Term paper writing guide: answer the underlying question

An “extended response- or question and answer- paper is an assignment in which the student is offered a question he or she must answer. Instead of giving a simple yes or no answer, he or she must choose their opinion, provide evidence for that opinion and offer a closing argument that summarizes the essay’s content. These essays are common in both high school and college curriculums and are used across a variety of subjects including English, history and science.

First of all, you must prepare your answer to the question. Make sure that you take the time to thoroughly research the topic until you are able to form your own opinion and clearly answer the essay question. As an example, your history instructor may ask you to write a paper on the following topic: “When it comes to newly elected presidents, would George Washington want to set term limits?” After going through references, you might decide that your answer is “yes.” Then, you must be able to support why your answer is “yes.”

Next, you will write your introduction to your research paper. Restate the question and provide your answer based on the opinion you came up with during your research. Introduce the information that will be used in your paper to back up your opinion. For example, still using the question about George Washington wanting to set term limits for future presidents, to support your argument, you could mention that Washington chose not to run for a third term and he turned down the monarchy.

Now, you are ready to write the body of your paper, going into details regarding each one of the facts that you mentioned in your introduction. You will offer information, details, and examples that you found in your references, being sure that cite your sources in the text or at the end in a bibliography. You should consider dedicating a paragraph in the body of your paper to Washington’s farewell address, where he outlined his reasons for not going for a third presidential term. In order to support your opinion, quote several portions of that speech.

Lastly, you will create your conclusion by expressing the question and your opinion once again. You will also again highlight the facts that you used to support your opinion, and restate your opinion that “yes, Washington would have been in support of term limits for future presidents.” Once again, very briefly mention the evidence that you used to support your thoughts and opinions on the topic at hand.

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