First time writing a term paper: action plan to follow Oct 06, 2012
A term paper is usually issued to students towards the end or mid-way through an academic term. The term or research paper is in place to help instructors evaluate a student's research and writing skills. It also assists in demonstrating whether or not a student can think critically and interpret and analyze data appropriately.
Now that you know what a research paper is, you'll need a solid action plan to get you off on the right foot. In this article we will discuss seven key steps to producing a stress-free, intelligible, winning term paper
Step 1: Relax
natural to feel a bit intimidated and anxious about your first term paper. Maybe you've heard a lot of negative experiences or you're just afraid that you cannot do the work. A word of advice is to avoid added stress by giving yourself plenty of time to start working on your paper. Some of the best research topics come to an at-ease mind.
Step 2: Don't procrastinate
The amount of information gathering that is involved in the formulation of a respectable term paper involves a considerable degree of time and effort. To avoid hasty decisions and disorganized, unpresentable material, try and plan your paper ahead of time. You'll want to set aside time for two major things; (1) brainstorming and fine tuning your topic and (2) collecting and evaluating data. Other components of the term paper such as drafting and revising should be given significant time as well (though these are often the most time-consuming).
Step 3: Get a topic and refine it
Topic selection can sometimes be difficult if you have little or no inspiration or no specific subject categories from your instructor. Prewriting techniques such as brainstorming, freewriting, listing, and clustering can be helpful ways to obtain a topic for exploration.
Once you've selected a suitable topic its very important to narrow down or refine your topic. The best research topic
is one that is neither too broad nor too narrow. You don't want to insitute so many conditions that you hardly have any material to study neither do you want to have a topic that is so broad that you cannot cover it in its entirety.
Step 4: Make an outline
The components of a term paper are simple; introduction, body, and conclusion. The outline allows you to properly format these sections by identifying the titles and subtopics for each category.
Outlines or graphic organizers are also an excellent way of mapping out your course of action and organizing your research notes accordingly. After you create a comprehensive outline for your term paper all there is left to do is to simply supply each section with the necessary information to formulate your first draft.
Step 5: Write a killer thesis
The thesis statement
holds a very powerful position in your term paper. Your instructor will be looking for this statement when evaluating your paper and will base the effectiveness of your research on whether or not its supported throughout (so clear your head, grab a cup of tea and take some time to develop your ideas into a remarkable, concise, objective statement!)
You may begin formulating your thesis before you create your outline. As soon as a topic comes to surface you should start thinking about how you will argue your point and achieve your objective with the resources available.
Sometimes after conducting preliminary research you start to find that your thesis no longer works with the information you've gathered. This is normal. Tailoring your thesis to fit your data is a good way to ensure an efficient and logical paper.
Step 6: Really read
Excellent note taking is the key to a comprehensive research paper
. If you didn't read - it shows. Your paper needs to have overall fluency; all the ideas should connect to one another and flow very easily from the main objective. Your writing will suffer if you have comprehension gaps here and there because you didn't really understand the concepts you chose to discuss.
Step 7: Really revise
Good revisions take time. Whether you decide to revise as you go along or save it all for the end; a multitude of things are involved in completing an affective revision. Some examples can be seen below;
- Main idea support: Read and reread your paper to evaluate whether or not the information you provided supports your thesis statement "through and through"; meaning that the evidence fully and completely covers the objectives stated in your introduction and accomplish the goal of your paper.
- Proportion: Identify whether or not you've given a significant amount of attention to each section of your paper. All sections may not need to be equal in size but main points should be explained in a manner befitting them (spend a lot of time on main points and less time on smaller point). Lastly, avoid spending a lot of time on a particular section just because you can "fill it up" faster than other sections.
- Proper organization: Early on you should choose an organizational structure that best suits the information obtained from your research. Be sure to be consistent with the structure you've chosen and include helpful transitions to assist your papers fluidity.
- Clear introduction and thoughtful conclusion: Your introduction should engage the reader, provide some background information on the topic and clearly state what you will accomplish in your paper. Likewise your conclusion should not just restate the thesis and bid farewell, but should stimulate the reader and give thoughtful ideas for further analysis or clear solutions to posed problems.
The aforementioned plan is intended to provide you with a brief guideline to writing your term paper. All areas are not explored in depth as the purpose is to provide you with just enough general information to get you started. Now that you understand the key areas to execute in creating your term paper you will hopefully perform better overall and produce quality, publishable results. back to all posts