Writing a seminar paper can be quite challenging, especially when you are doing it for the first time. However, it is not as hard as it seems and today we will teach you how to write seminar paper. All you need is time and effort!
What is seminar and what are seminar papers?
Let’s start with establishing what a seminar is. A seminar can have different meanings, depending on the country. But to generalize, it is an academic instruction that usually occurs at an academic institution. The main purpose of a seminar is to bring together groups of people for meetings and to focus on a particular subject.
During the seminar, people may conduct debates, discuss various readings, etc. Usually, the seminar is in the form of a Socratic dialogue. For those of you who don’t know, it is a form of a cooperative dialogue between people. They have to ask and answer various questions to stimulate critical thinking. This helps with creating new ideas and learning how to “ask the right questions.”
As we told you before, seminars have different meanings in different countries. For example, in countries such as Poland, Germany, and Slovenia, a seminar is a university class that includes a paper or a project. At universities in North America, the seminar is an intense course that is directly related to the student’s major. Also, a seminar is required for graduation at the university.
What is a seminar paper? A seminar paper, on the other hand, is a work of your original research on a specific thesis. The seminar paper is presented during the seminar. Some places may have their guidelines for a seminar paper. However, the process of writing a seminar paper and the format is the same.
How to write a seminar paper?
There are some things that you will need to do before starting to work on your seminar paper.
You may have written research papers in the past. They are quite similar, but there are also some things that differ a seminar paper from a research paper. For example:
- You will need to have an argument that will contribute to the existent studies on your subject. It has to be original.
- You will need to do a lot of research to support your argument.
- You will also need to make extensive footnotes and endnotes to your seminar paper. Surely, they will depend on the documentation style.
Remember, that you will need to clarify all the details of your assignment. If you have any doubts, it’s better to ask right away. As soon as you get the guidelines for the paper read them carefully and make sure that you understand everything. Also, it is a good idea to ask your professor about the documentation style - make sure to use the style he prefers. Remember - you need to write a good seminar paper, so don’t be ashamed to ask questions. You don’t want to get a bad grade, right?
When you know what you need to write about, you can start working on your seminar paper.
Create a plan
Remember, that a seminar paper needs to have an extensive research, original analysis and excellent writing, which is obvious. All of this will be expected from you, so you need to start early. Don’t wait until there are only a few days left. Don’t think that you have enough time - there is no such thing as “enough time” when it comes to a seminar paper.
Think about what you need to do for the seminar paper and try to figure out how much time you will need for each step. It doesn't have to be certain, of course. Plan tasks for each day and do them according to your plan.
You need to generate ideas for your seminar paper. It will take some time, but it is a great way to write a seminar paper. It is easier to write a paper when you already have listed ideas than trying to write a paper right away, without giving it a thought.
You can use the following methods to develop new ideas for your seminar paper:
One of the popular methods. Take a piece of paper and write down the questions “Where? Why? When? Who? What? How?”. Leave about three lines between the questions. Then answer them in as much detail as you can. It will help you to learn more about your research.
Take a piece of paper and write anything that comes to your mind (in regards to your seminar paper, obviously). Write for about 10-12 minutes, without stopping. Then read what you have written. Highlight the useful information and do the exercise again, but at this time use the sentences that you’ve highlighted as a starting point.
The easiest method. List all the good and the bad ideas that come to mind on a piece of paper. Then group the similar ideas and expand your list further. Try to make them original. By writing down everything, you will develop even more ideas that you can use for your seminar paper.
4. The net
Again, take a piece of paper and write a brief explanation of your subject in the middle of the paper. Use only two or three words. Then circle the explanation and draw lines from the circle. Write ideas on the end of the lines. Circle the ideas and draw more lines from them. Do this exercise until you have something to work with (or until you run out of paper).
Question your research
When you have enough ideas, think about a question that will help you to guide your research. It means that you will need to answer the question with your research. The question should be simple and focused on your theme. But don’t make it too specific, because it will be difficult to find the information on the subject. However, you can always make your question a bit narrower if you are getting too much information.
