A term paper is a written assignment you have to complete over a period of one term – it serves as a representation of your academic achievement over this time and accounts for a significant portion of your grade. In other words, it is certainly a kind of academic work you should learn how to do if you want to successfully graduate.
The size of a term paper may vary depending on the task and the topic. Normally, a 10-page paper is considered appropriate, but there are no strict limitations (unless they are clearly imposed by the college). If you can write 15 pages, good for you – as long as these 15 pages are full of content and not filler. Likewise, if you are dealing with a narrow topic and manage to tell everything you wanted to tell in 5 pages, don’t try to bloat it up to a certain word count – conciseness is always preferable to wordiness, even if it makes your paper look rather short.
Marketing papers are somewhat different from the rest because they are more concerned with the practical side of things and more often deal with case studies, examples from real marketing campaigns, analysis of existing marketing practices and their application in different situations and so on.
As you are going to spend an entire term writing this paper, it pays to be prepared and put some thought into what topic you choose. Even if the topic is simply assigned to you by your tutor, it may be a good idea to do a bit of reading on it and, if you find a way to alter it to your advantage, discuss this possibility with your supervisor.
Don’t approach the choice of a topic lightly – it is better to spend some time reading up on it than to suddenly realize half a term later that you don’t have enough material to work on.
Here are some general principles that will help you choose a better topic:
Here are some examples of what may constitute a good marketing term paper topic:
Some students rush to start writing immediately after they select a topic, believing that the faster they get something done, the faster they will complete the paper. This is a misconception – most of the time you spend working on a marketing term paper should be spent gathering sources and doing research. Writing signifies the end of your work rather than its beginning – you should make notes as you read the sources and interview people, but you should already have a definite picture of the entire paper before you start your first draft. Otherwise, you will most likely have to make extensive corrections many times over.
No academic work exists in isolation, and it is true for marketing as well. You cannot simply take a case study, analyze it and write down your conclusions. Even if your analysis is impeccable and conclusions are innovative, without the support from existing body of literature your paper won’t be accepted by the academic community.
So how should you approach hunting for sources?
In marketing, it is not enough to quote other people’s work. You have to go out and do your own market research. The most common way to do so is to carry out a market survey – i.e., collect information from a sample group of consumers that may be selected either at random or following certain prerequisites. These surveys may be product-, customer- and company-oriented, each concentrating on different aspects of research. Sometimes it may be worth posing a survey as one type but in fact carry out another – this can help you achieve interesting results unobtainable in any other way.
Just like any other academic assignment, a marketing term paper has a relatively fixed structure. It can vary from college to college, but usually you will have to deal with the same set of sections:
Let’s elaborate on them.
Outline is a detailed plan of your paper. Here you specify what you should write in each part of the paper. Pay special attention to introduction and thesis statement – they are short but extremely important as a part of a bigger picture. Body paragraphs can do with simple enumeration of main points to mention lest you forget them and logical connections between paragraphs.
Some students omit writing the outline, but it is a mistake – if you have it, you won’t forget a single point and will be able to immediately see if some parts of the paper seem illogical or disconnected.
Marketing is not different from any other academic discipline in this respect – an introduction should catch the reader’s attention and lead him up to your thesis statement. However, you shouldn’t forget that a term paper is a piece of scientific work first and foremost, which means that funny, whimsical and/or quirky introductions are out of the question. However, using a line like “My term paper is about the importance of logos in creation of brand identity” is also a bad idea.
A good middle ground is to refer to an interesting fact related to the topic of your paper that suggests the direction in which you are going to take your argument, e.g., “In 2010 Gap launched a new logo, trying to follow the trend and look more modern. It lasted for two days before they had to revert to the old one following a massive public backlash”.
Contrary to popular misunderstanding, a thesis statement doesn’t simply repeat the topic of your paper. It is an idea you’ve come to, an assertion you make after doing the research on the topic, a statement of the truth which you try to prove in your paper. It should follow a few basic rules:
The most widespread way of writing body paragraphs is as follows:
As you may see, normally you should clearly delineate paragraphs so that each deals with an individual point. It makes it easier to both write and read your paper.
When writing, follow these principles:
Usually conclusion is more or less a recap of the introduction: you return to your original point, refer to the evidence you’ve found and discussed in the course of a paper, decide if you’ve managed to prove your point and point out any outstanding issues that may remain.
Revision is no less important than writing; probably more so. Unfortunately, many students don’t understand this and get worse grades than they potentially can with proper proofreading and revision. If you want to increase the chances of success for your marketing term paper, follow these suggestions:
You can learn to write high-quality marketing term paper through lots and lots of practice – but with the help of this marketing term paper writing guide, you can start out better off than most of your peers.