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GUIDELINES ON WRITING A TERM PAPER
What’s a term paper? ‘Term paper’ refers to a particular type of academic writing, in which the writer’s own interpretation, assessment, or argument on a specific issue is promoted. A term paper involves surveying a field of knowledge in order to find the best possible information in that field. Such information is then utilized to present a competent argument on a topic. Hence a term paper requires a presentation of your own thinking backed up by others’ ideas and information from existing literature.
In short, a term paper is:
• focused on a specific issue/problem;
• a presentation of facts that are based upon extensive reading and extraction of information from several sources;
and • original in selection of literature, evaluation, expression and conclusion.
What must be contained in a term paper?
When writing a paper, you are expected to:
• identify and briefly describe the works (relevant literature/articles) you have accessed;
• analyse and interpret the accessed relevant literature;
• frame the literature as evidence to support your argument; and
• Make conclusions.
The above may be achieved by:
• defining and clarifying the ‘problem’;
• summarizing previous studies to inform the reader of the state of current knowledge;
• identifying agreements and disagreements in the literature,
examining contradictions, inconsistencies and gaps in the literature;
• drawing conclusions based upon the inferences made from the analysis of those accessed literature (articles); and
• suggesting the next step(s) towards solving the ‘problem’.
Structure of Term paper
The following structure is recommended when writing a term paper.
1. Title page.
2. Contents page.
3. Preliminary sections
I. Declaration (both student and supervisor)
IV. Table of content
4. Abstract (not over one page)
Principal component of Term paper
1. Section one: Introduction
a. Introduction (background).
b. Main problem for discussion
c. Objective of the study
d. Organization of the work
e. Contribution to knowledge
2. Section two: Review of relevant literature
(This section can be subdivided into subheadings)
b. Theoretical foundation of the problem
c. Empirical evidence to support or refute the argument
d. Summary of literature
3. Section Three: Interpretation of literature and Discussion
(This section may be further organized into subheadings if the paper is extended in length).
a. Students should clearly state their position in the argument
b. Support your position with theoretical and empirical evidence
4. Section four: Conclusion and recommendation
a. Students should present the summary and conclusion of the arguments
b. They should also provide possible recommendation for policy and practice
5. Reference list.
1. The abstract
a. Describe the topic (in one sentence).
b. State the purpose/thesis/organising construct of the paper.
c. Outline the scope of the paper.
d. Identify the key sources of evidence that substantiates the argument (i.e., published literature).
e. State the key conclusions.
2. The introduction
a. Introduce the specific ‘problem’ under study.
b. Summarise relevant arguments and data to give the reader a firm sense of the issue (in a couple of sentences).
3. Review of literature.
a. Discuss the literature without giving a detailed historical account.
b. Assume the reader is knowledgeable about the field.
c. Cite only works that have direct relevance to the topic.
d. Demonstrate a logical continuity between earlier and current work (this helps to develop breadth and scope of your work).
e. Note controversial issues where applicable (treat opposing viewpoints fairly).
f. State the purpose and rationale (i.e., your approach to solving the ‘problem’).
g. Define the variables and state your thesis.
4. Interpretation and Discussion
a. Organise the subheadings to reflect theoretical relationships (i.e., group related ideas together).
b. Under each subheading summarise and synthesize relevant information from the literature.
c. Analyse and discuss (evaluate and interpret) the information.
d. Consider the implications in terms of your study (i.e., support vs nonsupport for your position on the issue).
e. Based on conclusions you make, consider inferences that may be drawn (where applicable).
f. Acknowledge limitations and address alternative explanations
g. To conclude, comment on the importance of your findings.
Posted 11 months ago