How to Write a Term Paper

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11 Steps on writing a term paper
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Choose your topic. Try to make it as creative as possible; if you're given the opportunity to choose your own, take advantage of this. Choose something you're particularly interested in because this will make it easier to write; in particular, try to select the topic as a result of pressing questions you already know you want to search for answers to. Once you've decided on a topic, be sure to hone down it to a do-able topic; often a topic is initially too broad in its coverage, which will make it impossible to complete within the time and space constraints given. Narrow down your topic to something that can really be worked within the boundaries of the paper. If the topic is already chosen for you, start exploring unique angles that can set your content and information apart from the more obvious approaches many others will probably take. Finally, whatever angle your topic takes, it should be both original in approach and insightful, something the reader will be drawn into and fascinated by. * Take great care not to choose a topic and be so set on how you see the outcome of your paper that you're closed to new ideas and avenues of thinking as you work through the paper. This is known in academia as "premature cognitive commitment". It can mar an otherwise good paper because an outcome that is pre-determined in your head, regardless of the research findings along the way, will be molded to fit the outcome, rather than the outcome reflecting a genuine analysis of the discoveries made. Instead, ask continuous questions about the topic at each stage of your research and writing and see the topic in terms of a "hypothesis" rather than as a conclusion. In this way, you'll be prepared to be challenged and to even have your opinion changed as you work through the paper. * Reading other people's comments, opinions and entries on a topic can often help you to refine your own, especially where they comment that "further research" is required or where they posit challenging questions but leave them unanswered. * For some more help, see How to establish a research topic. 2. -------------------------------------------------

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Do your research. It's pointless to launch into writing before you've done the research. You need to understand the background to the topic and the current thinking, as well as finding out what future research is considered necessary in the area. While it may be tempting to rehash information you already know really well, avoid doing this or you learn nothing from the research and writing process. Go into research with a sense of adventure and an openness to learning things you've yet to grasp, as well as being ready to discover new ways of looking at old problems. When researching, use both primary (original text, document, legal case, interviews, experiment, etc.) and secondary (other people's interpretations and explanations of the primary source) sources. There is also a place for discussing with like-minded students and even finding online discussions about the topic if you feel comfortable doing this but these discussions are for idea-sharing and helping you to gel your ideas and are not usually quotable sources. For more information, here are some helpful resources to check out: * How to research a paper.

* How to take notes, How to take better notes, How to take notes from a textbook, How to take notes on a book and How to take Cornell notes. 3. -------------------------------------------------

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Refine your thesis statement. After you've done the research, reflect back over the chosen topic. At this point, it's essential to pinpoint the single, strong idea you'll be discussing, your assertion that you believe you can defend...
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