A standard requirement in most high schools is a term paper. It prepares students for the challenges of college by teaching them how to use a variety of resources and giving them academic writing practice.
Students should be thankful for the experience. However, since it is not an easy task, very few appreciate the process. Thankfully, there are ways to make it easier.
Choose your topic well
Oftentimes, students have difficulty making a paper because they didn’t choose their topic well. Even if you are not fond of your subject (Literature, History, Economics), it doesn’t mean that you can’t find something interesting to research.
Try looking at research papers in your library or online journals. You can also take a look at magazines about the subject. Be creative about your topic search because finding the right one will make the process more enjoyable.
Once a topic has been chosen, you’ll need to find a lot of resources to support your thoughts. However, don’t just search for evidence for your position. You also need articles and books that go against your thoughts. A good research shows both sides of the story.
Organize your thoughts
While researching, don’t just read and read. Write down the important facts and sources so you can refer to them while writing. As you are expected to have combed through many sources, it will be difficult to recall what you’ve read already if you did not take down notes.
Make an outline
Whether your teacher requires it or not, it is a good idea to have an outline of your paper. This should include a bit of your introduction, your main arguments, the counterarguments, and how you tie them all together.
Research papers are several pages long. The outline will help keep you on track while you write.
Attract your reader’s attention
A good paper entices a person to keep going as he or she reads. So try to include powerful quotes, interesting facts, or thought-provoking ideas. These are usually in the introduction as a way to initially grab the reader’s attention. However, such details may also be interspersed in the discussion, results, or recommendation.
Present both sides well
As earlier mentioned, a good paper shows both sides. Unfortunately, many students don’t want to be “wrong,” causing them to only support their position. The point of a term paper is to become more knowledgeable about the problem, not to be “right.” If your position is disproved, you just have to explain why in the results. Your readers will appreciate the honesty and professionalism.
Make good recommendations
After discussing the results, you must make recommendations. Don’t brush this section off since good recommendations indicate that you understand what you discovered.
Edit your work
Placing that final period is very satisfying. But don’t rest just because you finished writing. It is expected that you may have made many errors such as wrong grammar and punctuation, repetition of vocabulary, or vague sentences and thoughts. Double or triple-check your work to make sure everything is clear.
Yes, a term paper is not a walk in the park, but it is also not an impossible task. If you put in the effort and consider these pointers, you might begin to see why teachers consider the term paper a great project for students.
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