Writing a Social Work Term Paper
What is a term paper?
A Term Paper often counts towards significant amount of the mark for term. They are usually conducted over a longer period of time than normal essays and tend to involve a longer word count and greater levels of work. For this reason it is vital that you structure the amount of work spent on a Term Paper accordingly. The most common reason for poor Term Papers is from not structuring your workload properly. It is too easy, even for the most responsible students, to put off a Term Paper until at least half the time period has gone by, and there are always some who end up writing it in the last few days and nights before the submission date. If you spend a little time on it each week, the quality of the Term Paper will improve enormously, not only because you are spreading the workload across a longer period, but because even when you are not working on it, you will be thinking about it. Letting ideas mature and be informed by other, sometimes entirely unrelated, pieces of work and reading is an important element of the longer process of writing a Term Paper.
How to write a good term paper
For a good Term Paper you need to first come up with a good title. This title should be easily expressed as a question as this helps focus the subject accordingly. Do not be too general – pitch the title as being something specific that you can really get your teeth into. Beware of the amount of time you may have to devote to researching the paper and make sure that it is a manageable subject.
Researching your term paper
Not every Term Paper requires a lot of academic research and therefore the type of research you will be basing the Term Paper on will vary quite considerably. Often in Social Work a Term Paper will consist of investigating the availability of social services or their efficiency. It will often require you to demonstrate your knowledge through a case study. Do not worry about researching something that is in the mainstream of your subject: it is more advisable to be thorough and solid than attempt to be original. Save the original research for a longer piece of work like a Thesis.
Term Papers often rely on other pieces of research that you may be required to conduct yourself. Be sure to read up on all the methodological and ethical background of what you are doing. If you are constructing a questionnaire, be sure to take your time and get as much advice as possible. Give yourself enough time for inputting the answers and conducting analysis. If you are interviewing, make sure you have enough time for transcribing the interviews. Do not bite off too much, and remember that even what looks like a small amount of individual research can prove immensely time consuming.
Planning your term paper
Remember to plan your Term Paper very thoroughly. This can be a difficult process and often you will want to get straight on with the writing. However, much of the thought process that goes into your final Term Paper should be given over to the plans. Give yourself a rough idea of the structure and what each paragraph should be about. This can be more general than a basic essay but should give the skeleton of the final work, which you can then flesh out when writing.
Write sooner rather than later. Even if you feel you need more time it is better to get something down than to wait until the last minute. A Term Paper can go through several drafts before it is finished, so be prepared to write much more than you need. It is far easier to make something fit the word count when it is over the limit than add words; this often can result in waffle.
Make sure the presentation style is adhered to rigorously. It is very important to reference appropriately. Proofread your work several times before handing it in as mistakes can creep in. If you have kind friends it might be helpful to have them proofread it too, as you can miss mistakes through familiarity with your writing and sometimes you can subconsciously correct your work when reading.
Remember: timetable your work well; write sooner than later; and make sure the content is well structured and flows and your Term Paper will be much more likely to be successful.
Social Work Resources