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How to Write Your Term paper/Project/Dissertation Report

Research writing

This article is intended for the University's undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them in completing their project, term paper, and dissertation reports. So, let us start.

Term Paper Report: 


A 'term paper' is a kind of research work that can be converted into a research paper. It is written by students during a specified semester or year as a requirement to complete certain credits. They are generally intended to describe an event, a topic, a concept, to put forth a point. Therefore, it requires thorough planning of the problem of interest, time of completion, and report presentation.

OBJECTIVE:  

The primary objective of term paper is to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate the ability to devise, select and use a range of methodologies and tools to the Chosen/research work, applying the theoretical and experimental knowledge. Simply put, a term paper is a large assignment of writing, in an academic setting, used to illustrate a student's comprehension of course material or a particular subject.


The Term Paper Process

The process usually requires the planning for the following attributes:

  1. Select the topic
  2. Researching over the topic (Reviewing the available literature)
  3. Preparation of term paper outline
  4. Write the proposal sample (Abstract)
  5. Writing the actual report
  6. Preparing the cover page
  7. Edit, referencing, formatting and proofreading of the final copy
  8. Submission procedure
  9. Grading System
  10. Turning into a research paper
let us start all step by step:

Step 1: Selecting the Topic: 

A key skill of the student or the researcher is the ability to develop the right research subject. An instructor or your faculty member can give you a specific topic, but most often, you are expected by instructors to choose your topic of interest. This topic should be in the area of your immense interest, and you think you will be able to find something interesting on it, or you will be able to express your interest in a precise manner. 

Choose the topic you are interested in deeply. This can be done in a group of students to minimize the labor and distribute the work further accordingly in the later stages of report compilation. My advice is to choose the topic as per your expertise, program, course-related, cutting edge, point of current interest, popularity, etc.

As this blog focusses on Forensic Science only, therefore forcefully, I have to discuss it in the context of forensic science only. However, you can use the same strategy for other areas of study as well.

For example: If you are interested in Questioned Document Analysis, you can choose a topic in handwriting analysis, signature analysis, graphology, certain types of frauds, study and significance of class and individual handwriting characteristics, use to technology in questioned document analysis, and so on.

Similarly, if you are interested in other subjects, kindly research the current trends, see the available facilities in your college/university to complete the topic, take care of the sampling (whether you will be able to collect the samples easily or require permissions), how much time your analysis will take, whether the instructor in the particular area is available at your college, or you need to outsource your instructor and facilities.

Keeping everything in mind as mentioned above, hopefully you will be able to select your topic accurately.

Step 2: Research over your topic

Once you have selected the appropriate topic, now it is time to conduct a pre-research on the same. There are several chances that many pieces of research have already been done on the same or a similar topic; hence, it is very much required to do research on the same topic to keep your work unobvious than the others. This pre-research will become your literature review in the later stages of the research report. By this you will also be able to encounter new things in that particular area, you will be able to create more appropriate hypothesis of your work, will be able to state the problem correctly and precisely. There are number of ways you can do such research:

a. By simply typing the keywords relating to your research on the google.
b. By searching for the pdf files for the related topics on google. This will give you direct link to the research articles in that area.
c. There are several research finding portals, that can be very useful for this purpose.
d. Look for the journals in your area of interest and browse to their free articles available.

As soon as your are done with your review, make a copy of all the abstracts collected along with their publication details and references. This will be used later for indexing and citing them in your research.

Step 3: Preparation of Term Paper Outline

To guide the course of the writing process as a whole, a term paper outline is used as a roadmap. Usually, outlines are made to the writer's advantage to help them stay on track. That said, there may be occasions when a professor asks you to apply an outline before beginning your term paper, and it's wise to start it with an outline rather than a term paper introduction.
Keeping the above paper example in mind, most term papers will follow the same basic outline.
  • IntroductionThis is the assertion of the overall purpose or thesis. It is used to familiarize anyone with the point being discussed reading the paper.
  • Body: This section is typically divided into multiple headings and subheadings, each linked with various components of the topic.

a. Brief history of the topic or the point of interest

 b. Extent of the problem being explored

c. Brief of the previously done work

d. Effects of the problem being explored

e. Summary of all of the points made and a response to the thesis statement (Brief about your work)

The body of the term paper or research will also discuss about the methodology (analysis) you are going to employ in your work, results, discussions, statistical parameters and outcomes.

Step 4: Write the Proposal Sample (Abstract)

A good "Abstract" should be straight to the point; not too lengthy but absolutely detailed, First paragraph should state what has been achieved with regard to the goals.The abstract must not be a complete summary of the term paper, but a concise summary of the term paper's scope and results. This can be done even prior to anything, so that your instructor can throw a deep light on to the work and how to go about it? Also, this will help you to frame your work in a timely manner with the available facilities and tools at your organization. 
You're able to express your own view, claim, or statement now that you understand what you've been asked to do, have selected a subject that suits the task, and have planned and arranged your work. Even if you argue for or against anything, you need a conclusion from your journal. A thesis is a short statement that you put forward for your readers as a researcher and writer.

Step 5: Writing the actual report

Now this is the main body of your research paper/term paper or dissertation. This should include:

Chapters like : Introduction, Review of Literature, Materials and Methods, Sample Analysis, Results and Discussions, and Conclusion. At the last you will include the bibliography or references. These chapters will include further descriptive matter with headings and subheading in your work. A brief format has been described below for your reference, however, it may change as per the requirement of your work and the organization:


Language
English (unless other wise specified in the course curriculum)

Paper size
A4

Margins
The text of the document must be justified. The left and right margin of 1.25 inches. The top and bottom margin of 1.00 inch. You may also choose the margins as per the format of the journal you are submitting your article. Take advantage of the previous sample formats.
.
Font and Typing
Most of the time the universities or the journals prefer Times new roman 12 or Arial 10. The headings are usually bold and centered. The text will follow line spacing of 1.5 lines (unless mentioned specifically by your instructor). Table and figures, tabular material as necessary and appendix material as appropriate may be single space. Tables are usually with font size 10 or 8. Centered material is to be centered between the left and right margins. The first line of all paragraphs of running text will be indented 0.5inches. Any new paragraph must be followed by a tab. Each chapter should start from a new page.

