This will make your life easier. If you need to write a seminar paper and all you see is this big mass of work ahead, just take a minute’s time, read this, and you’ll see that it’s actually easier than you might think now. Also, your professors will probably not like what stands here, but, hey, they won’t notice if you apply it.
Google a few books which cover your subject. Then go to the library and take the first one from the list. Don’t go in deep, just check if it’s really covering your subject. Then take the literature list from the book (usually in the last section) and get the books which stand there, but only take the ones which have your subject in the title (or as many as there are in the library). Don’t worry if some of them are not available. Go through the literature lists of these books again. Do this three or four times and write down the books which come up often. Those are the ones you are interested in. You will now have about twenty books. Now browse through those and sort the ones out which do, after all, not cover your subject that much. In the end, you should be left with around ten books. Good start. All this will take you two hours.
A research paper always has the same structure:
- Theoretical background
Now take each one of these sections and make subsections. Go with a presumed structure. You will most probably change it again. The important thing is, break the whole paper down into sections which, in the end, will cover about a page or even half a page. Now you have slots and can start to fill them. It’s much easier, because you can concentrate on one thing at a time and you don’t need to have the whole paper in mind.
The Actual Writing
The introduction usually covers what you will do in the paper. Leave the introduction until the end of the work. Then write down what you have done but in a way which gives the impression that you have written this before you have actually done it. Don’t say what you are not going to do. This will become clear anyway. If you deliberately leave out a subject which you feel should be part of the paper, then this is the only case you should give reasons why you do it.
The aim covers what you want do in the paper. It’s good to start with this, because it doesn’t matter if you will actually fulfil what you aim for. If you won’t you will be allowed to say so. The aim will be something like “In this paper I want to…”
The theoretical background is the hardest part. Here you take the literature and tell the reader that you know what others have said about your subject before you.
The research connects the theoretical background with your aim. It’s a bit of work to, but you are actually quite free here.
The conclusion basically says the same thing the introduction does, but in past tense. You also reflect on what you have been able to prove and what not.
That’s about it.
Some Tipps and Tricks
- The hardest part of all is getting started. Just do so. And don’t worry, if the first things you write are not the best. That is why it’s a good thing to start with the aim. Because it’s the easiest part.
- Try to use a similar structure in each paragraph: introductory sentence, which says what you will do in this paragraph, the actual content, and a conclusion sentence, which says what you have done in the paragraph. Needs lots of space.
- Make lots of titles and subtitles. They need lots of space. And: most professors care about line height and font size of the actual text, but not of the titles. And in addition, it will help you in structuring the actual writing.
- If your paper is too short, browse for paragraphs of which the last line is almost complete. Fill in a word somewhere, and you’ll get an extra line. If you do this in the whole of the paper, you will be able to generate an extra page for each ten pages.
If you stick to these rules, you will be done in no time.