Skip to content

Term Paper On Environment

Environmental Science: A Global Concern, 7/e

William P. Cunningham, University of Minnesota
Mary Ann Cunningham, Vassar College
Barbara Woodworth Saigo, St. Cloud State University

How to Write a Term Paper

1. Coming up with a topic: "YIKES! I have no idea what to write about!!"

  • Daydream. Relax and let your mind wander around the general topic area of your course (Choose an environment that is quiet and peaceful.) Resist the urge to control your thoughts; let them go down any path they choose--that great idea may be just around the corner!
  • Brainstorm. Get together with a friend or two and talk about the assignment. Speak freely without criticism. Follow and build on ideas (no matter how crazy or stupid they may sound) using each other's thoughts. Many winners have come out of what initially seemed like a silly idea.
  • Ask Questions. At the next social gathering, meeting, presentation, etc. you find yourself at, ask an open-ended question about your subject and then listen for a possible paper topic in the conversations that follow.
  • Think "Out of the Box." Take your general subject and turn it on its head. Take it out of context or into a different environment. What pictures or consequences (i.e. ideas!) come to mind?
  • Open Your Eyes and Ears. Use current events to help spark an idea. Listen to a news radio station with point/counterpoint conversations; read several newspapers you normally don't subscribe to; browse through the periodical section of your school's library. What world events are happening that may present an interesting angle for a paper?
  • Try "Clustering." Write your general topic down in the center of a piece of paper. Then start writing (in a word or two) anything that comes to mind even remotely associated to your topic. Scribble words all over the paper. When you've finished, take time to read what you've written and think about the connections.

IMPORTANT: When refining your idea, be specific. You can't write about "The Trees of North America" in just a four or five page paper, but you could address "Commercial Products Derived from the Mighty Oak--Is It Worth the Sacrifice?"

2. Getting Started:"I have an idea, but now what?"

  • Use "Clustering" Again. This time write down your paper title (it's okay to be a bit general at this point-you can refine after your outline is done) in the middle of the page. Again, scribble down anything associated with the topic that comes to mind. When you're finished, go back over the paper and circle in blue ink all related topics, such as everything related to the products made from wood. In red ink, circle other related phrases--this might include how long it takes to grow an oak tree, the rate that oak trees are currently being harvested, or how many trees it takes to make a product. Then use black ink to circle yet another group of words that appear connected--maybe solutions, action steps, congressional addresses, etc.. Continue grouping your words and phrases until all the logical ones are circled. Name the connection for each group and you will have the rough body of an outline for your paper!
  • Try "Free Writing." Another idea for getting started on your paper is to just start writing--anything. Just start putting words down on paper. Don't try to control the sentences; don't worry about grammar; don't even be concerned about it making sense. Just write. Eventually, your ideas will start to flow together and a first draft (albeit rough) will develop.
  • Talk It Out. Once you have an idea for a paper, sometimes just talking, either to a friend or even out loud, about your subject content will jump-start the creative juices. Talk about what you already know about the topic, what you'd like to know, what is common knowledge, anticipated questions, etc. Eventually, your format, or outline, will begin to take shape, or if it doesn't, perhaps you need a different angle to your topic.
  • Who Is Your Audience? If you pretend that your paper is a speech--who might your audience be? Injecting some of your own convictions (written into a thesis statement, or introduction, and then supported by facts, evidence, and/or examples) can really add interest to an otherwise bland paper. For example, if your "speech" on "Commercial Products Derived from the Mighty Oak--Is It Worth the Sacrifice?" is directed to the National Association of Environmental Science Educators, it would certainly be a different presentation than one for furniture retailers, wouldn't it?
  • It's as Easy as 1, 2, 3. There is a saying that summarizes what you are trying to accomplish in setting up a logical format for your paper: "1. Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em. 2. Tell 'em. 3. Tell 'em what you told 'em." Translated, this means: 1. Introduction, including an interesting opening and your thesis statement (the specific point of your paper). 2. Body, including several sub-points that support or explain your thesis statement (be sure to include facts, examples, and/or quotes). 3. Conclusion, including a restatement of your thesis and usually a reference to, or a creative little touch that ties in with your opening sentence(s). Most instructors will also require a bibliography that lists the sources for your research and the data used in the body of your paper.
3. The final version:"Okay, I have a rough draft, but how do I finish it?"
  • Let Your Computer Help. Before you go any further, it's time to clean your paper up. If you've typed it in a word-processing program, let the computer help. Run the document through Spell-Checker, and any other grammar-based software programs available to you.
  • Walk Away. If you haven't put off the assignment until the final hour (shame on you), put the project away for an evening and take your mind completely off of the topic. In the morning, reread it with a fresh perspective--you'll be surprised at what pops off the paper at you!
  • Ask a Friend. Recruit a volunteer to read your paper and give you honest feedback. Welcome their comments and criticism, recognizing that the subject content is so close to you now that there may be things that you are overlooking, or areas that really could use improvement.
  • Use Your Professor. Most instructors would be happy to read a rough draft and offer suggestions for your final paper, and what better input could you ask for in terms of meeting the assignment?!

