HOW TO WRITE A TERM PAPER by Elizabeth & Carol Barkin James


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The average junior high school student, and many a senior high school student and non-student, would do well to read and heed this sensible, informal guide. This is no dry introduction to library catalogues and footnote forms, though these are noted. In addition to setting forth the proper outline form for those who need it, James and Barkin also explain convincingly why an outline is necessary and how the summary sentence should determine its form. (""If you can't write a summary sentence for the paper, you haven't thought things through well enough yet."") Then they give not one but two sample outlines: a not-so-good one that conforms to the general requirements for an outline, then a revised one that is clearly more useful. They deal with the pesky mechanical details of arranging notes and ideas (take notes on one side of the paper only, so you can spread them all out later) as well as more general problems of organization: ""Starting out with a list of questions to be answered is a good way to focus your research""; but ""There's no law that says you can't shift the emphasis or revise your original concept"" if your research takes you in an unplanned direction. ""The idea is to use the information you find."" For high-powered research, even at the junior high level, James and Barkin have their limitations: Suggesting Time, Newsweek, and the U.S. News & World Report as sources on the Gang of Four won't inspire much of a paper. But writers at any level can benefit from their pragmatic, hand-holding guidance--such as the suggestion to leave time between note-taking and writing for the facts to percolate and fall into place. From the number one question--""How can you be original when everything you've learned on your topic comes from books written by other people?""--they seem to understand just what hangups and stumbling blocks the kids are facing.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1980
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard