Students typically write a term paper at the end of the academic term. This paper type is meant to demonstrate the knowledge you’ve gained throughout the course, critical thinking and research skills. A good term paper can’t be written overnight – it requires research, thought, and effort. To make term paper writing less stressful and more rewarding, consider the below tips from experienced academic writing.
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10 things to keep in mind when writing a term paper
1. Get familiar with the assignment.
Read the syllabus carefully, or ask your professor for specific guidelines pertaining to length, number of sources to use, citation style, and other requirements. If you don’t understand something about paper requirements, ask your instructor. The better you’ve understood the assignment the higher grade you’ll be able to receive for it. To help you further, you can use these top homework apps for students.
2. Look through the course materials.
Textbooks, articles, guidelines and other materials shared by your instructor or professor can be of huge help. Look through them to find inspiration for your topic, to pick the appropriate arguments or to get familiar with research methodology. Moreover, if you are familiar with course content, you are more likely to come up with a strong term paper.
3. Choose a topic that fascinates you.
Let’s face it – composing a long research paper is quite boring. If you choose the topic that sparks your interest, the writing process will be far more enjoyable. Make sure the topic is narrow and specific. For example, marketing students can use the topic “Marketing Research for Personal Computer in South America” or “The Efficiency of E-Marketing in Manufacturing Industry”.
4. Create a productive working environment.
Find a location where you’ll feel comfortable working, otherwise you’ll end up getting distracted or being less productive. You can work in a quiet library, at the desk in the dorm room or even your bed, whatever appeals to you. Make sure you have the needed books and files at hand, switch off social media alerts and ask people not to disturb you to stay concentrated.
5. Research and organize your findings.
Work on your term paper typically starts with visiting a library or researching online sources. During the initial research, you collect books, textbooks, articles and documents related to your topic. Then, you dig deeper into them as you start writing. Most likely, you will need to create a bibliography of sources used, so make sure that you used academic sources only (i.e. books, peer-reviewed journal articles, newspaper articles, or statistical data).
6. Follow the traditional term paper format.
Most often, term papers follow the same structure. You need to start with an abstracts summarizing the key points of your research. Then, you proceed to the introduction providing background information on the topic and methods you’ve used in your research. After that, you need to present the results and findings related to the research question and introduce the conclusions.
7. Balance between different types of sources.
Don’t focus on one type of sources, i.e. textbooks only or articles only. Use different types of sources to make the research more versatile. Apart from scholarly books and articles you may want to use professional articles or even government documents. If in doubt, consult your instructor about whether you can use a particular source.
8. Create an outline.
Using an outline isn’t a must, but many students admit that it helps them organize thoughts, ideas and research findings to keep the paper well-structured. Write an outline in any form that seems convenient for you. However, if the teacher asks you to submit an outline, make sure it follows formatting guidelines and requirements. By the way, when you order a term paper from an online company, they provide you with an outline and a bibliography for free.
9. Avoid plagiarism.
Academic plagiarism is a serious concern that can result in failed assignment or the entire course. Make sure you’ve properly cited the quotes and thoughts used, and specified each source in the reference list. Check the text for plagiarism using special software to make sure your paper is original and there won’t be any problems once you turn it in.
10. Edit and format the text appropriately.
Edit and proofread the written paper to get rid of all grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. Read the text aloud to spot the awkward phases, incomplete sentences and other issues in style. Make sure the text flows logically. Also, you will need to format the assignment according to one of the style guides (APA, MLA, Harvard and more). By following these recommendations, you’ll receive the best possible grade for the written term paper.