Here are some additional resources to help you with your term paper assignment:

  1. Writing Research Papers
  2. Writing for Botany
  3. Writing Lab Reports and Scientific Papers

The problem of environmental issues has become so urgent that many students decide to take it for their academic research paper writing. This topic is so broad that one can observe it at the interdisciplinary level. If you want to analyze this subject effectively but you cannot organize your paper without an expert’s help, these basic guidelines will make your work easier.

Method #1: Prepare for Writing

  1. Learn about the Problem. It is difficult to prepare an indigenous research paper on environmental issues if you do not read about the findings of the classic authors. Some students think that their ideas and writing approach are uncommon and innovative. However, a specific ‘original’ thought can be found in the book that was published many years ago. If you want to avoid such surprises, you should read about your subject a lot. What is more, reading credible authors and their profound articles, you understand the problem much better. New ideas and concepts come into your head and you generate new solutions and categories. You absorb in the topic and catch its slightest elements. Do not forget that every source you read will be useful for writing whereas you can utilize quotations and borrow authors’ genuine ideas.
  2. Choose the Best Sources and Make Notes. High-quality research papers can be written with the assistance of the credible sources. When you rely on the second-rate books, journals and the Internet articles, you accumulate dubious facts that can spoil the scientific value of your investigation. Thus, use the sources that have solid authority among the prominent scholars and teachers. You can even ask your advisor about the proper choice of the reliable authors whose ideas can be used in your paper. When you read a source, you are supposed to make notes carefully. It will help you collect more facts. Moreover, the accuracy of your notes will help you avoid accusations of plagiarism. When you cite a quotation, do not forget to note the author, the book’s title and the page.

The more books you read about environmental issues, the better your research project will be.

Method #2: Project Your Research

  • Make a Plan. You will hardly prepare a good and concise research paper if you do not plan it profoundly. Think about the categories and chosen environmental issues that will find their place in your paper. A detailed outline will be the best support for you. Write down every section and subcategory in the chronological order. Make sure, every new related problem continues the previous one. The audience should read your paper fluently and understand your point of view and intentions.

You can write a two-page text about the structure and the main idea of your investigation. It will help you construct a sound outline on the basis of this brief summary.

Method #3: Write Your Research Paper

  1. Make a Good Introduction. The foremost section of every research is its introduction. Devote two pages to the brief presentation of your topic and your goals. What do you want to achieve? Why are environmental issues so relevant nowadays? What methods will you utilize to research this problem? In addition, you should invent a sound thesis statement that will illustrate the purpose of your investigation. For example, ‘Environmental issues determine our lifetime on Earth’. It means that humanity will die if we do not improve the ecological environmental.
  2. Write the Main Chapters. The main body of your research paper should contain the general analysis of the existing environmental issues. It is wise to devote some place to their cause and effect. You can observe all existing ecological problems or focus on several issues and observe them in detail. Bear in mind that you should devote one paragraph to every thought. If you insert several categories into one paragraph, it will be difficult to catch your point of view. Care about the reader in this case. Finish the main body of your paper with the discussion of the enumerated issues. How can we solve them? Generate several solutions to the environmental problems and evaluate their effectiveness. Mention the factors (economic, political, social) that do not allow people to defeat the mentioned problems.
  3. Make a Conclusion. Finish your research paper about environmental issues with a professional conclusion. Discuss the effectiveness of your research, evaluate your findings and focus on the most disturbing ecological problems of our time. Is it possible to solve them? What should we do to improve the current situation? Say whether your research is useful for an average person and your discipline.

You can add graphs, tables and images to improve the quality of your written research paper. The topics of this kind can be understood better with the additional visual materials.

John Tarantino
My name is John Tarantino … and no, I am not related to Quinton Tarantino the movie director. I love writing about the environment, traveling, and capturing the world with my Lens as an amateur photographer. You can connect with me via my social networks: <a href="">Facebook</a> <a href="">Twitter</a> <a href="">g+</a>