Instructors love to assign them. Students hate to write them. The dreaded term paper shows up in nearly every college class and they are beginning to become regular occurrences in high school classes, too.
They are often called by other names, but they all have a few things in common: they take a long time to write and research, and they can demolish a semester grade.
In order to succeed in a class that assigns a major writing project, there are components that those papers need. If you want to get a good grade, you will need to include all of these seven vital ingredients.
A good term paper can only be created by using good sources. Many students think that they can do a quick Internet search and use the first options that show up. What students may not realize is that most websites pay big money to show up at the top of any search. This means that they are biased and usually want viewers to pay for something. The best sources provide an unbiased report on a study or event. Then, the student can use the outcome and report to develop his or her own opinion. A good source should not tell a person what to think, it should just give verifiable facts.
In order to prove that you have done your research, you must have a bibliography that includes every source you have used to create your paper. Every single one of those sources needs to be properly cited throughout the paper, too. If you have a source in your bibliography, but you do not have it cited anywhere in the paper, your instructor will wonder what you have done. You will need to use the formatting style, like MLA or APA, that is assigned by the instructor.
Even though you are defending an argument in your paper, you still need to remain unbiased and professional in the tone of your writing. The reader needs to clearly recognize that you have done your research and you are making a reasonable claim. This is done with word choice and punctuation.
If you do not follow the assigned formatting, you could suffer serious consequences to your grade. Formatting is designed to keep papers consistent within academic disciplines. It is designed to keep sources consistently recorded, too. When students fail to format properly, they could be accused of plagiarism. And no student wants that on her permanent record.
Small parts. There are several small parts that need to be included in every term paper. They include things like the title page, the abstract, and the methodology section. Students also need to clearly identify the introduction and conclusion. Each section has formatting requirements that need to be met, too. Students often forget to include these sections, which causes instructors to reduce the grade. It is also important that those sections are all properly labeled in the format the instructor assigned.
Arguable claim. Top research papers have claims that are actually arguable and interesting to prove. The claim should not be too easy to argue, of the paper will seem pointless.
Precise word choice. Since large writing projects are usually designed around a specific topic, the language used in the paper needs to fit that topic. Readers might even need to have some of the words defined through context clues.
Without the specific language and word choice, the instructor might not be able to tell that you fully understood the topic you were researching.