your introduction.
6. Persuade the audience with the body of your paper
Make certain that each of your body paragraphs substantiates your thesis in a new manner. In case you don’t know if you can achieve this with the content of your body, you should attempt separating the initial phrase of each paragraph. As a whole, these sentences ought to be regarded as an enumeration of proofs that demonstrate your thesis.
You need to attempt to form associations between the precise topic of your term paper (for instance, Plato’s Symposium) and a tangentially connected subject you are well-informed on (for example, the increasing tendency of carefree hookups at social events). You ought to gradually direct the paragraph towards your present topic and devise a couple of generalizations regarding the reason for which this particular theme of the publication/topic represents such an interesting area of research (for instance, the notable discrepancies between the understandings of privacy in the past and in the present).
7. Create a powerful conclusion.
You should attempt to utilize the “ROCC” technique:
- Reiterate the thesis assertion.
- One significant piece of information which is typically conveyed in the last paragraph.
- Conclusive statement – summarize the information.
- Clincher – devise a statement that your audience will be left thinking about.
8. Demonstrate that you have style
In case you’re utilizing a lot of external materials, you ought to ask your professor about their preferred formatting style. If you live in the USA, you’ll most likely be asked to use MLA or APA. Each of these formatting styles entails its own notation methods. In case you don’t know the precise requirements, take a look at the manual (you can find online editions at owl.English.Purdue.EU). While adding quotes throughout your term paper is definitely not a bad idea, you need to avoid going overboard with it. Moreover, keep in mind that if you utilize too many quotes when substantiating your ideas, your arguments will practically be supported by other writers and the reader may get the impression that you didn’t write the essay yourself.
Steer clear of copy-pasting the ideas of other writers. Of course, it’s advisable to mention the perspectives of distinguished authors in your area of study, as this makes for a great way of supporting your own ideas. However, you need to write more than just “X believe... Y believes…” In the end, your readers want to find out what you believe.
To avoid formatting your references in a hurry and messing things up, you should take care of this aspect from the very start.
9. Pay attention to the wording
Volume is an important criterion for grading a term paper. Therefore, you should think of manners in which you can cull terms. Make sure each phrase has a smooth aspect. Analyze each sentence and ponder on whether or not you’ve utilized the smallest conceivable number of terms while still preserving the significance.
Frail “to-be” verbs must be replaced with more powerful “action” verbs. For instance, instead of writing “I was working on my essay," you should include the sentence “I wrote my essay
10. Don’t be negligent!
The primary phase of proofreading an essay involves using a spelling-checker. However, you should be aware of the fact that a spelling checker cannot detect mistakes such as “now” instead of “snow." Moreover, the majority of spell-checks are not designed to detect repeated terms (“essay essay”) or grammar issues (the only exception is MS Word, which can be programmed to verify grammar and comes with the feature of identifying repeated terms). Such small mistakes may leave a bad impression on your professor. If you’re too negligent when proofreading your paper, your instructor may be inclined to believe that you weren’t very serious about your work.
Deal with this issue by asking another person to look over your paper and indicate any mistakes.
Adequate grammar is a must! You want your instructor to consider your perspective, not rectify your grammar errors. If your essay includes a large number of mistakes, it may lose its significance.
11. Ponder on a great title to seize the audience’s attention
Your title should be neither too long nor too short! In a perfect term paper, the title emerges at the very beginning, while in a mediocre essay it solely becomes obvious after reading the whole paper. In case you don’t know how to proceed, ask a friend or a relative. In many cases, a person who is unfamiliar with your subject may think of a meaningful title faster than you!