8 college tips for handing in a high-quality term paper (Questia)

My term paper sucked! It came back covered in red. What happened?! I thought it was awesome. How can I tell if the term papers I’m handing in are of high enough quality to get me a good grade? Some simple advice, such as using an outline, visiting the student resource center and following term paper format will help you go a long way. By taking time to review some college tips for writing successful term papers, you could achieve a student advantage over others who just put words on paper.

Here’s a checklist of things to do before handing in your term paper:

1) Don’t write a high school paper.

This is college now. The tricks you learned in high school to write a paper won’t cut it in the more academic world of college. “Old formulae, such as the five-paragraph theme, aren’t sophisticated or flexible enough to provide a sound structure for a college paper. And many of the old tricks — such as using elevated language or repeating yourself — will fail you now,” noted Karen Gocsik in “What is an academic paper?” on the Dartmouth Writing Program site at Dartmouth.edu.

2) Make an outline and follow it.

So it doesn’t sound like you’re rambling through 10-15 pages, do some research first, get a good idea of what you want to write about, make an outline and stick to it. This will make your paper sound professional.

3) Ask your teacher.

Pay attention to directions if your teacher or professor tells you exactly what he/she wants: How many pages, on what topic, how many sources needed.

4) Go with your research.

Research today is easier than ever with electronic resources. In addition to Google and Bing (stay away from Wikipedia), there are Worldcat.org, InfoTrac, OneFile, LexisNexis Academic, EBSCOHost and ProQuest. You can also find professional journals and international books and periodicals. Consult your school librarian or city librarian.

5) Evaluate the credibility of scientific information.

If your paper is for a science, medical, health or engineering class, make sure your science and math are correct. No one likes sloppy science. Get your information from a credible source, not from a place that has an agenda or passes off personal experiences or public relations as real science. “Unethical lobbying groups who have particular political or business interests can take advantage of this, and work to perpetuate the disconnect between scientific and public understandings,” reported Kristen St. John in “The Need to Teach about Ethics and Science, and the Credibility of Sources,” in Journal of Geoscience Education, February 2013, found in Questia.com.

6) Don’t plagiarize.

Yes, you’ve heard it before. But it’s really true. Plagiarism gets you nowhere. You need to learn to write your own ideas in a clear and persuasive manner. And, professors are on to you — they know how to scan your paper into plagiarism detection software. Matt Petronzio’s August 29, 2012, article “How to Detect Plagiarism Online” in Mashable.com highlights ten online services that check text for plagiarism, including TurnItIn, Viper and PlagiarismChecker.com, all geared toward college term papers.

7) Check spelling and grammar.

Don’t forget to spell check. But also don’t forget to proofread your paper. Your spell checker doesn’t know the difference between synonyms and homonyms. If your grammar is a bit fuzzy or English is not your first language, ask a friend to read over your paper for good measure. A second set of eyes never hurts.

8) Use term paper format.

In addition to grammar and spelling, presentation is important. For easy reading and so the teacher has room to make comments, format your paper with:

  • an easy-to-read serif font, such as Times New Roman
  • one-inch margins, double-spaced text
  • a header or footer on each page with your name, paper title, page number and course name
  • on plain standard white 8 ½ x 11 paper (no onion skin, pink paper with hearts or resume paper).
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Writing help: Planning a research paper (i Citations)

Posted on April 23, 2013 by Ginny Gaylor

 

The odds are pretty slim that you will make it through four years of college without having to write a research paper. But don’t be frightened by the prospect. Planning a research paper doesn’t have to be scary; in fact, we often make it more difficult than it needs to be. Questia, the Internet’s top research and paper-writing tool for students, is a great place to find writing help.

Research can be rewarding

When you first learned about a research paper requirement for a class, you probably felt anxious. Maybe you haven’t had a lot of experience planning a research paper. But don’t let yourself be derailed by inexperience and anxiety. According to the post on February 21, 2013 by Jack Raymond Baker and Allen Brizee titled “Writing a Research Paper” for Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL), “the process of writing a research paper can be one of the more rewarding experiences one may encounter in academics.”

But like anything new, planning and writing a research paper takes practice. As the OWL post says, “There are few individuals for whom this process comes naturally.” They suggest starting the process by thinking about:

  • Genre: Learning the difference between the two types of research papers—analytical and argumentative.
  • Choosing a Topic: A guide on how to pick the best topic.

Planning makes a difference

Questia’s tutorial on Planning a Paper offers five steps to get you on the right track to creating a research paper that will not only impress your professor but earn you the best grade. The tutorial takes you through each step with help from quizzes and videos.

Step 1—Selecting a topic

You want to pick something you will enjoy writing about, which will help you put the necessary time into the work.
Step 2—Considering what your readers know about the topic

After you’ve picked your topic, it’s time to think about who your reader is going to be. Who your reader is and what they expect will influence what sources and evidence you need to use to persuade them of your argument or give them clear information on the topic.

