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Writing a Term Paper

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❶Our comments on writing a paper that follow may prove helpful to you, but they are not substitutes for the fuller discussions you will find in these writing guides. Every system has a different "wild card" character usually a?

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If cloning is too broad for a five page paper, what about cloning Elvis? On the other hand, don't turn in fifteen pages on cloning Elvis. Fit the idea to the space provided, and be concise. I'd much rather have a paper that says a lot about a little, than a paper that says a little about a lot. My Topic is Too Narrow! Generalize to similar or related topics cloning of humans vs.

But keep your focus clear throughout. Otherwise, those interesting related issues you delved into might end up looking like window dressing, added only to bring the paper up to its required minimum length. Profs see enough fluff that they generally smell it a mile away.

Kind of like a sixth sense, or a really obscure super power. In your first draft, say what you have to say, then punch it up or trim it down as need be. Outlining is a genuine pain, which I personally put in the same category as cleaning the litter box - a necessary evil.

But it actually does help, especially in the early stages of your paper, by forcing you to come to terms with what you want to say about your topic. It can also show you where you will need to apply your research time, and reveal major deficiencies in your approach to your topic.

Research Your Topic Carefully. That big building with all the books? Make it your friend. Better yet, cozy up to the librarians. A good library always has a good professional staff, trained to be courteous and helpful, and bright enough to genuinely care about a LOT of topics, and who will expertly direct your search to the right place.

Unfortunately, librarians are merely human, working long thankless hours for low pay, so a little patience on your part will go a long way. Remember that most of the interface you deal with aren't really librarians, they're student workers, clerical staff, or whoever else could be dragooned into helping to fill the long hours on the firing line. You should seek out and befriend a competent and helpful reference librarian early on, like Buffy found Giles.

If you find that person, the path to the information you will need to graduate will be smoothly paved, and may even turn out to be full of interesting roadside attractions. Each page of your term paper should have around references per page, as a general rule of thumb. So figure for ten pages, about references and so on. Many papers may have more than that, but if yours has less, you probably skimped in the endless hours in the library department.

No more than one third of your sources should come from magazines or the internet, unless they refer to actual data. If your entire argument is built upon a stack of Newsweeks , it will tremble in the slightest breeze. Try to use several different types of sources in your research. These would include but need not be limited to books, magazine articles, journal articles really serious magazines , reference books, and the internet. Avoid using too many newspaper articles and magazines wherever you can.

Magazines like Time and Newsweek often have good focused articles, but they tend to be laden with unsupported opinions, and written to cause a sensation rather than to reveal the truth. Don't ignore the government documents collection. For raw data and spirited opinion, government documents can't be beat. Your tax dollars fund a mountain of research, good, bad, and indifferent, and the results of all of that research end up in the government documents department of the library.

Collections of state documents can also be an invaluable source for certain topics, such as local environmental problems. Modern university libraries have most of their collections online.

Every university library has its own database for books and journals. Consult the online catalog first to see what's available. You can usually dial into it from your home PC.

Sign out those library books and copy those journal articles early on in the process, or you may find some prof has absconded with the only copy of your best source, and good luck getting it back before Christmas. Or some bozo has neatly cut out every article on your hot topic which, by an odd coincidence, was the hot topic for thirty other students just last semester. If you have a specific title or author, it's pretty easy to type it in an online catalog or database, and see what happens.

But most of the time, what you have is a genuinely fuzzy idea, and that's where keyword searches come in real handy. Every library has at least one keyword-searchable index of magazines and journals, and may even have a special index that covers your subject area. Try typing in the words that come closest to your topic, and see what happens.

If you get zip, try thinking of alternate terms, synonyms, slang etc. Usually you get way too much, because in our haste to get everything online, we've indexed everything to death. So a search on alligators turns up everything from wildlife to recipes. Make sure you read the search screen for the online system you are using, because many online indexes and catalogs ask you to click on Keyword Search or something similar, before sending the surfer in search of the prize.

It lets me keyword search a huge list of sources including lots of stuff that's not in the library , lets me scan titles of individual issues of journals, and even for a fee lets me order photocopies of articles online, or get their table of contents regularly delivered to my email box. Try using a little logic - Boolean logic, that is.

So OR can be used to build up a pool of likely hits desert or sweets or candy. AND can be used to combine two terms together, and pull out only those hits that mention both terms, narrowing down the results, like: Some indexes let you use NOT to filter out some category you don't need, like: Most online indexes use some version of Boolean searching. Try truncating your search terms. That means lopping off the last letter or so, and sticking on a "wild card" which says "this plus any variation of this", such as plural forms.

