First Steps

The first thing to do when writing a thesis, dissertation, or term paper, is to look for a topic. The student does this by identifying core issues within himself and asking himself, what the purpose of his inquiry is. What meaning does his academic search have for him? What solutions is he looking for in his search? The answers may be found in a key conflict in his childhood, or questions that arose out of his elementary education. For example, if after being exposed to certain topics and subject matter in elementary, secondary, and high school, certain questions arose that inspired him to further inquire about the subject, this may lead into his topic for his term paper, thesis, or dissertation. The thesis statement is the life question or question of inquiry turned into a statement.

Life Question

It is appropriate that the thesis statement answer a life question of subject of inquiry that was inspired by the student’s early education. The term paper, thesis, or dissertation is a major undertaking and it is right that it should reflect on the student’s life search.

Academic Search

An academic search, of course should be the student’s first undertaking. He should gather all materials he will need to take on the project. All books, journals, trade journal, CD’s CD-ROMS, DVD’s, etc. should gathered together, reviewed, and summarized.


Once the reading and review are done, the student may start on the outline. The outline should be constructed as any other, starting with the Roman numeral, I. Then followed by an indented capital A. Then followed on the third line with an indented number 1. The Roman numeral, I. should give the Thesis statement. The sub headings should follow on the subsequent letters and numerals. The sub headings should provide mental triggers for discussion in the paper. They should be presented as brief thoughts, to be elaborated on within the document. The outline should provide the skeletal structure of the paper. Discussion in the paper is elaborated around the notations in the outline.

Spell Check and Proofreading

Avoiding mistakes in the composition should be a central thought in the mind of the writer. He should use spell check as a step to take when completing the document. This will not, however complete the writer’s check for mistakes. The writer should proofread the document several times before its submission, making corrections as he goes. Effort should be given to express the writer’s intent, so that proper wording is used, proper sentence structure and also that proper English rules and guidelines are observed.