A Guide to Term Paper Writing
No student has ever had to go through school without having had to write at least one term paper. But how to go about it? This article will give you the basics of Term Paper Writing.
Selecting A Topic
To select a topic, you must read the primary text with an eye to choosing interesting elements in it that will help you in selecting a topic.
It helps to have a reading journal when selecting a topic. A reading journal acts as a chronicle of your on-the-spot reactions to a literary piece.
It helps to ask questions during the selection process. These questions help you by:
- Who, what, when, where, how – indicating a search for knowledge.
- Showing an awareness of how a literary product is organized, as well as pertinent facts and ideas incorporated into it. This emphasizes comprehension.
- Chopping up the whole piece of work into its parts. This gives an analysis of the parts.
- Merging the broken-down parts into a meaningful whole. This is a process known as synthesis.
- Producing judgements, criticisms, opinions or decisions during a process of evaluation.
- Relying on insights, opinions, ideas and data to produce a research product that may give vibrant and personally satisfying knowledge.
It helps to look through reference works (including periodical articles, critical essays, books and encyclopedias) to narrow down your search for a topic. This in turn may help you produce a hypothesis which evolves into a thesis.
Developing a Thesis
Frequently, the topic you have first chosen is too broad to fit into focused research. Keep revising until you form a working hypothesis. A working hypothesis states an idea or approach in relation to the primary source which may act as the basis for your thesis.
You must test your working hypothesis to guarantee that it is:
- Broad enough to accommodate different resources
- Narrow enough to permit in-depth research
- Original enough to provide interest for both you and your reader
- Worthwhile enough to supply significant data and insights
You may now opt to state your thesis in writing.
Evaluating Your Thesis and Sources
Bear in mind that your hypothesis may still be revised continuously during the research process.
After you have defined your thesis, you may either opt to start work on the paper itself or need to do some more work before you begin.
- Organize your ideas and start work on your first draft.
- Once you have produced the first draft, look for authorities on the subject who can provide support for your ideas. Cite such sources accordingly but do not forget to document them.
- Use such secondary sources as may be necessary to determine the position and direction of your term paper
- Write down your bibliography as you go along. You need to keep a record so you will find it easy to discard the unnecessary sources later on.
- Produce a working outline throughout the process. This outline will be amended as you plow through the subject more thoroughly.
You need to use parenthetical documentation within the body of your paper as a way to document the opinions, facts, and ideas you have gleaned from primary and secondary sources.
References to the text must definitely show specific sources in your list of works cited
It is, however, preferable to cite the author’s name within the text rather than rely on parenthetical documentation.
Prepare a Works Cited Page
A Works Cited Page showcases the works which you indicated in the body of your paper. It is also known as a Bibliography though modern research may also take into account such diverse works as films and periodicals.
Drafting then Revising Your Term Paper
You may opt to freewrite your first draft. In freewriting, a writer creates a first draft that fully employs his creative powers.
If you suddenly remember material you did research on, include it then place a quick citation so you easily return to it later on.
Follow the guidelines outlined here and you will produce a research paper that is strong, interesting, and clearly written.
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