How to Write a Seminar Paper

How to Write a Seminar Paper

A seminar paper is a work of original research that presents a specific thesis and is introduced to a group of interested peers, usually in an academic setting. Albeit seminar papers have specific purposes and guidelines in some places, such as law school, the general process and format is the same. The steps below will guide you through the research and writing process of how to write a seminar paper and provide tips for developing a well-received paper.

Steps Edit

Part One of Four:
Getting Embarked Edit

Learn the basic features of a seminar paper. A seminar paper is an advanced chunk of research writing, but it shares many of the same features as a regular research paper. Before you begin writing your seminar paper, it is significant to make sure that you understand how a seminar paper differs from a research paper. Unlike a basic research paper, a seminar paper also requires: [1]

  • an argument that makes an original contribution to the existing scholarship on your subject
  • extensive research that supports your argument
  • extensive footnotes or endnotes (depending on the documentation style you are using)

Ask for clarification if needed. While you may have written many papers in the past, it is significant to make sure that you understand the details of your current assignment before you get began. As soon as your professor assigns the paper, read the guidelines cautiously and highlight anything that you do not understand. Ask your professor to clarify the instructions if anything seems unclear or if you just don’t understand the assignment. You may also consider talking to your professor about your intended topic to make sure that you are on the right track. [Two]

  • Make sure that you understand how to cite your sources for the paper and how to use the documentation style your professor chooses.
  • Don’t feel bad if you have questions. It is better to ask and make sure that you understand than to do the assignment wrong and get a bad grade.
  • Plan ahead. Your professor will be expecting original analysis, extensive research, and excellent writing. Therefore, it is significant that you get embarked early and do the best work that you can do. Begin working on the paper as soon as it is assigned and take advantage of your university’s writing center for extra help.

  • Do not attempt to research and write a seminar in just a few days. This type of paper requires extensive research, so you will need to plan ahead. Get commenced as early as possible. [Trio]
  • Generate ideas for your seminar paper. Before you begin writing your paper, you should take some time to explore your ideas and get some things down on paper. As with other types of writing, basic invention activities like listing, freewriting, clustering, and questioning can help you to develop ideas for your seminar paper. [Four]

  • Listing List all of the ideas that you have for your essay (good or bad) and then look over the list you have made and group similar ideas together. Expand those lists by adding more ideas or by using another prewriting activity. [Five]
  • Freewriting Write nonstop for about Ten minutes. Write whatever comes to mind and don’t edit yourself. When you are done, review what you have written and highlight or underline the most useful information. Repeat the freewriting exercise using the passages you underlined as a beginning point. You can repeat this exercise numerous times to proceed to refine and develop your ideas. [6]
  • Clustering Write a brief explanation (phrase or brief sentence) of the subject of your seminar paper on the center of a lump of paper and circle it. Then draw three or more lines extending from the circle. Write a corresponding idea at the end of each of these lines. Proceed developing your cluster until you have explored as many connections as you can. [7]
  • Questioning On a lump of paper, write out “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” Space the questions about two or three lines apart on the paper so that you can write your answers on these lines. React to each question in as much detail as you can. [8]
  • Create a research question to help guide your research. A research question is what you will attempt to response with your research. Creating a research question will help you to stay focused as you research your topic. It can also serve as the kicking off point for your thesis later on. [9]

  • For example, if you dreamed to know more about the uses of religious relics in medieval England, you might begin with something like “How were relics used in medieval England?” The information that you gather on this subject might lead you to develop a thesis about the role or importance of relics in medieval England.
  • Keep your research question ordinary and focused. Just attempt not to make it so focused that it is difficult to find any information on the subject. You can always narrow your question a bit if you are turning up too much information.
  • Collect research for your paper. In order to find support for your argument, you will need to gather information from a multitude of sources. See your assignment guidelines or ask your instructor if you have questions about the types of sources that are adequate for your seminar paper. Books, articles from scholarly journals, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and trustworthy websites are some sources that you might consider using. You might begin by doing some background research and then budge into some more focused research as you learn more about your topic. [Ten]

