A term paper is an academic body of work that is used to share information derived from research. Such articles are generally one of the largest projects that students work on during a school semester and serve as the culmination of a particular course of study. Such articles are generally based on research that a student performs over the course of an entire semester and can be quite lengthy.
Reports are usually written to respond to a particular problem or they are crafted around a field of study. For example, a term paper for an English class might require a learner to compare two works of literature in order to determine which work of literature has the most dynamic character development. A term paper for a history class might require that a student analyze four political theories, their impact on historical societies, and problems with the particular theories.
In order to write an effective project, it is important that the student understands the topic that he or she is supposed to write about. Many professors allow their students to select their own document topics, as long as the topic falls within the subject matter that the professor has taught throughout the semester. Other professors require that all learners write a project based on the same subject.
Students are often required to research a subject in depth in order to create their documents. While writing the report, the student should keep a basic outline in mind for how he or she wants the report to flow and for what subject matter the student wants the report to address. An outline provides a roadmap for a well-organized term paper and makes it easier for many learners to know where they are going with their arguments.
In terms of the format for a report, most professors will allow their students to have a degree of flexibility. Many effective projects follow the same format as an article, in that they should include an introductory paragraph, body, conclusion, and references. The report itself should be organized like an inverted pyramid, with more general information included at the beginning of the document and a specific conclusion, if applicable, at the end of the document.
However, it may also be effective for students to divide their documents into sections, especially if the reports are lengthy. For example, if a student is writing a term paper on different political theories, he or she may wish to divide the report into separate sections for each theory and conclude the report with a comparison of the theories. Professors may be able to provide guidance in terms of format.
Reports are often mistaken for theses, but it is important to note that they are not the same. Though they are similar, a report is usually a lesser work than a thesis and is often used in undergraduate and high school level coursework. A thesis is a large body of work that is often used in graduate coursework to conclude a lengthier period of study. However, both works require a good deal of research over an extended period of time.
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