Pages
Each page must be numbered, except the Title Page. The pre pages like Acknowledgement, Certificate, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures and Abstract (if any) —will be numbered with lower-case Roman numerals(ii, iii, iv, etc.). The page numbers are usually placed in the upper right-hand corner of the page, right aligned.

Arrangement of Contents
Your contents should be as follows:
1.     Title page
2.     Declaration
3.     Acknowledgement(s)
4.     Table of Contents
5.     List of Tables (If Applicable)
6.     List of Figures (If Applicable)
7.     Abstract
8.     Text (divided into Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results and Discussion, Conclusions and Future Scope wherever applicable) 
9.  References



Referencing Style
  • Use APA (American Psychological Association) term paper format for social sciences. To reference a book in an APA style term paper, the author’s name, the book’s title, the year of publication, the publisher and its location are needed. So make sure to take note of this during your research.
  • The MLA (Modern Language Association) format is most commonly used in liberal arts and humanities. The publication name, date, and location are needed in this format as well.
Examples:

Emmanuel J. Candès David L. Donoho, “New Tight Frames of Curvelets and Optimal Representations of Objects with C2 Singularities”,Comm. Pure Appl. Math.57 , 219-    266,(2002)

For book:
 Slater, L.J., Generalised Hypergeometric Series, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1966).



Step 6: Cover Page

You may wonder why your academic paper plays a major role on the cover page and how it can impact your final degree. A correctly formatted cover page, however, demonstrates how diligent and responsible you are in planning for a mission.

The cover page for term paper usually consists of:
  1. Topic/Title of the paper or the research
  2. Name of the course/programme
  3. Organization/University/College logo (with due permissions)
  4. Name of the author/authors (in case of group paper)
  5. Name of the professor/supervisor/Instructor
  6. Year of Submission ( your study batch)
  7. Date of submission (if applicable)

Step 7: Edit, referencing, formatting and proofreading of the final copy

Many parameters have already been discussed in the previous section 5 of this article. However, for proper editing and grammatical errors you can use the free softwares or paid versions of Grammarly, Grammar Checker, and others. The most important thing to keep in mind the Plagiarism part. Plagiarism should be avoided as it can lead to serious legal implications later on. You should properly paraphrase your sentences, write them in your own words and sentences, take help from your supervisor, and properly cite them from place to place.

It is usually mandatory that each report shall be checked for plagiarism through Turnitin or similar software before submission. Also, ask your supervisor to do the same for you, as if it goes to repository of the software, then it will always show 100 % plagiarism even though your work is not plagiarized. The content which is based on existing published work must come from properly quoted material and from the references cited section. Most of the organizations, allows an upper limit of 15% for plagiarism. Please do check with yours. 

Step 8 & 9 (Submission & Grading) completely depends upon your organization or journal policies. Some of them prefer online submissions through turnitin or similar software, others prefers through official emails, hard copies etc. Take the one best suits for your organization.


Step 10: Turning your Term Paper or Project to Research Paper

A good term paper with clear objectives and analysis can easily be converted in to a research paper by using following simple steps:

a. Brief all the chapters as much as possible to make a research paper extending from 5 to 10 pages including everything.
b. Follow the guidelines of formatting of the journal you are intended to submit your paper into.
c. Select only few samples to showcase your work in research.
d. Use proper statistics (if required) and with explanations
e. Results must be brief and unto the point 
f. Frame the conclusion very catchy and self explanatory.
g. Follow the referencing style of the journals
h. Take help from your supervisor 😊😊


Samples of Acknowledgements, Certificates and Declarations:

Acknowledgement:

[ Foundation Title, Supervisor ] funded this research / term paper / project / dissertation. We would like to thank our colleagues from [ Name of the supporting agency, student groups and staff ] who offered insight and experience that helped the study greatly.
We would like to thank [ Name Surname, title ] for help with [ special technique, methodology ] and [ Name Surname, place, institution name ] for comments that improved the manuscript considerably.
We would also like to express our gratitude to the (name Surname, title, institution) for sharing their expertise with us during this study. We also thank (List names and positions) for their input on an earlier version of the manuscript, although any mistakes are solely ours.

DECLARATION:

I, (name of the student), student of (Programme/course/University/Organization) hereby declare that the Project Report/ Term Paper / Summer Internship / Dissertation  titled “ (Title of the manuscript)” Which is submitted by me to Department of (Name of the organization with specific affiliated department) in partial fulfillment of requirement for the award of the degree of (Programme/course), has not been previously formed the basis for the award of any degree, diploma or other similar title or recognition.

Place


Date
Name and Signature of student



CERTIFICATE:
On the basis of declaration submitted by (name of the student), student of (programme and university or organization/institution), I hereby certify that the Term Paper / Major Project / Dissertation  titled “(Title of the manuscript).” which is submitted to Department of (department with affiliations), in partial fulfillment of requirement for the award of the degree of (Programme/Course), is an original contribution with existing knowledge and faithful record of work carried out by him/them under my guidance and supervision.

To the best of my knowledge this work has not been submitted in part or full for nay Degree or Diploma to this University or elsewhere.



Place


Date
(Guide)

Department of …………..………..

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