The Complete Guide on How to Write a Winning Ecology Term Paper

Writing guide
Posted on January 9, 2019

Before delving into the structure and elements that characterize an ecology term paper, it is important to define what an ecology term paper is, and explore the objectives of writing a term paper on ecology. A term paper in ecology is a research paper that students are required to submit at the end of a semester to evaluate and track acquired knowledge about ecology courses. As opposed to essays on ecology, term papers require significant research and use of technical writing skills. The term paper may focus on a multitude of topics in ecology and must be well-written, organized, logical, and well-researched to reflect the learner’s knowledge of the topic, the area of study, and the term paper requirements, as provided by the professor. The lecturers provide students with term paper topics. On different occasions, it is common for instructors to present students with an opportunity to explore different topics in ecology, depending on the area of ecology studied in the course and the course requirements.

The Peculiarities of Selecting an Ecology Term Paper Topic

When choosing a topic, you should always consider the following:

  • The length of the paper. Term papers in ecology have the varied scope of content implying that some topics may either be narrow or broad. Always consider the required length of the term paper as provided by the professors. You should ask yourself the questions, such as “Will the paper be long, at least 10 pages, or short, up to 5 pages?” or “How many words are required for the term paper?”. The point is that when you are able to ascertain the required length of paper, it will be easy to choose topics that match the required number of words or pages. In this case, if the required length of the term paper exceeds 10 pages, choose a broad ecology topic. Conversely, select topics that are narrow if the term paper should be less than five pages.
  • The resource availability. Check available resources, such as ecology books, articles, and online sources to not only gather ideas on topics but also ensure that a chosen topic has readily available and sufficient material for reference when writing the term paper. Magazines and news articles are also essential sources that provide different angles concerning factors affecting the ecosystems.
  • The complexity of the topic. Some ecology topics are complex. Notably, the complexity varies depending on the level of study. Ensure that you choose topics that you can handle with ease. When it is impossible to focus on simpler topics, ensure you are able to explain the chosen topic regardless of its complexity. If stuck, seek advice from your lecturer or other experts within the learning institution. In this case, let your instructor explain certain areas of the topic that you find complex.

ecology term paper structure

Pre-Writing Stage to Generate and Clarify Ideas

Starting the process of writing a term paper can be challenging even when one has clear prompts, materials, and ideas on what should be written. All term paper writers face the dilemma of translating their thoughts into a coherent and carefully articulated paper. Before beginning the writing process, seek clarifications where needed and go through the provided instructions where provided. Planning, brainstorming, and outlining ideas are among the essential pre-writing tips that enable one to write a coherent term paper in ecology.

  • Planning. An ecology term paper requires appropriate articulation of facts without speculating concepts or including unfounded information. Therefore, planning is paramount because it entails determining the paper timeline, allocating time to different parts of the paper writing process, and crafting a resource outline to ensure the availability of enough reference materials.
  • Brainstorming. As soon as you settle on a topic, start taking inventory of the topic ideas as they come to your mind and write them down in no particular order. Brainstorming helps with keeping track of all thoughts and ideas related to the topic and presents the writer with new avenues to explore concerning the term paper topic.
  • Freewriting. Free writing is similar to the brainstorming as it helps you transfer your thoughts onto paper. However, free writing should entail writing ideas about the ecology topic in more formal sentences that only need editing and referencing. As opposed to listing ideas, ensure to transform the standalone concepts into a free flow of coherent information.
  • Outlining. With the ecology topic at hand and ideas on the paper, make an outline of the concepts that should constitute the term paper. List ideas that should be discussed in the introduction section and those that should constitute the body of the paper and the conclusion segment.

Below are examples you can choose for your ecology term paper topics:

  • Explain the Importance of Herbivores in Preventing Competitive Exclusion;
  • Describe the Influence of Diversity on the Function of Ecosystems;
  • State the Past and Expected Effects of Climate Change on Vegetation;
  • Carbon Dioxide Has Significant Effects on Plants and Humans. Explore the Direct Effect of Elevated Carbon Dioxide on Vegetation;
  • Explain the Impacts of Ecosystems on The Quality of Water.

Concise and Well-Written Thesis Statement Is a Must – Our Writers Claim

Setting for a topic and crafting a creative and compelling title for the term paper is only a single aspect in writing an ecology term paper. Before learning how and why to draft the thesis statement, let us analyze what a thesis statement is.

What Constitutes a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement summarizes the claim or main point of the term paper. It should inform the reader of the significance of the ecology subject matter under discussion and provide a roadmap for the entire paper. If the term paper is about global warming, the thesis statement should provide a claim for or against global warming and offer a way to understand the concept. A thesis statement should:

  • make a disputable claim or interpretation;
  • be written as a single sentence at the end of the instruction segment of the introduction to present the writer’s argument;
  • serve as the organizing principle of the term paper.

The body of the term paper should organize information and evidence that convince the reader of the logic of your claim in the thesis statement. If the term paper topic asks you to develop a claim about protecting endangered species, you should convey that claim into the thesis statement. Term papers can require you to compare and contrast, interpret, analyze, or take a position on issues affecting the ecosystem and other elements of ecology. Thus, it is essential to develop a thesis statement and provide persuasive support using appropriate sources.

