A term paper is a research paper written by students over an academic term, accounting for a large part of a grade. Term papers are generally intended to describe an event, a concept, or argue a point. It is a written original work discussing a topic in detail, usually several typed pages in length, and is often due at the end of a semester.
There is much overlap between the terms research paper and term paper. A term paper was originally a written assignment (usually a research based paper) that was due at the end of the "term"—either a semester or quarter, depending on which unit of measure a school used. However, not all term papers involve academic research, and not all research papers are term papers.
Term papers date back to the beginning of the 19th century when print could be reproduced cheaply and written texts of all types (reports, memoranda, specifications, and scholarly articles) could be easily produced and disseminated. Moulton and Holmes (2003) write that during the years from 1870 to 1900 "American education was transformed as writing became a method of discourse and research the hallmark of learning."
Russell (1991) writes that in the 1910s, "the research paper began to harden into its familiar form" adding that plagiarism and the sale of research papers both became a problem during this time.
Plagiarism in the computer era
See also: Essay mill
In the present day an entire industry has sprung up to provide plagiarized, pre-written or custom written term papers for students of varying levels of education. There are many websites that sell term papers of all levels of quality and writing proficiency, but are often claimed by academic institutions as seriously undermining the academic integrity of the student. Also, plagiarism can be unknowingly committed by students. Although plagiarism can be unknowingly committed it is quite a few steps that can be taken in order to avoid plagiarism. Some of the steps are quotation marks around the words or sentence that you take from a source. even if you list the source at the end of the paper be sure to mark exactly what sentence was taken from the source. Don't just count summarizing as changing a few words, that is still considered plagiarism. Actually take the time to read the content and summarize the main points of the source to how you understood the material without keeping the wording that was already used the same. Also be sure to always list your sources after putting the quote or summarization and also when providing your works cited.
- ^Moulton, Margaret R. and Holmes, Vicki L (2003) "The Research Paper: A Historical Perspective," Teaching English in the Two Year College 30(4) p.366
- ^Russell, David R. Writing in the Academic Disciplines, 1870–1990: A Curricular History. Southern Illinois University, 1991. p.87-8
- ^"BBC NEWS | Education | Google bans essay writing adverts". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
- ^Crawford, Miki (29 September 2010). "Are You Committing Plagiarism? Top Five Overlooked Citations to Add to Your Course Materials". FacultyFocus.com. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- ^Anne,, Ackley, Katherine. Perspectives on contemporary issues : readings across the disciplines (Eighth edition ed.). Boston. ISBN 9781305969377. OCLC 967940184.
Attending a college, you are sure to write a number of essays and other types of papers. Sometimes it may be difficult to differentiate between the types of the papers. This differentiation is required when one is asked to write a specific type of the paper (either a research paper or a term paper), but it appears a problem for him/her. Why do students need to know the particular type of the paper before writing it? The reason is obvious: each paper type has a specific structure and the purpose. Everything’s clear with an essay, which is defined as a paper devoted to a particular problem and written in accordance with a specific structure: the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. When speaking about a term paper and a research paper, understanding the differences is important in order to understand what should be written in a paper to meet the instructions. Trying to get the main distinguishing features between a research paper and a term paper, it is important to identify the basic common aspects. Both these types of the papers are aimed at showing students’ knowledge and understanding of a particular problem under analysis. The differences are presented below.
“Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing” Wernher von Braun
Here is a list of the points, which make a research paper different from other paper types
- A research paper is devoted to a problem within a specific course. Research papers are usually written to study some specific problem, which has not been covered effectively, which has some little research, or which results are doubtful. A research paper has a specific structure despite the subject. The title page, the table of contents, the introduction / background, the literature review, the methodology, the results, the discussion and the conclusions / recommendations. Each of these sections has specific guidelines for writing. No matter which problem is under research, the structure is the same.
- This type of paper writing requires some time for conducting a research and writing it. There are a lot of different types of research, interview, observation, questionnaire, survey, experiment, etc. Depending on the hypothesis and the purpose of the study, the research may take from a day to even the years.
- A research paper is usually a lengthy piece of writing. Usually research papers start from 10 pages and may be even 100 pages and more. One can rarely meet a research paper less than 10 pages as in this case it is impossible to explain the major points, to discuss the results and to prove the hypothesis.
- A research paper can cover the material studied during different years and laid out in various courses. Writing a research paper on a particular problem may require turning to the particular problems discussed in the past. The materials learned in the past may help in explaining some processes, discussing the background information and analyzing the literature on the issue.
- A term paper, being a part of a course, is usually completed after a specific period of studying. The course is usually divided into terms and themes. Having come to an end of a term, students are usually asked to take a test or to complete another task, which will show how well students have learnt the course material during the discussed time period. The grades for this task usually have a special value in the overall student’s grade.
- A term paper is aimed at checking students’ knowledge after some themes studied. Having completed a specific theme, students may also be asked to take a test, to write an essay, or to complete some task devoted to this particular theme.
- A term paper can be of any nature and structure. Opposing to a research paper with a specific structure, a term paper may be written in a form of an essay, it can have a questions-answers structure, it can be an article, a review, an annotated bibliography, a test, and even a research paper.
- A term paper can be of any length. It can be one page and 20 pages, no matter which topic is used and what type of the task is requested. Overall, each professor should select what kind of task fits better the specific topic which has been studied.
- A term paper involves the material studied during the course. Usually, a term paper covers the theme or the themes studied during the particular time period. The main purpose of such task is to show how well students have understood the material.
To the word, a task in a term paper can be to write a research paper, while it is impossible to have a task in a research paper to write a term paper. These two types of writing are different despite the fact that each student’s task is aimed at checking their knowledge. Educational process is very complicated and requires constant motivation and encouragement from the side of the professors. Students do want to receive new knowledge, but they need to know that this new knowledge is needed in the future. Moreover, some students may need the appreciation of their skills or some additional punishment, which may stimulate them for working harder.
Being aware of the differences between the term papers and the research papers, one may become a better student, improve his/her grades and enlarge the scope of knowledge and skills. Overall, the difference is usually explained by the teacher, but being in the process of studying new information one may miss these points and become frustrated. A term paper and a dissertation have different focus and display various experience of students. Only being aware of the purpose and the structure of the particular task one is sure to complete it successfully. Each student want to receive the highest grades and this article may be in use for those, who strive for higher grades and better knowledge.