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How to Write a Seminar Paper

Last Updated: October 17, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 609,242 times.

A seminar paper is a work of original research that presents a specific thesis and is presented to a group of interested peers, usually in an academic setting. For example, it might serve as your cumulative assignment in a university course. Although seminar papers have specific purposes and guidelines in some places, such as law school, the general process and format is the same. The steps below will guide you through the research and writing process of how to write a seminar paper and provide tips for developing a well-received paper.

Getting Started

Step 1 Learn the basic features of a seminar paper.

  • an argument that makes an original contribution to the existing scholarship on your subject
  • extensive research that supports your argument
  • extensive footnotes or endnotes (depending on the documentation style you are using)

Step 2 Ask for clarification if needed.

  • Make sure that you understand how to cite your sources for the paper and how to use the documentation style your professor prefers, such as APA , MLA , or Chicago Style .
  • Don’t feel bad if you have questions. It is better to ask and make sure that you understand than to do the assignment wrong and get a bad grade.

Step 3 Plan ahead.

  • Since it's best to break down a seminar paper into individual steps, creating a schedule is a good idea. You can adjust your schedule as needed.
  • Do not attempt to research and write a seminar in just a few days. This type of paper requires extensive research, so you will need to plan ahead. Get started as early as possible. [3] X Research source

Step 4 Generate ideas for your seminar paper.

  • Listing List all of the ideas that you have for your essay (good or bad) and then look over the list you have made and group similar ideas together. Expand those lists by adding more ideas or by using another prewriting activity. [5] X Research source
  • Freewriting Write nonstop for about 10 minutes. Write whatever comes to mind and don’t edit yourself. When you are done, review what you have written and highlight or underline the most useful information. Repeat the freewriting exercise using the passages you underlined as a starting point. You can repeat this exercise multiple times to continue to refine and develop your ideas. [6] X Research source
  • Clustering Write a brief explanation (phrase or short sentence) of the subject of your seminar paper on the center of a piece of paper and circle it. Then draw three or more lines extending from the circle. Write a corresponding idea at the end of each of these lines. Continue developing your cluster until you have explored as many connections as you can. [7] X Research source
  • Questioning On a piece of paper, write out “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” Space the questions about two or three lines apart on the paper so that you can write your answers on these lines. Respond to each question in as much detail as you can. [8] X Research source

Step 5 Create a research question to help guide your research.

  • For example, if you wanted to know more about the uses of religious relics in medieval England, you might start with something like “How were relics used in medieval England?” The information that you gather on this subject might lead you to develop a thesis about the role or importance of relics in medieval England.
  • Keep your research question simple and focused. Use your research question to narrow your research. Once you start to gather information, it's okay to revise or tweak your research question to match the information you find. Similarly, you can always narrow your question a bit if you are turning up too much information.

Conducting Research

Step 1 Collect research for your paper.

  • Use your library’s databases, such as EBSCO or JSTOR, rather than a general internet search. University libraries subscribe to many databases. These databases provide you with free access to articles and other resources that you cannot usually gain access to by using a search engine. If you don't have access to these databases, you can try Google Scholar.

Step 2 Evaluate your sources to determine their credibility.

  • Publication's credentials Consider the type of source, such as a peer-reviewed journal or book. Look for sources that are academically based and accepted by the research community. Additionally, your sources should be unbiased.
  • Author's credentials Choose sources that include an author’s name and that provide credentials for that author. The credentials should indicate something about why this person is qualified to speak as an authority on the subject. For example, an article about a medical condition will be more trustworthy if the author is a medical doctor. If you find a source where no author is listed or the author does not have any credentials, then this source may not be trustworthy. [12] X Research source
  • Citations Think about whether or not this author has adequately researched the topic. Check the author’s bibliography or works cited page. If the author has provided few or no sources, then this source may not be trustworthy. [13] X Research source
  • Bias Think about whether or not this author has presented an objective, well-reasoned account of the topic. How often does the tone indicate a strong preference for one side of the argument? How often does the argument dismiss or disregard the opposition’s concerns or valid arguments? If these are regular occurrences in the source, then it may not be a good choice. [14] X Research source
  • Publication date Think about whether or not this source presents the most up to date information on the subject. Noting the publication date is especially important for scientific subjects, since new technologies and techniques have made some earlier findings irrelevant. [15] X Research source
  • Information provided in the source If you are still questioning the trustworthiness of this source, cross check some of the information provided against a trustworthy source. If the information that this author presents contradicts one of your trustworthy sources, then it might not be a good source to use in your paper.

