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English Resource

This resource is designed to help students and graduates around the world tackle academic college English assignments, even if English is not their native language. Enjoy the abundance of guides, manuals and samples written for ESL students.

Conducting Research For Your Term Paper

First and foremost comes the choice of topic. In some cases the topic is chosen for you but in other cases you, the student, are free to choose the topic subject to the approval of your teacher or tutor. Logic screams at you but if you are able to influence or even select the topic of your term paper, choose something you like. Choose something with which you have experience or better still a passion for. It is much, much easier to research a term paper when the topic is something you like and wish to write about.

It's important to understand the difference between two aspects of research. They are:


Primary research is where you are heading off into what could be called uncharted territory. You are looking for sources of information which relate directly to the topic of your term paper. You can search in a variety of places. Obviously you take relevant notes of information you believe to be helpful and certainly record any quotes you take from this research so that the appropriate citation can be put into practice.

Secondary research is where you look for other term papers or other articles which comment on your chosen topic. This is not so much background information but rather making yourself familiar with what other people have had to say about your chosen topic. Remember you must reach your own conclusion in your term paper but knowing what others have said and what conclusions they have drawn can be very helpful.

Have a plan

There is no way known that you should simply launch into writing your term paper. There is no way known you should simply launch into your research for your term paper. Make a plan. This could involve the timeline. You work backwards. You know when your term paper is due to be handed in. On a calendar work backwards so that you allow a certain period of time for research, a certain period of time for writing a term paper and finally some time to review it and where necessary to polish and edit it.

Only by sticking to this plan can you expect to complete your research, your valuable and worthwhile research, and do so in time so that you will be in the best position to write the best possible term paper. Planning is essential and the better you become at laying out the steps of your research and writing, the better your end product will be.

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