  • Use your library’s databases rather than a general internet search. University libraries subscribe to many databases. These databases provide you with free access to articles and other resources that you cannot usually build up access to by using a search engine.
  • Evaluate your sources to determine their credibility. It is significant to use only trustworthy sources in a seminar paper, otherwise you will harm your own credibility as an author. Using the library’s databases will also help to ensure that you are getting slew of trustworthy sources for your paper. There are several things that you will need to consider in order to determine whether or not a source is trustworthy. [11]

  • Author’s credentials Choose sources that include an author’s name and that provide credentials for that author. The credentials should indicate something about why this person is qualified to speak as an authority on the subject. For example, an article about a medical condition will be more trustworthy if the author is a medical doctor. If you find a source where no author is listed or the author does not have any credentials, then this source may not be trustworthy. [12]
  • Citations Think about whether or not this author has adequately researched the topic. Check the author’s bibliography or works cited page. If the author has provided few or no sources, then this source may not be trustworthy. [13]
  • Bias Think about whether or not this author has introduced an objective, well-reasoned account of the topic. How often does the tone indicate a strong preference for one side of the argument? How often does the argument dismiss or disregard the opposition’s concerns or valid arguments? If these are regular occurrences in the source, then it may not be a good choice. [14]
  • Publication date Think about whether or not this source presents the most up to date information on the subject. Noting the publication date is especially significant for scientific subjects, since fresh technologies and technics have made some earlier findings irrelevant. [15]
  • Information provided in the source If you are still questioning the trustworthiness of this source, cross check some of the information provided against a trustworthy source. If the information that this author presents contradicts one of your trustworthy sources, then it might not be a good source to use in your paper. [16]
  • Read your research. Once you have gathered all of your sources, you will need to read them. Read your sources very cautiously. Read the sources numerous times if necessary and make sure that you fully understand them. Misunderstanding and misrepresenting your sources can harm your credibility as an author and also have a negative effect on your grade.

  • Give yourself slew of time to read your sources and work to understand what they are telling. Ask your professor for clarification if something is unclear to you.
  • Take notes while you read your sources. Highlight and underline significant passages so that you can lightly come back to them. As you read, you should also pull any significant information from your sources by jotting the information down in a notebook. Indicate when you have quoted a source word for word in your notes by putting it into quotation marks and including information about the source such as the author’s name, article or book title, and page number.

  • Be careful to decently cite your sources when taking notes. Even accidental plagiarism may result in a failing grade on a paper.
  • Write a thesis . Once you have developed your ideas for your seminar paper and read your sources, you should be ready to write your thesis statement. [17] Effective thesis statements express your argument in a clear, direct manner. Reminisce that a thesis should not be more than one sentence in length. [Legitimate]

  • Make sure that your thesis presents an original point of view. Since seminar papers are advanced writing projects, be certain that your thesis presents a perspective that is advanced and original. [Nineteen]
  • For example, if you conducted your research on the uses of relics in medieval England, your thesis might be, “Medieval English religious relics were often used in ways that are more pagan than Christian.”
  • Develop a rough outline based on your research notes. Writing an outline before you begin drafting your seminar paper will help you organize your information more effectively. You can make your outline as detailed or as scant as you want. Just keep in mind that the more detail you include in your outline, the more material you will have ready to put into your paper. [20]

  • Organize your outline by essay part and then break those parts into subsections. For example, part 1 might be your introduction, which could then be cracked into three sub-parts: a)opening sentence, b)context/background information c)thesis statement.
  • Hook your readers from the beginning. Your very first sentence should be interesting enough that your readers will want to know more. Your introduction should also be engaging. Begin discussing your topic right away and help your readers understand your position in the very first paragraph of your paper. Think about what you will discuss in the rest of your paper in order to help you determine what you should include in your introduction. [21]

