How to Write a Term Paper
If you have faced a term paper before, you do not only acknowledge how challenging it can be to complete it but also how big of a contribution it makes to the final grade in the course you are handling. So, you are not only looking to complete it but also ace it to stand a chance at an excellent score. With the right approach, you can be sure to tackle the essay successfully. Consider the following steps to writing a great piece:
Identify your Topic
Select an interesting topic that aligns with the subject matter you wish to investigate. Be as creative as possible to make it catchy. The title should be designed in a way that allows you to find answers to your primary questions. However, it should be precise. You may need to adjust it from an initially broader topic and narrow down to make it more specific. This will ensure less research time with optimal outcomes.
In case the topic has already been provided by your instructor, you should consider employing techniques that will make your content unique and insightful. Be sure to remain objective and avoid having a predetermined outcome in mind. The findings you make during your research should shape your analysis and be reflected in the outcome. Allow the information explored along the way to challenge and impact your views.
Conduct your Research
Avoid the temptation to draw essay content from your knowledge on the topic that is based on past experiences. It is crucial that you get a proper overview of the subject. You will need knowledge in the past and present thinking by experts on the issue. Make the research and open process and have fun with it. Look at it as an adventure and have the curiosity to gain deep insights. When gathering information, consider different sources of information to get varied angles on the same issues that will serve to enrich your content further. Make sure to draw material from academic sources only. Give weight to books, peer-reviewed articles, and published research. The information from such sources can be trusted as they present content that has been edited and certified as being scientific, meeting the minimum standards within the academic sphere. However, this does not prevent you from exploring other informational platforms such as opinion websites and discussion forums. You can look to such platforms for general ideas that can help you become more acquainted with the subject matter of your research.
Create an Outline
An outline briefly highlights the main sections and ideas of your work. After the research, it is common for some people to downplay the importance of an outline and get straight into the writing process. An outline will guide you through the paper as you write so that you do not lose track and instead maintain a good flow of ideas. You can always make adjustments to the outline along the way as you proceed with the paper. You may be asking - why develop an outline if it is subject to change? A major benefit of it is that it ensures you do not get lost along the way. The outline will ensure you have a point of reference in case you feel like you are getting mixed up and unsure about how to move from one point to the next. You will avoid the risk of potentially having to start all over again simply because you cannot make sense of the direction of the paper. With an outline, you have a frame, and all you have to do is fill in the content that makes up the body of the essay.
Write the Introduction
The stakes are high when it comes to the introduction. A great introduction will hook the reader while a sloppy one will create a negative perception of the paper and cause you to lose valuable points. Often, it will determine the level of interest that the reader will have in your work as he or she goes through content in the body of the paper. It should present a relatively broad view of the topic and the thesis statement. From your introduction, the reader should get a sense of the direction of your paper moving. It should move from a broader sense and narrow down to the question or problem that you study - your thesis statement. Even though the introduction will constitute the first part of your paper, you do not have to pressure yourself to start with it. You can go straight to the body of the paper and come back to the introduction later once you are done with the rest of the paper.
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Defend your position
It is in the body chapters where you will present ideas from the various research materials that you had identified earlier. Start with the strongest evidence first in order to support your thesis statement and express your point of view. Make sure to provide citations within the text indicating the respective authors whose work you used. Quotations should be marked using quotation marks and the relevant citations provided.
Each of the paragraphs should start with a topic sentence, which is primarily a statement in support of your main idea. After the first sentence of each paragraph, you should add supporting sentences that expound further on the idea in it. The concluding sentence will act as a bridge between a given paragraph and the following one.
Sum up your Paper
In your conclusion, you should start with a restatement of the ideas mentioned in your introduction. Provide a summary of the main points discussed in your work. Do not include any new ideas in this part. Such action may cost you some marks as it defeats the purpose of the conclusion. It shows that you are not done discussing your arguments in the body of the paper. Wrap up the conclusion with a call to action.
- Start working on the paper ASAP and allocate adequate time to it. It is risky to underestimate the task ahead and find yourself struggling to complete everything within a short time. This will compromise the quality of your research and write up as well. It is better to handle the paper in bits over the duration of the allocated time than committing to it in the final days of the deadline. You do not wish to take chances with such an important paper given its contribution to your course grade.
- Develop your bibliography right from the moment you begin your research. As you settle on the sources to use in the paper, create the bibliographic entry for each one of them. Avoid waiting for to complete the paper before preparing the list. This will save you time and the headache of having to go back to various links looking for bibliographic entry information or trying to remember the links to the materials. The same applies to citations within the text. It will be cumbersome locating the sections of the text and matching them with the appropriate references, more so in cases where you have to provide the page numbers.
- Avoid plagiarizing content. Try your best to avoid the act of copying and pasting content directly from your sources. You are expected to read through the sources, make sense of the ideas they contain, and phrase them in your own words. Even after doing this, you still have to give credit to the authors of the materials used. However, it is okay to include a few direct quotations, which should also be cited appropriately.
- Proofread and edit your piece. While you may have great content that is captivating to the reader, little mistakes may make it difficult for the instructor to comprehend some of the ideas presented in the paper. Missing words or wrong spellings may also disrupt the flow of the essay. Take time to go through your paper, identifying possible errors and correcting them accordingly. This process should begin ideally at least an hour after the completion of the paper. You will need a break to refresh your mind and get it into a reset mode. Without a break, you may bypass numerous mistakes without noticing them. After you are done editing, consider enlisting the help of a friend or a professional editor to go through it highlighting potential errors. Some errors may remain unnoticeable to you due to certain weaknesses that you may be having with your writing that make it hard to notice them. Having a third party going through it will help identify such errors.
- Format your paper according to the required style. This process will entail creating a cover page that will contain the paper’s title, your name, course, the instructor’s name, and the date. Often, this page does not count in the final page count for the term paper. You will need to insert a header as well as the page numbers. The last page contains the references used on the page, and just like the cover page does not count in the number of pages for the assignment.
Remember, there may be a need for other additional items in the paper depending on the instructor’s preferences including abstract, table of contents, footnotes, and an acknowledgment section. If you need a term paper writing assistance, you can turn to our professional team.