Step 3—Developing an objective stance

Part of the purpose of a research paper is thinking critically. When planning a research paper, be sure to be aware of how you use your sources so that they strengthen your paper’s purpose.

Step 4—Composing a thesis

Now you’re ready to write your thesis statement—the representation and summation of your paper’s purpose. What do you think your research will show in the end? Your thesis statement should focus on that idea.

Step 5—Organizing your ideas

During this final stage of the planning process, determine how you want to structure your research to prove your thesis statement. This outline will provide the framework for your research paper.

Start now and stay focused

While you might be tempted to procrastinate, it’s easy to see why getting started on a research paper as soon as possible can be a big help in the end. The Writing Center at the American University advises students that beginning in advance can reduce stress, in their blog post from January 31, 2013, “Research Papers: the When and How” by Meridian Ganz-Ratzat.

The structure Ganz-Ratzat suggests starts several months out:

  • 2-3 months away—Think about what your topic is going to be
  • 1 month away—Start researching your chosen topic
  • 3 weeks away—Begin organizing your essay
  • 2 weeks away—Write a first draft
  • 1 week away—Edit for big problems with your thesis or organization
  • 2 days away—Read through for a final proofreading and polish

Even if you develop your own schedule for planning a research paper, the best thing you can do is plan ahead. Writing a research paper is a new thing for many college students, putting it off won’t make it any easier. In fact, procrastinating is likely to make the challenge of a paper that much more difficult.

8 college tips for handing in a high-quality term paper (i Citations)

I came across this great article for students who are in their first two years of college and just learning to write papers on a collegiate level. The original article is below.

Posted on May 2, 2013 by Lorraine Savage

My term paper sucked! It came back covered in red. What happened?! I thought it was awesome. How can I tell if the term papers I’m handing in are of high enough quality to get me a good grade? Some simple advice, such as using an outline, visiting the student resource center and following term paper format will help you go a long way. By taking time to review some college tips for writing successful term papers, you could achieve a student advantage over others who just put words on paper.

Here’s a checklist of things to do before handing in your term paper:

1) Don’t write a high school paper.

This is college now. The tricks you learned in high school to write a paper won’t cut it in the more academic world of college. “Old formulae, such as the five-paragraph theme, aren’t sophisticated or flexible enough to provide a sound structure for a college paper. And many of the old tricks — such as using elevated language or repeating yourself — will fail you now,” noted Karen Gocsik in “What is an academic paper?” on the Dartmouth Writing Program site at Dartmouth.edu.

2) Make an outline and follow it.

So it doesn’t sound like you’re rambling through 10-15 pages, do some research first, get a good idea of what you want to write about, make an outline and stick to it. This will make your paper sound professional.

3) Ask your teacher.

Pay attention to directions if your teacher or professor tells you exactly what he/she wants: How many pages, on what topic, how many sources needed.

4) Go with your research.

Research today is easier than ever with electronic resources. In addition to Google and Bing (stay away from Wikipedia), there are Worldcat.org, InfoTrac, OneFile, LexisNexis Academic, EBSCOHost and ProQuest. You can also find professional journals and international books and periodicals. Consult your school librarian or city librarian.

5) Evaluate the credibility of scientific information.

If your paper is for a science, medical, health or engineering class, make sure your science and math are correct. No one likes sloppy science. Get your information from a credible source, not from a place that has an agenda or passes off personal experiences or public relations as real science. “Unethical lobbying groups who have particular political or business interests can take advantage of this, and work to perpetuate the disconnect between scientific and public understandings,” reported Kristen St. John in “The Need to Teach about Ethics and Science, and the Credibility of Sources,” in Journal of Geoscience Education, February 2013, found in Questia.com.

6) Don’t plagiarize.

Yes, you’ve heard it before. But it’s really true. Plagiarism gets you nowhere. You need to learn to write your own ideas in a clear and persuasive manner. And, professors are on to you — they know how to scan your paper into plagiarism detection software. Matt Petronzio’s August 29, 2012, article “How to Detect Plagiarism Online” in Mashable.com highlights ten online services that check text for plagiarism, including TurnItIn, Viper and PlagiarismChecker.com, all geared toward college term papers.

7) Check spelling and grammar.

Don’t forget to spell check. But also don’t forget to proofread your paper. Your spell checker doesn’t know the difference between synonyms and homonyms. If your grammar is a bit fuzzy or English is not your first language, ask a friend to read over your paper for good measure. A second set of eyes never hurts.

8) Use term paper format.

In addition to grammar and spelling, presentation is important. For easy reading and so the teacher has room to make comments, format your paper with:

  • an easy-to-read serif font, such as Times New Roman
  • one-inch margins, double-spaced text
  • a header or footer on each page with your name, paper title, page number and course name
  • on plain standard white 8 ½ x 11 paper (no onion skin, pink paper with hearts or resume paper).