As a college student, at some point you will undoubtedly be required to write the dreaded term paper. Since your final grade is dependant on this paper, it needs to be well thought out and well written. It should be free of grammar errors, featuring a correct bibliography, in whichever style your professor determines. Although writing a term paper may sound intimidating, it is actually a fairly simple process once you break it down into its incremental parts.
If you are not assigned a specific topic for a term paper, you’ll need to develop your own. Try to decide on something that will encompass what you have learned in the class. For an American history class, that might be something like: “Multiple presidents have found loopholes in the text of the Constitution when they needed to.” For an ethics class it may be something like: “Marijuana should be legalized.” Then, you need to apply concepts you’ve learned in the class to argue your point.
Start your term paper with an introduction. This is where you will discuss how your topic relates to the class, and you take a stance on a particular issue. The introduction should end with your thesis statement- a clear, concise statement of your overall argument. After the introduction are the supporting body paragraphs. The first paragraphs (and it does not matter how many body paragraphs you use, some professors have a preference while others just want a cohesive essay with as many as necessary) contains evidence supporting your thesis statement, using your opinion and outside research. The next body paragraphs anticipate arguments against your thesis and refute them. The final paragraph will be the conclusion, which re-states your thesis statement and summarizes the paper, bringing it to a logical ending. For the marijuana example above, an essay might break down like this:
Introduction: Paper discusses medical ethics and how polarizing they are; end with thesis statement “marijuana should be legalized.”
Body Paragraphs 1 & 2: Support from doctors and drug advocates, including police and economists as to why marijuana should be legal (prison overcrowding, medical effects of marijuana as compared to alcohol, tobacco)
Body Paragraphs 3 & 4: Puts forth the argument that “Marijuana is a gateway drug” and discuss how that is not true, and how the government cannot legislate what we put in our bodies
Conclusion: Restate thesis and briefly summarize the main points of the body paragraphs
An approach similar to this will probably yield an excellent