When you are first faced with the task of writing a long essay or term paper it can be intimidating, but you make your job and the reader’s job much easier by following some basic rules of thumb.
Of course, if your professors offer you any specific guidelines about writing be sure to follow those first.
The first excerpt is from a paper on the generic nature of America’s highway exit ramp services; the second is from a paper on shape constancy. Our eyes often receive pictures of the world that are contrary to physical reality. Normally you will not devote a separate section of the paper to this; in fact, often the thesis or objective is conveniently located either right at the beginning or right at the end of the Introduction.
The observation struck me slowly, a growing sense of déjà vu. A pencil in a glass of water miraculously bends; railroad tracks converge in the distance. A good thesis statement fits only the paper in which it appears. ." Instead, concretely announce the most important elements of your topic and suggest your fundamental approach—even point us toward the paper’s conclusion if you can.
As you write your conclusion, concentrate on presenting the bottom line, and think of the word’s definition: a conclusion is an articulated conviction arrived at on the basis of the evidence you have presented.
What follows is an excerpt from a conclusion to a paper entitled "Exercise in the Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis in Women." Note how the conclusion reflects directly on the paper’s hypothesis and spells out the bottom line, gracefully bringing closure to the paper’s argument: The majority of evidence presented in this paper supports the hypothesis that exercise positively affects bone mineral density in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
Otherwise, incorporate the advice that follows into your papers wherever appropriate.
Here are some excellent websites for further advice about writing term papers: "Term Paper Guidelines" article from Lock Haven University "How to Write Academic Term Papers" article from Of course, papers should always be typed, double-spaced on 8-1/2 x 11 paper on one side of the page only, and letter-quality print or better is always expected.
Most importantly, then, you must use your section headings in the same way that you use topic sentences or thesis statements: to control, limit, and organize your thinking for your reader’s sake.
Most papers use "Conclusion" as a heading for the final section of the text, although there are times when headings such as "Future Trends" will serve equally well for a paper’s closing section.