This Issue: Pungo River | Flying High | A Quiet Retreat | Term Papers | Student Author
Fall 2006

Making Term Paper Projects Meaningful and Fun

by Kwasi Sarkodie-Mensah

  1. Choose a topic you are interested in unless your professor wants you to write about something specific. An interesting/useful topic will help you in the long run.
  2. Don’t choose a topic that is too broad. Topics like cancer, sports, and politics will require a lifetime to complete. Expanded Academic ASAP and a few other databases can help you narrow down your topics. Do a subject search on a broad topic and see the various subdivisions.
  3. Start writing as early as possible. Procrastination can only increase the level of frustration, and take away the fun and learning component of your research project.
  4. Make use of the readily available library resources to locate information on your topic. Quest—the BC Libraries’ catalog will help you find books, media materials, and government information. Use NetLibrary to find full text books, and online databases to locate articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals. Check with a librarian to see what useful internet resources you can find.
  5. Before using materials for your project be sure to evaluate what you find—both from library and internet resources. Not everything you come across will be relevant or necessarily useful.
  6. Start an outline for your paper. The Writer’s Resources link and other tools from the Connors Family Learning Center will guide you in this process.
  7. Write your paper.
  8. Revise the paper by asking others for feedback. You may also submit your paper to OWL—the Online Writing Lab to receive online feedback from the staff of the Connors Family Learning Center.
  9. Use a standard format for your bibliography. Find out from your professor what format—MLA, APA, Turabian, Chicago, etc. you should use. You can do the formatting manually, or by using RefWorks to assist you. RefWorks is an online bibliographic tool.
  10. Remember that library staff people are always willing to assist you. Please do not hesitate to “Ask a Librarian 24/7”. We are here to assist you in person, by phone, e-mail, or live in a chat room.

Kwasi Sarkodi-Mensah is the Manager for Instructional Services in the Reference & Instructional Services Department of O’Neill Library