But it would also drag in psychotic, psychobabble and psychosomatic, so use truncation with caution. Every system has a different "wild card" character usually a? Find out what sources are NOT available locally, but potentially valuable to your paper.

You can order a copy of any book or journal article through the library's inter-library loan department. The rules and fees vary, and there may be photocopy fees or other restrictions. It can take several weeks to get the material you need from another library. As the semester progresses, and more students and faculty gradually realize they also need this service, it quickly slows down under the load.

Try and guess how much of your tuition went into beefing up the library staff. If you send in your requests very early on, you will be have the necessary tools to complete your paper when you're finally ready to begin. Drag Yourself Into The Bookstacks. Whatever sources you use, build a list of the best references as you go, copying down the library catalog number etc. Drag those ponderous volumes back out to the copiers, and stand in line behind countless other people who somehow mysteriously realized that they needed to do the exact same thing at the same time you did.

Get the jump on the inevitable crowd. Most term papers for most classes end up being due at about the same time. It's like a conspiracy. So remember, one is a study date, two is a study group, but three is a line. There are copies in the library, and the campus bookstore usually has some in stock.

Check the textbook section also, as some classes might require this book. The library will also have the expanded version, probably on the reference shelves.

Some people claim that they can write a term paper without any planning. In our opinion, this is impossible. It may come as a surprise, but even people who claim otherwise actually prepare outlines — in their heads. Get professional help with our custom writing service! Understand that your aim is to create an excellent term paper and keep working at it until you are satisfied. In the Introduction , state the topic that you are going to investigate and the context of your work.

In a nutshell, your introduction combined with a conclusion should give a sneak peek into what the whole paper is about. If your introduction is well-prepared, it will be quite complacent about the body of your project. The introduction must include an abstract that presents your thesis statement. You should explain your motivation why should the reader be concerned about this problem?

The Literature Review totally corresponds to its name — it is here to review the literature you compiled. Your professor will double check it to make sure that you understand the context of your argument. One more thing to add is: Ideally, you should read or at least glance through every book and author that you can find on the topic.

Think of your task as a fascinating journey: In the Discussion , you must present the interpretations of the problem.

This section connects the dots between theory and practice when writing a term paper. Wherever possible, provide several interpretations of the subject matter, then choose the one s that are most relevant to the case you are presenting.

In the Body , focus on those arguments that prove your thesis statement. This section must be absolutely logical. If you have chosen a more complicated topic, use heading and sub-headings to improve the appearance of this section.

While writing the body, keep your target audience your professors in mind. Demonstrate that you are familiar with the details and you will stun your readers with the prolific mastery of the topic. The most challenging part is not to make it too dry. Reiterate your thesis statement and briefly show how your results justified your proposition. At the very end, you can suggest a call to action or pose a rhetorical question or statement that leaves your reader wanting more.

When you have finished, reread your work a couple of times. You will almost certainly find a few faults, whether they are contextual, factual, syntactical, grammatical, or even simple spelling mistakes.

A very useful tip is to wait for two or three days after writing your term paper to proofread it afterward. When proofreading, take care to polish the structural problems. The skeleton the logic and the thesis statement should make sense. The changes may take some time, but bear in mind that your objective is to produce a professional work. After that, print the term paper.

Be sure to check the sample of a term paper, completed by our writers. Use it as an example to perfect your own writing. There you have the most important tips to help you succeed in writing a term paper.

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This is an outstanding way to collect a lot of material. Many people dedicate too much effort to making their term papers conform to their outlines.

Although a plan or outline is one of the best things you can have, you must be flexible. This is usually written at the end, once you have completed the rest of the paper. Do that from the first quote, even in the draft.

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Stages for Writing a Term Paper Selecting a subject or topic is usually the first step. This is either set by the instructor or chosen from a short list by the student.

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Before researching and writing, you should know what a term paper proposal is. Basically, you should be able to defend your topic to your instructor through this proposal. This proposal must be handed in and approved before writing the actual term paper.

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Students regularly write papers without a plan. As a result, poor organization is a common weakness of undergraduate term papers. The best way to construct your plan and to organize information for maximum effect is to put together an outline. Below are some links and a general outline on how to write your term papers. Depending on your topic you may want to rely on the scientific report style or literature review styles, or a combination of the two.

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The Term Paper Outline. Before you get very far, you’ll need a term paper outline. The very basic bones can be laid out early on, then you will fill in the details with research. Without an outline, you run the risk of writing a poor term paper overall. Look at some term paper samples to get a better idea of what your layout should look like. Each page of your term paper should have around references per page, as a general rule of thumb. So figure for ten pages, about references and so on. Many papers may have more than that, but if yours has less, you probably skimped in the endless hours in the library department.