Sociology Term Paper Writing Help
During your career as an undergraduate, you may have to write a mid-term and a final paper each semester for your courses. These are getting more popular than the gigantic test at the end of the semester because your professors want to know how and why you think the way you do about the issues. After all, anyone can cram information into his or her skulls two days before the test. Unfortunately, these projects often hang over the heads of students like a sword of Damocles because they simply do not want to do anything about it until the night before it is due. Since these papers are usually 8-12 pages in length, you usually want to start thinking about what you are going to write as well as looking for sources at least two weeks ahead of time. Your professor may assign you a topic, or give you a list of topics to choose from, so you do not usually have the task of figuring out what to write.
Locating Source Material
Good research does not happen in a vacuum, thus it is very important that you choose reliable sources for your paper. At this point in your academic career, you know an open-source online encyclopedia such as Wikipedia (or answers.com) is not acceptable. The best places to look are academic databases such as JSTOR and Sage Publications for peer-reviewed journal articles—these databases have a great deal of information for students in the social sciences. Your university library also has a wealth of knowledge. Most professors would prefer that you restrict your source-findings to these media. However, if there are news articles, movies or unpublished dissertations relevant to your research, then it may be wise to include them as well. After choosing a research topic, you want to gather and review the relevant source material. It is only after this step that it is possible to flesh out a thesis statement. Your professor will most likely distribute a list of acceptable and unacceptable sources.
Forming a Thesis Statement
The term paper has a logical structure. You introduce the problem and your thesis statement in your first paragraph. (e.g., Men commit more crimes than women). Subsequent paragraphs address a main reason (along with a few sub-reasons) why this is so. At any rate, your thesis statement is the pinnacle of your paper (the one thing everyone looks to) while the rest must support this metaphorical glimmering statue. The positive about a term paper is that it allows for sub-headings so you can keep yourself on task. Beware of the digression and the contradiction—no matter how compelling your thesis statement may be, any forays into the wastelands of irrelevance and contradiction will lose you points and if you lose your thread entirely, you may not get a passing grade. That is why an outline is extremely important: it will keep you on task, gently reminding you to stick to the point. Make the outline as long as you want, as it is easier to cut out the odd paragraph than it is to add more substance. Once you have a working bibliography, a thesis statement, and an outline you have everything you need to write the rough draft, which you can do within three days, as term papers are of moderate length.
Revisions and Producing the Final Draft
The term paper(s) can easily be worth anything from 25-50% of your grade, which means you want to present the most polished work possible. Your professor will judge you by your writing, so do not expect to submit what you wrote in 12 hours while hooked up to an espresso IV. No matter how inspired, your first draft will have grammatical errors, sentence structure issues, and a general lack of flow you do not want anyone else to see. Of course, this means breaking out the evil red pen and being ruthless with the paper. After a while, you will have trouble finding more mistakes because you are too accustomed to your own writing. If possible, have a fresh pair of eyes glance at the document because, more likely than not, you are too invested in your own work to cut out a brilliant, but useless turn of phrase. Sometimes, you can get a fantastic paper the first time. Unfortunately, that is like winning a prize in the state lottery—only a 1 in 20 chance.
The number of references may vary for your term paper, depending on how comprehensive it is. As a rule of thumb, you may like to have about 2-3 references per written page. For example, with a ten-page essay, you might want 20-30 sources. However, sometimes you require more and other times less (i.e. a book review on workers making minimum wage). Unlike journals, your teachers do not expect you to cite every writer that had research or an opinion on a certain subject—only those that directly contributed to the final paper. Your professor will most likely ask that you complete the paper in APA as the author-date citation style is generally more favored by social scientists than the author-work style of MLA. To make sure that all in-text references and the bibliography are properly formatted, consult the latest style-guide, which is available at the local library, bookstore, or Amazon.com.