Step 3 Read your research.

  • Give yourself plenty of time to read your sources and work to understand what they are saying. Ask your professor for clarification if something is unclear to you.
  • Consider if it's easier for you to read and annotate your sources digitally or if you'd prefer to print them out and annotate by hand.

Step 4 Take notes while you read your sources.

  • Be careful to properly cite your sources when taking notes. Even accidental plagiarism may result in a failing grade on a paper.

Drafting Your Paper

Step 1 Write a thesis.

  • Make sure that your thesis presents an original point of view. Since seminar papers are advanced writing projects, be certain that your thesis presents a perspective that is advanced and original. [18] X Research source
  • For example, if you conducted your research on the uses of relics in medieval England, your thesis might be, “Medieval English religious relics were often used in ways that are more pagan than Christian.”

Step 2 Develop a rough...

  • Organize your outline by essay part and then break those parts into subsections. For example, part 1 might be your introduction, which could then be broken into three sub-parts: a)opening sentence, b)context/background information c)thesis statement.

Step 3 Hook your readers from the beginning.

  • For example, in a paper about medieval relics, you might open with a surprising example of how relics were used or a vivid description of an unusual relic.
  • Keep in mind that your introduction should identify the main idea of your seminar paper and act as a preview to the rest of your paper.

Step 4 Provide relevant background information to guide your readers.

  • For example, in a paper about relics in medieval England, you might want to offer your readers examples of the types of relics and how they were used. What purpose did they serve? Where were they kept? Who was allowed to have relics? Why did people value relics?
  • Keep in mind that your background information should be used to help your readers understand your point of view.

Step 5 Present your claims and research in an organized fashion.

  • Remember to use topic sentences to structure your paragraphs. Provide a claim at the beginning of each paragraph. Then, support your claim with at least one example from one of your sources. Remember to discuss each piece of evidence in detail so that your readers will understand the point that you are trying to make.

Step 6 Consider using headings and/or subheadings to organize your paper.

  • For example, in a paper on medieval relics, you might include a heading titled “Uses of Relics” and subheadings titled “Religious Uses”, “Domestic Uses”, “Medical Uses”, etc.

Step 7 Conclude your paper.

  • Synthesize what you have discussed . Put everything together for your readers and explain what other lessons might be gained from your argument. How might this discussion change the way others view your subject?
  • Explain why your topic matters . Help your readers to see why this topic deserve their attention. How does this topic affect your readers? What are the broader implications of this topic? Why does your topic matter?
  • Return to your opening discussion. If you offered an anecdote or a quote early in your paper, it might be helpful to revisit that opening discussion and explore how the information you have gathered implicates that discussion.

Step 8 Create your bibliography.

  • Ask your professor what documentation style he or she prefers that you use if you are not sure.
  • Visit your school’s writing center for additional help with your works cited page and in-text citations.

Revising Your Paper

Step 1 Give yourself adequate time to revise.

  • What is your main point? How might you clarify your main point?
  • Who is your audience? Have you considered their needs and expectations?
  • What is your purpose? Have you accomplished your purpose with this paper?
  • How effective is your evidence? How might your strengthen your evidence?
  • Does every part of your paper relate back to your thesis? How might you improve these connections?
  • Is anything confusing about your language or organization? How might your clarify your language or organization?
  • Have you made any errors with grammar, punctuation, or spelling? How can you correct these errors?
  • What might someone who disagrees with you say about your paper? How can you address these opposing arguments in your paper? [26] X Research source

Step 4 Proofread a printed version of your paper.

