Term papers


Years ago, there was a distinction between research papers and term papers. Not so much anymore. Both types of writing projects involve topics that are related to coursework, both involve research, both involve producing a written work based upon a thesis or hypothesis, and both are usually due toward the end of a semester.

Make no mistake about it. A term paper is a major piece of writing, and it will probably be a major chunk of your final grade in a course. You want to get it right. So, let’s take a look at the process for getting it right. There are a number of steps involved, and each one is critical to a successful completion.

Steps to Follow

  1. Topic selection. There will probably be some guidelines in terms of your topic options. To select a topic when you have open options, go trough your text, your class notes, and other outside readings and choose one that interests you. It’s a lot easier to research and write about something of interest. It’s also a good idea to run that topic by your instructor, just to be certain he thinks it is worthy of research.
  2. The research. You really cannot develop a good thesis or hypothesis without some initial research. You need to learn what other researchers have done and have to say about the topic. Whenever possible, choose primary resource material. It is more scholarly.
  3. Develop a thesis. From your initial research, you should be able to have a few options for a thesis statement. Perhaps you have developed strong feelings about an issue you have researched; perhaps you have decided that you agree with the thesis of another researcher regarding the primary cause of the Great Depression. Your thesis statement must address your position on the topic and should be written u in a scholarly sentence. Again, you might want to run this by your instructor.
  4. Finish up your research. Now that you have your thesis statement, you will be able to narrow your research somewhat. You will need to be very meticulous as you complete that research, so that you are able to provide the correct citations once you begin writing.
  5. Organizing the Research. This can be a bit of a nightmare, unless you have decided upon sub-topics. Once you have those, you can organize your notes into those categories and prepare your outline
  6. Your outline should be constructed based upon your sub-topics, and under each sub-topic you should place the details you intend to include. Skipping this step is a big mistake, because you may miss including important points, and you will not have the “map” you need to write the rough draft.
  7. The rough draft. Using your outline, write the body of your paper. The introduction can wait. As you write, think bout how you can transition from one paragraph to the next. Crafting good transitions now will save you during the review and editing process. Be certain to include your in-text citations, even if they are not yet in the correct format. You want to have to go back searching through your notes to find where a piece of information came from.
  8. Review and editing. This is a critical step. No first draft should ever be submitted, because it will contain errors that will lower your grade. Set your paper aside for a while, and then go back to begin your review. The editing process is complex and can take some time. You want to check for the general logical flow of the overall piece; you want to check for transitions; you want to make certain that all of the information you have included relates to your thesis statement.
  9. Proofreading: This is the step during which you check for all of those grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. You will want to read each sentence and double check anything you are not sure about.
  10. Writing the introduction. Your introduction must do a couple of important things. First, you want to grab the reader’s attention. You can do this by providing some shocking statement related to your topic, some amazing statistic, or an anecdote. These are the things that will pique interest. Second, you want to state your thesis, so the reader knows exactly where you are going with the paper.
  11. Preparing the final draft. If you have edited and proofread properly, your final draft should be ready to type. Here, you will want to address the format style you are supposed to use. Be certain that everything from the title page, to headers, to pagination, to margins, and your in-text and end-of-text citations are all as they should be.

Points to Think About

  1. Term papers are major pieces of work. They carry a lot weight when it comes to a final grade. Do not rush through production.
  2. Research, especially at the university level, should include scholarly and primary resources whenever possible. Secondary resources and encyclopedias do not impress
  3. Getting approval and advice from your instructor along the way will probably result in a better paper and a better grade.

Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Not noting citations all along the way during the research steps will have you scrambling in the end and going back to find page numbers, etc.
  2. Skipping over any of these steps will be disastrous. You can’t shortcut the process
  3. Including material that does not directly relate to your thesis, for the purpose of getting the length you need, will be a big issue with your instructor. Just don’t do it.

Term papers are major pieces of writing. No one should approach them with a cavalier attitude or the attitude that they just can be done well. If you have these issues then it’s time to contact Green Essay, get a professional writer, and turn in a paper that you can be proud of. Let us now what help you need – we will be on it.

Dos And Don’ts

  • Be discriminating about the resource materials you use. Be certain that, even if they are secondary, they come from scholarly experts on the topic
  • Make certain that your final product is in precisely the correct format style. Check and double check the specifications
  • Separate the editing and proofreading steps. You cannot do both at once
  • Scrimp on the time you need to review and edit your rough draft. If your final product is not polished, your grade will suffer
  • Guess about grammar, punctuation and spelling. If you are not certain, look it up
  • Choose a topic that you are not excited about. The entire process will be grueling if you do this, and your paper will suffer

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