Crafting an appropriate thesis statement is challenging, but it is important to know how to draft one because it is an essential component of every term paper regardless of its length.

How Do I Develop a Thesis Statement?

Formulating a thesis statement is a lengthy process that occurs after developing a topic for the term paper. The following steps help to develop an appropriate thesis statement.

  • Read, analyze, and compare sources. Collect and organize information found in books, journals, articles, and online sources on the chosen ecology topic. Look for relationships between the ideas and concepts that constitute the topic and analyze the significance of the established relationships.
  • Draft the thesis. Draft a statement that presents the basic argument of ideas that result from the analyzed sources, and which you are sure to support with scholarly evidence. The drafted statement is likely to be adjusted when writing other parts of the term paper; thus, do not be too rigid.
  • Consider the counter-arguments. Since you will take a stand on one side of the chosen argument and ideas, consider the other side of the argument. Notably, considering the counterclaims helps in refining the thesis statement.

How Do I Know If My Thesis Is Strong?

Where possible, ask your friends or your instructor for feedback on the strength and viability of your thesis statement. If there are no people to provide you with feedback within the appropriate time, evaluate the thesis in person. During the evaluation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does my thesis statement answer the term paper question? If the term paper is based on a question prompt, re-read the question and crosscheck it with the developed thesis statement to ensure you do not miss the focus of the question.
  • Does my thesis pose a claim or observation that others might oppose? If the developed thesis statement does not provide room for people to oppose or challenge, then it provides a summary of information on the study topic instead of making a claim or an argument.
  • Is the drafted thesis statement specific? Specific thesis statements present a strong argument while those that are too vague have arguments that may be difficult to challenge, which implies that they are weak. For instance, if your thesis statement reads, ‘protecting endangered species is good,’ try to be more specific by explaining why exactly it is good.
  • Does my thesis pass the ‘so what?’ and ‘why and how’ test? If you read the thesis statement and respond with ‘so what? how? or why?’ then the thesis statement is not clear or is too open-ended. In this case, add appropriate content to satisfy the reader.

Ecology Term Paper Outline as a Structure and Guidance for Writers

An ecology term paper may focus on different and diverse topics. It may also be persuasive, informative, or argumentative. Regardless of its type and purpose, the structure should be well-organized, logical, and clear. The outline comprises:

  • Cover page. The cover page text contains the name, the course, the date, and the instructor’s name.
  • Abstract. The abstract is usually half a page long or approximately 150 words, and it describes the term paper, its content, and its significance.
  • Introduction. The introduction is the first main part of the term paper and should begin with a hook and a statement about the term paper’s topic. Elements that characterize the introduction include:
    • a short statement of the paper’s objective, thesis, and questions that the term paper will answer;
    • placing the specific ecology topics in a broader context but in a way that represents the paper’s arguments;
    • a description of relevant and current literature on the ecology subject of discussion or analysis;
    • if necessary, a clarification of terms specific to the ecology discourse.
  • Body. The body of your term paper should document a synthesis of the paper’s research and provide information about the paper’s topic to broaden the reader’s understanding of the ecology issue under discussion. The structure of the body segment depends on the goal of your term paper. Notably, no permanent conventions dictate aspects that need to be discussed or the manner in which they should be analyzed.

Important Elements of the Body Section:

  • Divide the body text into segments and subsections that represent the main ideas and supporting evidence. Each unique idea or argument should be in its own paragraph. Take note that a single sentence does not constitute a paragraph.
  • Use the paragraphs and topic sentences to develop your paper argument comprehensively and without repetitions.
  • Provide evidence for your arguments by quoting existing literature on selected ecology topics pertinent to the term paper. If the paper is argumentative, quote certain claims and contrast them with your opinion or disapprove the claims. Do not forget to provide reasons for disapproving a claim.
  • Reference all the analogous and literal text and idea quotations. In cases where further clarification and comments are needed, but their inclusion in the text would disrupt the paper’s fluidity, insert the content as footnotes. However, the presence of the footnotes will depend on the term paper’s specified writing convention.
  • The composition of your text should be clear and logically comprehensible, and the structure will depend on aspects unique to the chosen ecology topic.
  • Provide reasons for your idea and criticisms rather than summarizing existing literature and gathering quotations. Moreover, you have to provide only information that is relevant to the understanding of your term paper issue.

Post Writing Ecology Term Paper Tips to Get It Finally Done – Proofread

The term paper is not complete until you have proofread it to correct grammar, sentence structure, and content errors. While all the errors can be corrected at once during the first proofreading attempt, it is important to read through the paper twice or thrice to check for specific issues at each period. For instance, go through the paper to check grammatical errors and sentence structure mistakes. On the second reading attempt, read the paper aloud to identify incoherent content and sentence structures. Finally, assess the term paper for content meaning, coherence, and logical flow of ideas and supporting evidence. Finally, ensure the paper is free of nested sentences, passive constructions, and unreferenced content.

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