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How to write a term paper? - Part III

3. Write a first draft.

After you selected appropriate topic and found the sources, the next step is the actual writing of the rough draft.

What style of writing should you use? Mainly, it should be formal and scholarly. There should be nothing remotely chatty or chummy about it. Neither should the paper be overloaded with whimsy, sarcasm, or cynicism as you take up opposing viewpoints. You shouldn't reflect the attitude that you thinks yourself superior in intellect. Nor should go to the opposite syrupy humility ("Although I'm only a novice in?" or "I did not understand all that I read but, ?"). Don't overdo enthusiasm ("What a poet Heine is!!!!!" or "Never have I enjoyed things so much as in reading what the Marquis said of him in his review"). Use a kind of quiet and measured dignity in your writing.

The paper's vocabulary will depend on the kind your instructor prefers in the classroom. A teacher might like to see a kind of basic vocabulary in your paper. Don't forget that great ideas often have been conveyed by simple words.

Try to keep from mentioning yourself in the paper. If you find you must do so, use the third person as in the formal "this student saw that?" or "this researcher determined that?"

One important bit of phraseology that would be well to include is what might be called the "scientific hedge" of "it seems," "it appears" or derivations of these two expressions. Mathematics and science are said to be far more exact than, say, history, literature, and other fields where many conclusions are possible on the same thing. Yet even if a scientist has an experiment come out the same way 99 times out of 100, he still qualifies his findings by using the preface of "it would seem" or "it appears that?"

When you actually get into the term paper, you'll have to have an introduction to indicate the subject and its scope. This is the place in a page or so to mention all the major aspects you will cover in the paper. If you like, you might also mention what areas will not be included.

Some like to leave the introduction and the ending until they are finished with the body of the term paper. The advantage is clear. They'll know exactly what's in the paper and can write an appropriate preface and ending. If you are well organized, though, you'll know what you are going to include in the paper and can set it out in either the introduction or summary.