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Points to Remember While Writing a Perfect Term Paper

Before you start --writing in fact before you get very far gathering information-- you must decide two things:

What your paper is about (the topic);
For whom it is written (the audience).

Normally, the audience of a scholarly paper consists of people familiar with the general area but not with the specific topic. For instance, if you are writing about implementation of a numerical equation solver in Prolog, you can assume a passing acquaintance with numerical methods and with Prolog.
To a considerable extent, the choice of audience is up to you. But once you have made it, stick with it | unless there is a good reason to do otherwise, write all parts of your paper for the same audience.
If you have a hard time visualizing the audience, try writing a paper that you would have understood if someone had given it to you a month ago, before you started researching the topic.
The first paragraph of a paper is the hardest to write, and it's a good idea to try writing it | or at least sketching it- long before you write the rest of the paper. Often, once you compose the first paragraph, the whole paper will fall into place.
You do not need a long introductory section. Many term papers wander around for a few pages before they reach the main point. Don't do this.
If you have an introduction (necessary in a long paper), it should be an overview of the paper itself, not a disquisition on other "background" topics, nor a record of everything you looked at while starting to research the topic.
You do not need a "conclusions" section at the end unless the paper either (1) reports an experiment or survey, or (2) is rather longs (thesis-length or more). When you come to the end of your argument, stop, ending, if possible, on a general point.
When you are explaining anything, ask yourself what the reader wants to know, and make the answers to those questions prominent. (Imagine a FAQ file about your subject; what would be in it?) Don't simply write down all the information you want to present in an arbitrary order (or even in a well-organized order that doesn't put the emphasis on the reader's needs).
You can improve your explanations by getting other people to read your paper and insisting that they tell you whenever they find it obscure. Make sure all of the steps in your logic are clearly presented and that you create a clear image in the reader's mind.
Formal notations (formulas, program listings, etc.) do not speak for themselves.
They must be accompanied by plain-English explanations of how the formula or program contributes to your point.
At the same time, don't try to translate Prolog or algebra into English. When you need listings or formulas, use them.
Divide the paper into sections with section titles. Tell the reader how you are organizing your work:
This section will review previous results. . . There are three important results from earlier work. . . First. . . Second. . . Third. . . " Say "I" if you mean I." That is, do not call yourself the present author" or use other awkward phrases. On the other hand, do not write about your personal experiences when you are supposed to be writing about your subject. Experiments are usually described by saying what was done, not who did it, because it doesn't matter who did it.


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