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Term Paper Tips and Writing Advice

  • By Daniel Millions
  • Published 03/6/2009
  • Writing

Term paper writing is something that many college and graduate school students have to undertake. Not everyone enjoys writing nor are they good at it but the job must be done. Often, professors assign term papers as a way to evaluate each student’s ability to build a knowledgeable and coherent comprehension of reading material and lecture discussions. There is a simple procedure for term paper writing that can be planned out so avoid procrastination. To begin, you must first choose a topic and this topic can be provided for in a prompt or you may come up with the topic yourself. It is usually easier to go about a term paper writing procedure when the prompt is handed to you, but often times, a general idea may be provided and you have to choose a specific topic. Specificity is significant because the more focused your topic is, the easier it will be to do research and write. You may always choose a comparison of two different yet related ideas to show your grasp of the material. Once your topic is chosen, you can find sources of material to conduct research. Some key factors to keep in mind when choosing sources are: Accessibility, you want to have easy access to your sources; currency, most recent sources are the most relevant; reliability, you want sources from reliable authors to avoid extreme bias. Your sources for term paper writing can range from books, the internet, magazines, journals, periodicals, and newspapers. Gathering information is your next step where you will have to read your sources and compile notes on the side or directly on the sources. This part may take the longest so plan accordingly. Highlight good quotes and relevant information to use for footnotes and citations. Stay organized by developing a bibliography. Once you have all your information and you have begun formulating opinions, bring everything into an outline. This will allow you to organize your thoughts and the structure of your term paper. The outline is a map for your paper and should contain an introduction, thesis, body paragraphs and conclusion with major points and notes from your sources as well as your own opinion. At this point, you are ready to write the term paper and use your outline as a guide. An old formula that still works today is to have a statement of purpose (which will include your thesis), the main body explaining the purpose, and the summary or conclusion. If you are using direct quotes and citations, be sure to cite in your paper to avoid plagiarism. Do not distort any author’s points through paraphrasing. The final and one of the most important steps in term paper writing is editing. Read your paper a day after you wrote it and read it aloud. Have a peer or professor proofread for you. Catch spelling and grammar errors.

A rule of thumb for writing a term paper is to plan ahead of time so that you do not procrastinate. While some people write well under pressure, successful term paper writing involves planning and organization.



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