How to write a seminar paper: A helpful step-by-step guide

How to write a seminar paper: A helpful step-by-step guide

Most students find drafting a seminar paper less tedious after conducting well-done research and seeking guidance from reliable sources. This article offers detailed step-by-step directions on how to write a seminar paper, from preparing for research to reviewing the final copy.

How to write a seminar paper
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A seminar paper presents your original research on a specific thesis. A seminar can be a conference or any other meeting for discussion/training. It can also be a university class that includes doing a project/research. In both cases, a group(s) of people/students write a seminar paper about their research topics.

This article covers the following topics about a seminar paper:

  • How to brainstorm about the research topic
  • How to create a plan for your research
  • How to start your research and where to get data
  • How to write a good seminar paper (format)
  • Tips for revising the paper

How to write a seminar paper in Nigeria

Although there are various formats for writing a seminar paper, depending on school and course of study, these formats are not too different from the general format. The steps outlined below will guide you on how to write a good seminar paper:

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1. Brainstorm about the research topic

Your group should generate ideas for the research. Brainstorming takes some time, but it is easier to research after listing ideas than diving into it without giving it much thought. The group can use the following methods to develop ideas for the research:

Write down the questions

Write down the questions for the research on a piece of paper and brainstorm answers. Below are some essential questions researchers should write down and provide answers:

  • What is the topic of research?
  • What do you know now about the topic?
  • What type of research suits the topic (exploratory or confirmatory research)?
  • What do you want to find out, or what is your objective for conducting the research?
  • What type of data do you need (Quantitative or Qualitative)?
  • Where will you get the data (primary and secondary data sources)?
  • What is your target population?
  • How large should your sample population be?
  • How large should your data be?
  • What data analysis method will you use?
  • How long will the research and writing of the seminar paper take?
  • How much will it cost to collect the data, print the document, etc.?
  • What risks or challenges will you face when collecting the data, and how can you overcome them?

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How to write a seminar paper
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Source: UGC

Use the freewriting, net/tree diagram, or lists when answering your questions

To answer the questions using a freewriting style, write anything that comes to your mind for 10-12 minutes. After that, read your answers and highlight useful points. When done, make a summary to help you create a schedule for your research and seminar paper.

When listing ideas on how to do the research and the seminar paper format, list all the good and the bad ideas that come to mind on the paper. After that, select similar ideas and expand your list further. By writing down everything, you will develop even more ideas that you can use for your seminar paper.

The net style requires you to write short answers (two or five words) in the middle of the paper. Circle each idea and draw a line from the circle towards the end of the paper. Draw branches on the line for each new idea you think relates to the main idea. You can also use a tree diagram instead of a net diagram.

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2. Create a plan for your research

Writing a seminar paper requires extensive research, original research, data collection and analysis, and excellent writing skills. Therefore, the group should start their research early instead of doing the workload a few days before the deadline.

Answering the research-related questions you brainstormed will help you plan a schedule for daily or weekly tasks during the research and writing the seminar paper.

Since there is no such thing as “enough time,” cover a section of your research or seminar paper as scheduled to avoid piling work. You will compile everything and write a final copy of your seminar paper at the end of the research.

3. Start your research and where to get data

How to write a seminar paper
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Source: UGC

After brainstorming and creating a schedule for your research, collect the materials and resources you need to do the work. You can use the following data sources, but always ensure your source is authentic and reliable.

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Primary data sources

Primary data sources provide direct or firsthand evidence/information about the topic to enable the researchers to understand what happens in real life. Your primary data sources can be:

  • Oral and written interviews
  • Observations
  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Oral histories
  • Fieldwork

Secondary data sources

Secondary data sources provide data collected by other researchers or any other party. Analyzing such data allows researchers to enhance the quality and accuracy of their insights into their study topic. Most secondary data comes from external organizations, but you can collect it within an organization. Here are some types of secondary data sources:

  • Autobiographies and memoirs
  • Diaries, personal letters, and correspondence
  • Internet (email, blogs, listservs, and newsgroups)
  • Photographs, drawings, and posters
  • Works of art and literature
  • Government archives and databases.
  • Corporate or an organization's archives and databases.
  • Academic research copies and books from libraries

Below are things that can help you establish trustworthy secondary data:

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  • An author is an expert or a well-respected publisher.
  • Citations used in academic research copies are authentic.
  • The writer made an unbiased analysis of the topic.
  • The information is up-to-date.

4. Draft your seminar paper

How to write a seminar paper
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Source: UGC

A university seminar/research paper consists of the following major sections:

  • Cover page
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Data analysis and findings
  • Conclusion and recommendations
  • References
  • Appendices

The best way to write a seminar paper is to draft separate documents for each section and compile the final document later. For instance, write the findings from each data source separately and compile the data analysis and findings section at the end. The approach saves time and relieves you of the workload of writing the entire paper at the end of your research. You can follow the following guide when writing your seminar paper:

Write the cover page

The cover page of the seminar paper contains the topic of research. You should state your topic in the smallest possible number of words, bold it, and move it 3-4 inches down from the top margin.

