Writing and Researching Term Papers

Writing a term paper involves researching myriad sources, interpretation of the ideas and documenting this interpretation to arrive at a conclusion. Communicating your thoughts perfectly to the person who will read the paper is very important. Before you start on writing and after you finish your research check with your teacher about the recommended format of writing. Check Rice.edu for the common errors found in research papers.

Resources to Help You Research
The resources that you will use for your research depend primarily on the type of assignment that you are doing. If your research topic is current, then books and scholarly articles cannot be used as resources; the relevant material may not yet be available on print. Internet, newspaper and magazines would be more useful as resources. On the other hand, books and articles written by experts will always cover the matter in greater depth than the media. Sometimes you reach a dead-end with your research. Check out the bibliographies, which often serve as good sources of information.

A very helpful free online tool, CiteULike, helps you to save and organize all your research references. Go to CiteULike.org and check out this simply amazing tool, which will help to compile all your research references. You need not type out all the citation details. This web-based tool will enable you to access and update information anytime, anywhere. If you are working on a paper that needs group research, then you can share your work with other members of your group with the help of this tool. For research sources, research skills and other research and writing related information check out the following sites:


Some Tips on Good Writing
Writing a research paper is hard work but by following some simple steps you can break down the process into manageable parts:

  • The time given to finish the paper may vary from ten weeks to four weeks. So schedule your time in such a way that you finish much before the day of submission.
  • If you have a choice regarding the topic of research, then choose a topic that will have enough resources; however, do remember that information overload can be a hurdle in developing your thesis. Also, choose a topic that interests you, else you may not have the patience to go through the research.
  • Your Thesis Statement should be extremely well written with the research topic outlined and the sequence of the topics elaborated.
  • To give a holistic approach to your paper, do extensive research. Check the credibility of the information and whether the information is still relevant. Particularly in the case of software and information technology, any information that is older than six months to a year is considered outdated.
  • Make an outline of what your paper should cover so that you do not stray.
  • After you finish the first draft, go back to your resources and check if you have left out any information. Check the flow of the paper from one section to another. Check all the sources.
  • Proofread to see if there are any spelling or grammatical errors; if possible get someone else to read through it.

For more tips on writing a research paper log on to: http: AcademicTips.org.

The Different Formats in Use
Before you start writing your paper, you need to finalize the format. The format will act like the backbone or structure on which you will create your paper. There are different types of formats involving citation. The differences in the formats will be in pagination, in-text citation and bibliography writing. You can choose between the APA, MLA and the Chicago or Turabian styles. Besides these, there are other formats involving the tone; decide whether you want to do a narrative, argumentative, or persuasive paper.

For more information on writing formats:


Reviewing Your Paper
After you have finished your paper, take a break and move away mentally and physically from the paper. This will help you to look at the paper with a fresh eye and mind. Read aloud slowly - this is a tried and tested method to catch mistakes that will normally escape you. Look at the paper from the perspective of your reader. Get another person, maybe a friend or a professor, to read it. A fresh reader may identify mistakes that you have overlooked.

Common Mistakes in Your Term Paper
There are some mistakes that students commonly make in their term papers.
The following checklist will help you to avoid these mistakes:

  • Understand your assignment; if you don't, ask and clear your doubts, but never assume.
  • Use capital letters for proper nouns and never for common nouns.
  • Use "its" and "It's" with care. The first is used as a possessive word, while the second is a contraction.
  • Use different paragraphs for different ideas.
  • Stick to the guidelines about font size, word limits and page limits.
  • Do not use commas randomly; they are required to pause, break, or change ideas.
  • Do not use 'like' while giving examples. Use 'such as'.
  • Number your pages and put your names on each paper. Do not give in insecurely attached papers.
  • If your information has been sourced from the Internet, cross check it. Check all your sources, especially periodicals that may not always provide authentic information.
  • Cite all your research resources - plagiarism is a serious issue.

The Choice of Software for your Paper
Presenting a well-formatted paper is important to increase the readability of your research. MS Word has inbuilt features that help you turn out a well formatted copy. Its features, such as footnotes, endnotes, table of contents, index, table forming, headers and footers, captions, spell check, and grammar check, are perfect for an academic paper. Also read Recommended Hardware for Online College for additional information about earning a degree from a distance learning facility. Also, to know more about MS Word, log on to: WordProcessing.com

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