  • For example, in a paper about medieval relics, you might open with a surprising example of how relics were used or a vivid description of an unusual relic.
  • Keep in mind that your introduction should identify the main idea of your seminar paper and act as a preview to the rest of your paper.
  • Provide relevant background information to guide your readers. Providing adequate background information or context will help to guide your readers through your essay. Think about what your readers will need to know in order to understand the rest of your paper and provide this information in your very first paragraph. Do your readers need to know about the history of your subject? Do they need to know what other scholars have written on the subject? The information your readers will need to know will depend on your subject and the argument you plan to make. [22]

  • For example, in a paper about relics in medieval England, you might want to suggest your readers examples of the types of relics and how they were used. What purpose did they serve? Where were they kept? Who was permitted to have relics? Why did people value relics?
  • Keep in mind that your background information should be used to help your readers understand your point of view. [23]
  • Present your claims and research in an organized style. Rather than attempting to talk about numerous aspects of your topic in a single paragraph, make sure that each bod paragraph concentrates on a single claim or chunk of evidence. Your discussion of each of these separate items should help to prove your thesis. [24] For each assets paragraph, you should do the following:

  • Reminisce to use topic sentences to structure your paragraphs. Provide a claim at the beginning of each paragraph. Then, support your claim with at least one example from one of your sources. Reminisce to discuss each lump of evidence in detail so that your readers will understand the point that you are attempting to make.
  • Consider using headings and/or subheadings to organize your paper. Since seminar papers are often upwards of Ten pages, many writers use headings and/or subheadings to help organize their paper. These headings/subheadings help readers go after your argument by showcasing them what each section is about before they embark reading.

  • For example, in a paper on medieval relics, you might include a heading titled “Uses of Relics” and subheadings titled “Religious Uses”, “Domestic Uses”, “Medical Uses”, etc.
  • Conclude your paper. Concluding a seminar paper can be difficult, especially if you have introduced a long, elaborate argument. There are several ways that you can conclude that will be helpful and interesting to your readers. Before you write your conclusion, spend some time reflecting on what you have written and attempt to determine the most logical way to end your paper. Some possibilities for concluding your paper include:

  • Synthesize what you have discussed. Put everything together for your readers and explain what other lessons might be gained from your argument. How might this discussion switch the way others view your subject?
  • Explain why your topic matters. Help your readers to see why this topic deserve their attention. How does this topic affect your readers? What are the broader implications of this topic? Why does your topic matter?
  • Come back to your opening discussion. If you suggested an anecdote or a quote early in your paper, it might be helpful to revisit that opening discussion and explore how the information you have gathered implicates that discussion. [25]
  • Create your bibliography. Go after your instructor’s directions for making your bibliography. Make sure that you use the correct style and that you have cited all of your sources. Before you finish with your essay, you will need to make sure that you have cited all of your sources. Not citing sources using in-text citations or a works cited page may be considered plagiarism and lead to failure of the paper or even the course. [26]

  • Ask your professor what documentation style he or she chooses that you use if you are not sure.
  • Visit your school’s writing center for extra help with your works cited page and in-text citations.
  • When coming up with a specific thesis, begin by arguing something broad and then little by little grow more specific in the points you want to argue.

    Keep accurate and detailed notes on your sources. If possible, write your paper while still able to look at the sources so that you can ensure that you have accurate quotes and that you are not plagiarizing.

    When conducting original research, it’s always a good idea to treatment your research topic from several angles. Use search terms that might seem illogical at very first and seek out books and papers that are not directly related to your topic. Often, relevant information is buried within otherwise unimportant sources.

    Choose a topic that interests you, rather than something that seems like it will interest others. It is much lighter and more pleasurable to write about something you care about.

    Keep in mind that seminar papers differ by discipline. Albeit most seminar papers share certain features, your discipline may have some requirements or features that are unique. For example, a seminar paper written for a Chemistry course may require you to include original data from your experiments, whereas a seminar paper for an English course may require you to include a literature review. Check with your student handbook or check with your advisor to find out about special features for seminar papers in your program. Make sure that you ask your professor about his/her expectations before you get commenced as well. [30]

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