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Right below the title, write the names of the researchers/students, their student ID numbers, the name of your department and university, and the date of submitting the seminar paper. Do not bold this section.

Write the abstract

The abstract is the overview of your thesis and is generally very short. A thesis is a statement or theory the researcher seeks to prove or maintain. It is usually a brief, direct statement that summarizes the main argument of a research paper. Your thesis should be practical, express your opinion, and present an original perspective.

A thesis statement sample: Community codes of conduct should be mandatory in new developments as they help improve home values, community involvement, and safety.

How to write a seminar paper
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Source: UGC

Write the table of contents

The table of contents shows the structure and elements of the seminar paper. You should insert it right after the abstract when you are done writing the paper. This way, you can reference the right pages for each section. The table of contents must also show the references and appendices page.

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Write the introduction

Your introduction kind of reviews the contents of the entire seminar paper. Therefore, only write the main ideas. Start with why the research topic is important, summarize the background information, state your thesis, and convey your data collection methods. The following questions will help you write a good introduction for your seminar paper:

  • Why is the topic being studied?

Write why the research topic is important. They can be issues you seek to find solutions for through research.

  • How is the topic being studied?

Write the data collection methods you will use to do the research.

  • What is being studied?

Assume your readers need to learn about your research topic and write background information about it for them.

Write your data analysis results and findings

You can write your data analysis results and findings when your abstract and introduction are ready. You should be extremely careful when writing this section because it is the most important part of the seminar paper.

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Outline all facts you learned from the data analysis concerning your research topic. In this section, you do not discuss these facts. Instead, you only state them. Also, you should do in-text citations (using the appropriate citation format) to show secondary data sources you got the facts.

How to write a seminar paper
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Source: UGC

Write your conclusion and recommendations

After writing your data analysis results and findings, write your conclusion and recommendations. The conclusion supports or opposes your thesis statement, while recommendations are alternative solutions a researcher suggests as better ways of solving the problem the research addressed.

Your conclusion and recommendations report should emphasize the ideas presented in the research rather than the data you collected and proof.

For example, when writing a conclusion for the following thesis statement sample:

Community codes of conduct should be mandatory in new developments as they help improve home values, community involvement, and safety.

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The researcher must support or oppose making community codes of conduct mandatory. After that, the researcher should suggest other ways of improving home values, community involvement, and enhance safety without making community codes of conduct mandatory.

Write the references

Create a reference list of the secondary data sources you used in the research. They can be books, journals, magazines, periodicals, websites, eBooks, newspapers, etc. There are various citation formats or styles. Therefore, use the appropriate one for your school or course.

  • The Humanities research papers use the MLA (Modern Language Association) style.
  • APA (American Psychological Association) is used in Education, Psychology, and Sciences research papers.
  • Chicago/Turabian style is used in Business, History, and Fine Arts research papers.

Write the appendices

You place the appendices section after the references page. It contains a list of pictorial data presentation methods you used to present your data analysis results. They can be tables, graphs, maps, etc.

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How to write a seminar paper
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Source: UGC

5. Revise the paper

When you finish writing your seminar paper, revise and proofread it to correct misleading information and grammar mistakes. You can also refine the contents of the paper before printing it out. Ensure you and your supervisor are satisfied before printing the final draft.

What is the difference between a seminar paper and a research paper?

A seminar paper shares many features with a regular research paper but is more advanced than a research paper. Unlike a basic research paper, a seminar paper also requires:

  • An argument that makes an original contribution to the existing scholarship on your subject
  • Vast research that supports your argument
  • Comprehensive footnotes or endnotes (depending on your documentation style).

How do I start writing a seminar paper?

A seminar paper should have the following sections: a cover page, an abstract, a table of contents, an introduction, data analysis & findings, a conclusion & recommendations, a list of references, and appendices. These sections should follow each other systematically, from the cover page to the appendices as listed.

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How do I create a seminar file?

A seminar paper could be anywhere between 12-20 pages. After writing the abstract, introduction, data analysis & findings, and conclusion & recommendations sections insert the cover page above the abstract and table of contents between the abstract and introduction. Insert the references and appendices pages after the conclusion & recommendations. Appendices should be on the last page of your document.

There you have it - now you know how to write a seminar paper. Preparing for the research comes first, followed by the research itself. Writing the seminar paper comes last. Handle these tasks separately because they are time-consuming and require dedication. published an article on how to write a formal letter. You can use your laptop, tablet, or smartphone to compose a formal letter instead of handwriting it. Also, some devices allow you to install apps that can scan your handwriting and transform it into typed text.

However you want to do it, remember to follow the standard rules for writing formal letters. Your letter will only look appealing if you observe formal writing rules.


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