A term paper is a large written assignment you are given an entire term to write. Usually it consists of a critical and analytical report on one of the topics you’ve studied as a part of your course, to give you solid ground to build your argument on. Unlike many assignments you may have written in the past that dealt either with summarizing the existing body of research on a particular topic or consisted of your own thoughts on the subject, a term paper is supposed to contain both these elements. In a sense, its goal is to check if you can both collect information from external sources and think on your own.
An education term paper is associated with additional peculiarities, because education by definition is located at the crossroads of a number of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, philosophy and others. This means that you have to, on the one hand, have sufficient grounding in several disciplines, and on the other hand – clearly decide exactly which aspect you are going to research. That what this education term paper guide is all about.
As for the size, normally education term papers are about 10-15 pages long, although the requirements of your particular university always take precedence over conventions.
Sometimes an instructor will assign you a topic to work with, but most often, they only broadly delineate the area with which you will have to work, leaving the choice of a specific topic to you. You shouldn’t approach the choice lightly – you are going to write the paper for an entire term and won’t have an opportunity to change the topic once you’ve committed to it. Here are some tips that will make this choice a bit easier:
Here are some good topics you so that you can see what you should aim at:
The choice of topic doesn’t signify the beginning of writing process – you have a lot of preparatory work to do, namely:
Let’s elaborate on each of these stages.
The difference of a college-level term paper from what you used to write in high school is that it should not only express your own thoughts and findings but have a firm grounding in the existing body of research. It is just the way academic research is built. That’s why before you start writing you have to make sure you have enough sources to rely upon.
A thesis statement is the central idea of your term paper, its main point or message. If you heard that it is a mere repetition of the assignment’s topic, you’ve heard wrong – a thesis statement is, well, a statement. ‘Influence of Standardized Tests on the Quality of Education’ is a topic. ‘Standardized tests negatively affect the quality of education, as corroborated by the evidence I’ve collected’ is a thesis statement.
You state your point of view on the subject and clarify what you are going to prove in your assignment. It should be a part of your paper’s introduction (usually closer to the end of the first paragraph), but you have to prepare it beforehand.
Before you start writing, you need a plan, and outline serves as such. Whatever structure your term paper has, write down each significant point here and follow it as you work on each subsequent part. If you mark down all the important elements before you start writing, you won’t discover suddenly that you’ve forgotten to mention something five pages before or put body paragraphs in the wrong order.
Education term papers have more or less the same structure as any other assignment of this type, usually consisting of an introduction (including thesis statement), body paragraphs, conclusion and bibliography. Each of them is written following its own set of rules.
The role of introduction is to give the reader a rationale behind your work and justify that your research is viable and important for the field in general. Although you aren’t usually assigned a specific word limit, strive to keep it as short as possible. In as few words as you can, try to interest the reader, explain the reasons behind your research and lead him up to the main part.
One paragraph should contain but a single new point. If you feel the need to introduce two or more points within a single paragraph, either break it up or restructure your paper. Other than that, normally body paragraphs follow the following structure:
A conclusion shouldn’t give you much trouble, as it is more or less a repetition of what has been said in the introduction – this is why most specialists recommend writing these parts of your term paper together and last of all. Mention the point you made in the beginning, summarize your evidence, explain why you believe your research to be relevant and point out what needs additional investigation.
In order to realize the full potential of your term paper, it has to go through rigorous revision and proofreading. Don’t do it as an afterthought even if you are sick and tired of your assignment by now – for its overall success, it is just as important as the first two steps.
We hope that these education term paper tips will make writing your next education term paper into a much easier and more enjoyable experience than it used to be!