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A Comprehensive Guide To Writing A Term Paper

21 Jul 2018

A term paper is one of the most important university assignments you must get ready to present. Do you know what distinguishes a term paper from a research paper? Would you like to know the secrets to write an excellent term paper? Here, you will learn how to structure it, how to speed up the writing process, and other tips that can help you prepare the paper professionally and quickly. 

Defining a term paper  

The idea behind a term paper is to critically analyze a subject matter you have covered during a semester and give a concrete report. This project consists of two distinct but equally significant elements i.e. your opinion about a particular subject and an expression of how you comprehend the literature concerning a topic. In essence, you provide a summary of the knowledge you have gained and demonstrate a deep understanding of the discussion. It is this feature of a term paper that makes it a universal test for evaluating a student’s aptitude. No wonder, it costs a lot of points for your overall semester grade. 

Often students confuse a term paper with a research paper. While these two projects have similar concepts, research work entails in-depth inquiry and an all-encompassing academic approach towards the literature of the issue at hand.

Do you want to compose a first-rate college term paper? The first thing you should know is that your professor is testing your critical thinking expertise. You are expected to gather the necessary information, make an analysis, and summarize your ideas or give solutions to the underlying problems. These are the same skills you will apply in a real business world, meaning that a term paper is both educational and practical.

What are the steps involved in writing a term paper?

a) Getting ready 

It all starts with preparations! You cannot start writing a term paper without a plan. When it comes to academic tasks, there is no silver bullet for completing a paper really fast. You must determine the right way forward no matter what circumstances you are going through. But a few hacks can help you get ready to give your best. 

First, give a serious thought to your research. If you are truly interested in the subject matter, you want to showcase strong personal opinions about the issue. But if you lack sufficient information sources, you have no option but to reinvent the wheel. 

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In the first stages of research, explore the topic as much as you can. This sounds like a difficult task but once you get at it, you will realize that it is not that hard. At this stage, you should be assembling relevant information so you will have to skim through many sources instead of actually reading the materials completely. Remember that the main goal is to familiarize yourself with the different facets of the existing topic. You will be providing a run-down of what you’ve grasped in the course of your study. As in coursework, it is important that you acquaint yourself with other people’s research related to your topic.

Never consider your ideas and arguments to be original as this would be a self-centered approach that would get you on the wrong path. Many times, your ideas about an issue have already been explored by someone else. They can also be a concept that is well known in the academic world. Keep in mind that your supervisor knows almost any literature on the topic so you cannot simply copy another scholar’s ideas and introduce them as your own. You must accredit other people’s work lest you will be reproached for plagiarism. 

b) The structure of a term paper

After reading the information and thoughts of various authors concerning your topic, the next thing is to draft a structure for your masterpiece. Don’t confuse a structure with an outline. It is more about what you will write about. Write down the topic for your theory and consider the practicality of the subject as well as your approach to the term paper. 

If you feel a bit stuck, you can call your professor and seek advice. You don’t want to continue with a topic that your supervisor considers irrelevant. They can give you valuable tips because they have probably seen thousands of topics similar to yours. They will also suggest to you some literature you haven’t been included in the program and give a recommendation of books you should read. With such valuable feedback, you will know whether you are on the right track or not. Moreover, if you are using an approach that has occurred to other people in the past, your professor can advise you to drop it.

c) The choice of a topic 

A good rule of thumb when it comes to any academic writing is to pick a topic of your interest and one that has sufficient information out there. This way, you will have a stress-free term paper. Be careful if you want to delve into an issue that has never been tackled before. It may be complicated but if you want to challenge yourself, there is no harm in doing it. 

The advantage of researching a familiar topic is that you don’t have to struggle coming up with ideas. You are also able to focus on a particular niche and broaden your arguments within that scope. The problem with an unfamiliar topic is that it could cripple your morale. 

Sometimes, you might find out that the subject matter cannot go as far as you like in which case you should change the topic. You might have failed to observe the drawbacks of the topic in the initial stages and along the way you discover that it simply cannot work. That is why you need to have a plan B, and C if possible. Think about 3 topics when you are starting out even if they represent different perspectives on the same issue. That way, you will be in a position to pick the best version.

d) Thesis statement 

Expect some challenges when writing a proper thesis statement. To start on the right foot, highlight your main concepts and ideas, create a draft and see how they will be distributed throughout the term paper. Find one idea that best suits your knowledge base, interests, and style and make it your thesis statement.

A thesis statement is a framework for the main concept of your term paper. It is the fundamental feature of any essay from college application, case study, to a master’s thesis. That is why you must give serious thought to it to make your writing easier as well as defending your arguments. 

Note that all these steps are equally important because one stage leads to another. As you write your paper, gather your data and summarize it simultaneously. 

 

Planning 

This is the key to success in almost any aspect of life. It is virtually impossible to write a term paper without planning it out first. Unless you are a certified mastermind and a postgraduate candidate, you must plan for your term paper with an outline. Even those who think can do it without a plan actually use the outline. They may not write key points of their project down but they are in their heads. However, this requires the experience of a genius. So, as an ordinary college student, do yourself a favor and jot down the outline on a paper so you don’t miss anything.

