The title may be one of the topics provided in theTerm Paper guide, or you may propose your own. From inspection one can see thatthe title is in the form of a question that clearly indicates the subject beingtreated. This question must be a debatable one, in that it presents a debate orcontroversy within the topic and asks a question that could satisfactorily beargued on either side. No one has ever received an improved grade by having anexceptionally witty title, so do not attempt to create an original one.
Back in the history of the United States, in thevery beginnings of Congress, statesmen would passionately argue issues and lawsin an attempt to justly shape the future of the nation. There were, however,those senators and congressmen that would merely walk on both sides of acontroversy and never come down on one side or the other. Thesefence-straddlers came to be known as mugwumps. Do NOT Mugwump. Clearly stateyour conclusion by choosing a side of the debate that you have supported withargument and evidence. You may present an analysis and criticism of existingviews, and even come up with a new one, but you must make a decision. It is ofcourse, quite possible that someone could just as easily argue the opposingview of the topic. However, the idea of the term paper is that you haveperformed enough research, and have adequately addressed and refuted theopposing view so that your conclusion is not just simply "youropinion", but in fact is the reasonable choice derived from logicalanalysis. In truth, if the topic addressed by the term paper is one in whichthere is a concrete answer, then the term paper has been incorrectly writtenand has addressed an unacceptable topic.
As examples of how creative an introduction can be, here are the opening lines from a geography paper and a paper on optics, both of which use narrative technique to arouse our interest. Note how the first excerpt uses an "I" narrator comfortably while the second excerpt does not use "I" even though the writer is clearly reflective about the subject matter. The first excerpt is from a paper on the generic nature of America’s highway exit ramp services; the second is from a paper on shape constancy.
A r style uses the author's name and the year of publication of the work, which are placed in parentheses and inserted at the appropriate place in the text. A page number is also included for direct quotes and in some other cases. Then at the end of the paper or book there is a "References" or "Works Cited" section that contains the full documentation for all the sources cited throughout the body of the work. These sources are listed alphabetically by author. Reference-in-text styles are increasingly the norm in social science, and most are some variant of the style developed by the American Psychological Association (APA). For details of how to use such styles, see the APA's (1983); (Biddle & Holland, 1987); or use this book as an illustration. Whatever citation style you choose, use it correctly and be consistent.
involves the use of numbers to indicate each citation. Each number's corresponding note may be at the bottom of the page as a footnote or at the end of the paper as an endnote. In either case, you should provide comprehensive information on each source the first time it appears as a footnote or an endnote, with shortened versions appearing in later footnotes or endnotes. At the end of the paper, a bibliography repeats the full documentation of these sources, listing them alphabetically by author. Bibliographies have their own formatting styles. A number of works demonstrate both citation and bibliography format styles, including (Turabian, 1980) and (1993).
Parts: All papers should have three basic parts: an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. The is the key to letting your reader know where you are headed and what you will accomplish. Remember always that while the organization of your paper may be clear to you, it is not clear to your reader. Therefore, the introduction is something like a road map that acquaints the reader with the journey ahead. This will make it easier for the reader to understand what follows and will improve the reader's evaluation of your work. Tell the reader in concise terms (1) what the subject of the paper is, (2) what it is that you hope to find out, and (3) how you will go about it.
A correctly composed paper should reflect competent research, clarity, andimaginative analysis. Do not write a book report. The intent is for you toproduce a paper that shows the conflicts within your chosen research area anduse convincing argument and evaluation to reach a conclusion.
A good source for ideas on how a term paper will begraded is the term paper Grading criteriaas well as associated points are explicitly described, and you may use thisform to evaluate your own paper - or have someone else evaluate it - beforeturning it in.
Basic GuidelinesThe purpose of the term paper in ECS 15 is for you to learn how to do effective research on a subject and then write it up clearly, showing where you got your information.
The second and probably more important goal behind a paper-writing assignment extends beyond the specific content of the course. The object is to sharpen your analytic and writing skills in preparation for the professional career that you may wish to pursue after graduation. Do not underestimate the importance of such thinking and communications skills. Most professional positions that college graduates seek will eventually require that you find information, analyze it, and convey your conclusions and recommendations to others, including your boss. You will be judged by your product. A survey of ranking business executives a few years ago asked them what accounted for the rise of their most successful young subordinates compared to the failure or slow progress of other junior executives. Communications skills was one of the factors most mentioned by the top executives. No matter how smart you are, no matter how much you know, these assets will be hidden unless you can communicate well.
Approach: There are several ways to approach your paper. A common organizational approach is a chronological one. The advantage of this approach is that it uses the passage of time as its organizing mechanism. The disadvantage of a chronological approach is that it can easily become a "laundry list" of events, both important and unimportant. Students often list everything they find, leaving it to the reader to determine which factors are most important. Chronologies are also no substitute for analysis. There is nothing wrong with a chronological approach if it is done well; just be sure to put more emphasis throughout on things happened than on happened.
Your TA does not need to approve sources like this.
- Use the guidelines (underpublications go to Style Guide) for citing references and composingyourbibliography; it can be found
with examples for all kinds ofmaterials (scroll to the bottom of the document).
- The bibliography does not count towards the length of your paper.
- See an example of citations here.
- See an example of a bibliography here.
- If you would like to include photos, charts, tables, etc.
Make a "backup" copy of your paper beforeturning it in, for two reasons. First, I DO NOT RETURN PAPERS TO STUDENTS. Onceyour paper has been graded, however, you are welcome to see your paper andreview the basis of your grade with my TAs during their office hours. Thesecond reason is to insure against the possibility of a paper being"lost."