Even grad students who already have some experience with the term papers, know how challenging the assignment can be. And, if you are a first-year student, the amount of work on your term paper can be simply overwhelming — especially, if you are aiming for an A. Still, the tips below should help you create quality work.
#1 Choose a broad topic
First of all, think of the topic that appeals to you (if you haven’t been assigned one already). The more interested in it you are, the higher your chances of success.
#2 Narrow the topic down during research
Sure, an overly broad, generalized topic will not do. So, as you are researching the general topic, you can pick a more specific, narrow subject on the go. The tip is especially useful for students who are writing a term paper for the first time and lack knowledge on the assigned subject.
#3 Prepare the list of acceptable sources
Another task to take care of during the research stage is to prepare the list of sources you are going to cite, paraphrase, or list in your reference section. After all, you’re looking for the information anyway. So, why not save yourself some effort and get your sources section ready in the process?
#4 Work on your outline
After completing the research, you should already have more ideas about your topic, which is the perfect time to outline your paper. Think of the arguments you are going to make and the points to prove these arguments. Write the ideas down and structure them in a logical order — here you go, an outline is not as scary as it sounds!
#5 Think of a compelling thesis
Neither is the thesis statement if you think of it. This is the primary statement you are going to prove in your work — as simple as that. The only trick is that it should be relevant and — preferably — not too obvious. In other words, a thesis is something that could be argued with.
#6 Get the intro right
A quality introduction starts with a brief overview of a problem you are going to analyze and finishes with your thesis statement.
#7 Stick to the outline in body paragraphs
Further on, you examine the evidence for/against your thesis in the body paragraphs. Basically, you start dwelling on your outline. Mind that as you write, you will get new supporting ideas and might want to deviate from the original plan. This, however, is not the best idea because it might ruin your intended logic flow.
#8 Know what a conclusion is
While an introduction is a quick overview of your problem, a conclusion is a quick summary of your findings. That is, you quickly restate the points you have analyzed in your work and prove your thesis either right (this is the common practice) or wrong.
#9 Mind your required format
Another vital thing is the required format. Most term papers are written in APA style, but you should better double-check this with your professor.
Ideally, come back to your paper in at least a day after you finish writing. This way, it will be easier to catch all the typos, grammar and spelling errors and even style inconsistencies.
The final word of advice would be not to put off your term paper. A quality academic assignment requires time, so the sooner you start working on it, the better.