An outline should be your first draft. You can write down as many outlines as you wish to attain your objectives. Aim at creating a magnificent paper and work on it until you are fully satisfied with the results.

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e) Complete the chapters  

After drafting everything you need to write, it’s time to put down every idea where it belongs.

  • The Introduction: Here, you should state your topic or the main problem you will be exploring as well as the context of the entire masterpiece. This is the section you sell your work. Basically, the introduction, as well as the conclusion, gives an overview of what your paper is talking about. Prepare the introduction carefully and make it a brief representation of the body. It should have an abstract that carries a thesis statement. Go ahead and explain what drove you to investigate the topic and why the reader should be concerned too. Then, explain the methods and scientific tools you will be employing and finally, give a summary of the results.
  • Literature Review: Like the name suggests, this section involves a review of the compiled literature. Your supervisor has to confirm this section to see if you understand the context. An important tip is to gather as much information as you can. Take a quick glance at every source that talks more about your topic. Consider this an interesting journey so you don’t get bored perusing tons of pages. 
  • Discussion: This is the chapter where you give your interpretations concerning the problem.  Be thoroughly honest as you explain the concepts you agree or disagree with. It is at this stage of your term paper that you link theory to practice. If possible give several interpretations concerning the subject matter and choose arguments which are most relevant to your case.
  • Body: Here, you will be focusing on arguments that reinforce your thesis. You have to be totally logical. In case you have a complex topic, make use of headings and subheadings to boost the readability of your main body. Always keep your readers in mind when writing down the body. Rather than simply stating the points, represent your findings in a manner that relates to your thesis. You have to show that indeed you understand the details. And that is the only way to impress your professor. 
  • Conclusion: This section summarized the objectives and the content of the term paper. Try hard not to make the conclusion too dry. Restate the thesis statement briefly and show how the outcomes justify your proposition. In the end, give a call to action, recommendation or leave a rhetorical question that leaves the audience in suspense. 

f) Proofreading

After completing the term paper, go through it several times or ask an experienced individual to proofread it. Mistakes are inevitable. They could be grammatical, factual, syntactical, contextual, or formatting errors. To make sure that you are not making a hurried decision, wait for a few days after completing the work and proofread it. That way, your brain will process the information more effectively and you can look at it from a new perspective. 

As you proofread, take note of the structural issues to ensure that the framework or thesis statement makes absolute sense. If the context doesn’t match your thesis, consider approaching the problem from a different point of view. These changes require time so you have to be patient before you finally come up with a professional write-up.

Next is printing your term paper. It doesn’t matter if your professor needs it in a softcopy or hardcopy; you need to produce a physical copy and take a final look. You will be amazed how your eyes can process information differently when the content is on a paper instead of a computer screen. You might even spot mistakes you wouldn’t have found before. There may not be serious blunders but you have to pay close attention to punctuation, format, and synonyms. Make your academic project shine.

Do you need a professional sample of a term paper? Visit KiwiPapers.com today and use our examples to polish up your writing skills.

The Rules Of Writing A Term Paper 

Here are important tips for term paper writing.

i. Write any idea that comes to your head even if you don’t have a structure yet. Collect ideas, phrases, and concepts you come across in the information sources. This is the best way to collect sufficient material.

ii. Your outline should guide you but not enslave you. Do not waste too much time trying to adhere to the outline. Even though an outline is imperative, you can always change it along the way. Avoid starting with the introduction but rather write it after completing all the chapters.

iii. Cite the sources appropriately both in the text and in the bibliography section. Write the sources even in the draft so you don’t forget when making a final copy. In case you forget the information sources, use Google Scholar, a handy tool that to tracks down the quotes and ideas from notable authors. 

iv. Ask someone to double-check your work. No one is perfect and another eye can help you see faults you wouldn’t have noticed alone. It is recommended that you ask a fellow student to read through your project as you read theirs too. So, the two of you will gain from this practice.

Mistakes to avoid

I. Assuming that your ideas are original: There is nothing new under the sun but rewriting everything is a frustrating experience but what can you do to avoid the hassle? You should read and understand the sources so you can have the right tools to finish the academic assignment. 

II. Waiting too long before you start writing: Your writing should start even before you complete exploring all the literature. Feel free to start the paper after examining the first source of information. You will be encouraged each day when you find there is something in your pages. It is better to write now and change later than write when it’s too late. 

III. Overwriting: Most students think that writing too much is cool but it can be a great hindrance to highlighting important concepts. You don’t need hundreds of quotes and citations to justify a point. Your professor wants to see precise information as opposed to a heap of boring data. 

IV. Writing in simple language: Your language style represents your thinking capacity. Consider using semantics in your words to demonstrate your proficiency.

Now that you have learned the most important principles of writing a term paper, take your time and start composing an excellent paper that will amaze your professor. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask for a custom-written paper from KiwiPapers.

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