Start your research
The next step is to start your research. What do you need to do? You will need a lot of sources, and they should differ from each other. The more sources, the better - it will help you to make sure that the information is correct. Use library databases, read journals, newspaper articles, and books. They will give you enough information to work with.
Important note: It will be complicated to start, so do some background research before going deeper into your theme.
Remember to use the sources that are trustworthy. That’s why you should use the database of your library. There are things that you should take into consideration to check if the source is trustworthy:
1. Publication Date. The information needs to be updated, especially if your research is on scientific subjects or technology.
2. Citations. Check if the author provided sources. If there is only a few or no sources, then it’s better not to use this work.
3. Author’s credentials. Make sure that the source you’ve chosen to work with, has the author’s credentials. Why is the author qualified to talk about the subject?
4. Check the information. The last thing you need to do is to check the information in the source with a trustworthy source.
When you’ve gathered the sources, read them carefully for a few times and make sure that you understand everything. Take your time. If you have any questions, ask your professor. Also, make copies of your sources and then highlight any significant information that you need. If you are not allowed to make copies, then take notes while reading the resources.
Important note: If you are quoting the source word for word then make sure that you are citing the source properly. Remember that plagiarism may result in failing your paper. It’s easy to cite the author so don’t forget about it!
Draft your paper
It is time to write your paper! Divide the process into parts to make it easier.
Write the thesis
You have ideas, you noted the sources, and now it is time to do the work that is directly related to writing the paper. The first thing you need to do is to write the thesis to your seminar paper. You need to remember a couple of things about the thesis:
1. It has to be effective and express your argument.
2. It has to present an original perspective.
Write the introduction
Remember that people are going to read your paper and it has to be interesting from the beginning. Don’t write things that are not related to your topic. Start right away with establishing your position. Think about what are you going to write further on your paper and think about things that you should write in the introduction. For example, you can write an interesting fact related to your study.
Important note: Your introduction is a kind of a review to the rest of your paper. The main idea should be understood right away.
Write the main part
When your thesis and introduction are ready, you can go to writing the seminar paper. It is a good idea to write a rough outline of your paper. It will help you to organize all the information that you’ve read and gathered. Divide the outline by subsections.
The best way to write the paper is by thinking that your readers don’t know anything about your theme. They need to understand everything, so provide them with necessary background information. Also, a good paper is an organized paper. Divide the paper into paragraphs and structurize them. Remember, that each paragraph should have a claim at the beginning, the support of the claim with at least one or two examples from the sources. Cover everything in detail.
Important note: Remember about heading and sub headings and don’t be afraid to use them. It will help you to organize your paper, and it will help your readers to follow your thoughts.
Write the conclusion
Don’t forget about the conclusion at the end of your paper. The conclusion has to be interesting and helpful. In order to achieve this, you can use the following tips:
1. Explain why your topic deserves the attention of the readers. Will it affect them somehow? Why should they consider your topic important or helpful?
2. Synthesize everything you mentioned before. It will also help you, readers, to understand what exactly you wanted to say in your seminar paper.
Write the references
Cite all the resources that you’ve used and make sure that you are doing it properly. Don’t forget anything!
Revise the paper
When you’ve finally finished the paper, it is time to revise it. First, you need to revise it right away and check for any mistakes. Perhaps you will want to add or take away something. Remember that you will need a few days to revise your paper, so when you have the plan to finish your paper for a week before the due date.
Take a break for a few days after you finished the paper. Then go back to it and recheck it. Make sure to revise the paper before printing it out. When revising is done, proofread the paper. Check your grammar, punctuation and read the paper out loud. Ask your friends or relatives to read it.
Revise everything, take your time. When you are sure that there are no mistakes, print the final copy.
There you have it - now you know how to write a seminar paper. The preparing for writing the paper will take a lot of time, but better safe than sorry. Good luck with your seminar papers!
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