Features of Seminar Papers and Sample Thesis Statements

seminar paper presentation

Community Q&A

Community Answer

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

  • Keep in mind that seminar papers differ by discipline. Although most seminar papers share certain features, your discipline may have some requirements or features that are unique. For example, a seminar paper written for a Chemistry course may require you to include original data from your experiments, whereas a seminar paper for an English course may require you to include a literature review. Check with your student handbook or check with your advisor to find out about special features for seminar papers in your program. Make sure that you ask your professor about his/her expectations before you get started as well. [27] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • When coming up with a specific thesis, begin by arguing something broad and then gradually grow more specific in the points you want to argue. Thanks Helpful 23 Not Helpful 11
  • Choose a topic that interests you, rather than something that seems like it will interest others. It is much easier and more enjoyable to write about something you care about. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 1

seminar paper presentation

  • Do not be afraid to admit any shortcomings or difficulties with your argument. Your thesis will be made stronger if you openly identify unresolved or problematic areas rather than glossing over them. Thanks Helpful 13 Not Helpful 6
  • Plagiarism is a serious offense in the academic world. If you plagiarize your paper you may fail the assignment and even the course altogether. Make sure that you fully understand what is and is not considered plagiarism before you write your paper. Ask your teacher if you have any concerns or questions about your school’s plagiarism policy. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 2

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  • ↑ https://umweltoekonomie.uni-hohenheim.de/fileadmin/einrichtungen/umweltoekonomie/1-Studium_Lehre/Materialien_und_Informationen/Guidelines_Seminar_Paper_NEW_14.10.15.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/how-to-ask-professor-feedback/
  • ↑ http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/guides/seminar_papers.cfm
  • ↑ https://www.stcloudstate.edu/writeplace/_files/documents/writing%20process/choosing-and-narrowing-an-essay-topic.pdf
  • ↑ http://writing.ku.edu/prewriting-strategies
  • ↑ http://www.kuwi.europa-uni.de/en/lehrstuhl/vs/politik3/Hinweise_Seminararbeiten/haenglish.html
  • ↑ https://guides.lib.uw.edu/research/faq/reliable
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/673/1/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://www.irsc.edu/students/academicsupportcenter/researchpaper/researchpaper.aspx?id=4294967433
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/2/2/58/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/beginning-academic-essay
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/02/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/05/
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/ReverseOutlines.html

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a seminar paper, start by writing a clear and specific thesis that expresses your original point of view. Then, work on your introduction, which should give your readers relevant context about your topic and present your argument in a logical way. As you write, break up the body of your paper with headings and sub-headings that categorize each section of your paper. This will help readers follow your argument. Conclude your paper by synthesizing your argument and explaining why this topic matters. Be sure to cite all the sources you used in a bibliography. For advice on getting started on your seminar paper, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Law 6233 Constitutional Law Seminar Guide (Rosen)

  • Topic Selection
  • Preemption Check & Setting Up Alerts

General Structure

Traditional seminar/term paper structure.

  • Treatises & Print Resources
  • Law Journals & Articles
  • Electronic Resources

Traditionally, a seminar/term paper will consist of four major sections: (1) Introduction; (2) Background; (3) Analysis; and (4) Conclusion. This section contains a brief outline to follow, but each subsection is examined in detail in the subsequent pages.

1. Introduction - Set out the "Crux" of the Paper

Introduce and note why the topic is important

Briefly summarize necessary background information

State your thesis

Convey your organization of the paper -- (i.e., "roadmap"). Tell the audience what your paper will show and in what order. If you can concisely summarize your research and outline the arguments of your paper, then odds your audience will be able to follow your analysis.

2. Background - Orient the Audience

Describe the genesis of the subject

Describe the changes that have occurred during its development.

Explain the reasons for the changes

Describe where things are now (You may also want to indicate the reasons for further change).

