Top Tips for Tutors to Produce Grade “A” Academic and Term Papers
The terms “academic paper” and “term paper” are often applied interchangeably. However, despite the existence of a vast overlap between the two, the terms do not absolutely express similar meaning. An academic paper, also referred to as “research paper” or “scholarly paper” implying an academic written assignment or review emanating from a research-based project, which may extend over days, moths, weeks or years. Nevertheless, most academic papers tend to undergo vigorous scrutiny, “peer-review” by a panel of experts from the same discipline for endorsement and eventual publication in reputable journals. In a nutshell, the key components examined in “academic paper” entails; the relevancy of the title, abstract and key words; the background information to the subject issue; key questions to be answered in relation to the issue; insights emanating from literature reviewed; elaborate theoretical display; relevant and logical methodology applied; findings, discussion, and evidence-based recommendations exuding proposed solutions, and issues requiring further research. Also, the solution must be provided to restate the key elements in summarized form.
On the other hand, a “term paper” implies a research-oriented project that a university or college student will be required to undertake to completion, following content analysis of myriad of literature and/or publications in relation to a specific subject studied over a predetermined “term” or “semester” as part of student’s course. Hence, the “term paper” is graded to contribute to overall student’s scores, and it is meant to inculcate the research skills, and accord the learner a chance to express his or her analytical ability, critical and objective thoughts, evidence-based findings, as well as writing and reporting skills based on instructions and resources considered.
I therefore posit that, “term paper” is a means to an end in producing qualified writers of “academic paper” and though the latter does not involve students alone, students can still be engaged in writing both the “term paper” and “academic paper”. How then can tutors help them to produce “A” grade academic paper and term paper?
Though the subject of grading has for long been debatable among scholars, with critics arguing that the allocated grades by learning institutions tend not to reflect the empirical ability of graduates, it is still inevitable and rampantly applied in ranking the students. Hence, for tutors to produce credible “A” graded papers, they must set both the long-term and short-term performance-based objectives and task-based objectives. The performance-based goals must pre-set the scores to be attained but should focus more on input rather than on output. Nonetheless, task-based objectives must be prioritized to expose and acquaint learners to various tasks involved in the production of both the academic and term papers for excellent finality. In tandem, the following tips can be instrumental for tutor to produce best graded papers:
- In-depth training on research process skills which is crucial in production of scientific and evidence-based academic and term papers. Tutors must instill into students adequate knowledge on: identification of research issues/problems; formation of relevant research title; undertaking of literature review; proper analysis of theories and concepts; setting of “best fit” research questions or hypotheses; developing relevant and logical research methodology; proper analysis of data or information gathered; logical display of findings, respective interpretation, objective discussion corroborated by other studies, eliciting evidence-based opinions and recommendations, and proper conclusion of research report.
- Adequate training on writing skills in tandem with format of essay writing from brainstorming, development of outline, to contents like; abstract, introduction, thesis statement, body of the essay, conclusion and referencing. Tutors must also focus on proper use of grammar, spelling, voice applied, transitional phrases, paraphrasing, rhyming of ideas, in-text citation, and in a nutshell, ascertain the revisit of “eight parts of speech” and application of “qualities of good writing”. The importance of these skills in producing best graded academic and term papers by students cannot be overemphasized.
- Tutors must impart reading skills to students to enhance in-depth comprehension of instructions attached to the task, and understanding of vast resource materials to be read. Reading skills such as; skimming, scanning, intensive reading, extensive reading, jotting of short notes, summarization, paraphrasing, among others, are vital in the production of “A” graded academic and term papers.
- Tutors must direct students on how to access and gather data from reputable sources. A part from the primary data gathering methods, secondary data can be easily accessed from the Internet-based sources. However, the online data resources are prone to unreliability, none-authenticity, out-datedness, among others. Hence, since tutors are well experienced and conversant with the resources, their guidance is of paramount importance to students. Resources such as, inter alia, government websites, institutional websites, Google Books, Google Scholar, Amazon.com, Questia, ScienceDirect, EBSCO, Emarald, and Ingenta, can be instrumental for gathering of credible data for academic and term papers.
- Other vital tips required include; well-organized tutor-student consultations; review and checking of errors, format, and similarity (plagiarism) of the papers, and subjecting the papers for peer-review by colleagues other than themselves. Students should also be exposed to research or writing ethical conducts, and basic hardware and software skills in information and computer technology, for production of best academic and term papers.
In conclusion, research and writing skills are not only indispensable in the production of best-rated “academic” and “term papers”, but also their primacy in academic paradigm is of great significance. However, excellence in academic writing is inseparable from adherence to agreeable principles and standards of which must be attained. This requires ultimate dedication, adequate knowledge and skills, as well as unwavering self-esteem. As Ray Bradbury put it “Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.”