A term paper is simply a long research paper that your professor or instructor gives you the entire term to put together. Because you have been given the entire semester or quarter to work on this, your professor will expect your paper to be not only well written but extremely well researched as well. In fact, research, and lots of it, will show your instructor that you have made a thorough investigation of your project.
Conducing Research for a Term Paper
For a term paper, you not only want a lot of research but a variety of sources as well. You’ll want research from books, articles, and peer reviewed articles as well (peer reviewed articles are those screened by a committee of researchers who verify that all the information in the article is correct).
Finding Great Resources of Information
Today, the wonders of the internet make it possible for everyone to become a great scholar from their own home. In fact, Google Books allows you to not only gain access to whole textbooks and great books for research (from respected presses – think Harvard University Press) but also scores of collected scholarly essays (think Collected Articles in Microbiology – or something similar). What’s great about Google Books is that even though you cannot print these books you can search through them for specific words and concepts, allowing you to easily zone in on quotes and have all kinds of books to showcase in your reference list.
Articles from Respected Journals
One thing that showcases your term paper ability is to collect some articles from really respected journals in the field you are writing about. One way to find out these journals is with a simple Google search, or to approach a professor in this field, tell them your topic, and ask them what journals they would search within to find peer reviewed articles to showcase on your reference page. Keep in mind these articles will be very challenging to read. Often it’s best to look in these essays more for a great quote and lay them aside, focusing on articles much easier to understand, especially for undergraduate and high school students.
The Art of Quoting
One mistake beginning research writers make is to introduce quotes the same way every time. Visit some websites on writing creative “signal phrases” to introduce quotes with variety. You don’t want to constantly repeat “Smith says” for example. Try Smith notes, contests, asserts, and other verbs.