3. Analysis - Explain the Thesis

Large-Scale Organization:

Discuss the major issues;

Separate issues and sub-issues

Order issues logically

Small-Scale Organization

Introduce and conclude on each issue

Present your arguments and rebut opposing arguments

Use organizational paradigms where appropriate

4. Conclusion

Restate the thesis of the paper

Summarize major points

If you chose to use a hypothetical in your introduction, revisit the hypothetical to "tie-up" your paper.

  • << Previous: Preemption Check & Setting Up Alerts
  • Next: Treatises & Print Resources >>
  • Last Updated: Dec 6, 2023 4:02 PM
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7+ Seminar Paper Outline Examples [ Senior, Education, Research ]

seminar paper outline examples

Seminar Paper Outline

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simple seminar paper outline

1. Compose Your Introduction

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How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation of Your Research Paper

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Table of Contents

A research paper presentation is often used at conferences and in other settings where you have an opportunity to share your research, and get feedback from your colleagues. Although it may seem as simple as summarizing your research and sharing your knowledge, successful research paper PowerPoint presentation examples show us that there’s a little bit more than that involved.

In this article, we’ll highlight how to make a PowerPoint presentation from a research paper, and what to include (as well as what NOT to include). We’ll also touch on how to present a research paper at a conference.

Purpose of a Research Paper Presentation

The purpose of presenting your paper at a conference or forum is different from the purpose of conducting your research and writing up your paper. In this setting, you want to highlight your work instead of including every detail of your research. Likewise, a presentation is an excellent opportunity to get direct feedback from your colleagues in the field. But, perhaps the main reason for presenting your research is to spark interest in your work, and entice the audience to read your research paper.

So, yes, your presentation should summarize your work, but it needs to do so in a way that encourages your audience to seek out your work, and share their interest in your work with others. It’s not enough just to present your research dryly, to get information out there. More important is to encourage engagement with you, your research, and your work.

Tips for Creating Your Research Paper Presentation

In addition to basic PowerPoint presentation recommendations, which we’ll cover later in this article, think about the following when you’re putting together your research paper presentation:

  • Know your audience : First and foremost, who are you presenting to? Students? Experts in your field? Potential funders? Non-experts? The truth is that your audience will probably have a bit of a mix of all of the above. So, make sure you keep that in mind as you prepare your presentation.

Know more about: Discover the Target Audience .

  • Your audience is human : In other words, they may be tired, they might be wondering why they’re there, and they will, at some point, be tuning out. So, take steps to help them stay interested in your presentation. You can do that by utilizing effective visuals, summarize your conclusions early, and keep your research easy to understand.
  • Running outline : It’s not IF your audience will drift off, or get lost…it’s WHEN. Keep a running outline, either within the presentation or via a handout. Use visual and verbal clues to highlight where you are in the presentation.
  • Where does your research fit in? You should know of work related to your research, but you don’t have to cite every example. In addition, keep references in your presentation to the end, or in the handout. Your audience is there to hear about your work.
  • Plan B : Anticipate possible questions for your presentation, and prepare slides that answer those specific questions in more detail, but have them at the END of your presentation. You can then jump to them, IF needed.

What Makes a PowerPoint Presentation Effective?

You’ve probably attended a presentation where the presenter reads off of their PowerPoint outline, word for word. Or where the presentation is busy, disorganized, or includes too much information. Here are some simple tips for creating an effective PowerPoint Presentation.

  • Less is more: You want to give enough information to make your audience want to read your paper. So include details, but not too many, and avoid too many formulas and technical jargon.
  • Clean and professional : Avoid excessive colors, distracting backgrounds, font changes, animations, and too many words. Instead of whole paragraphs, bullet points with just a few words to summarize and highlight are best.
  • Know your real-estate : Each slide has a limited amount of space. Use it wisely. Typically one, no more than two points per slide. Balance each slide visually. Utilize illustrations when needed; not extraneously.
  • Keep things visual : Remember, a PowerPoint presentation is a powerful tool to present things visually. Use visual graphs over tables and scientific illustrations over long text. Keep your visuals clean and professional, just like any text you include in your presentation.

Know more about our Scientific Illustrations Services .

Another key to an effective presentation is to practice, practice, and then practice some more. When you’re done with your PowerPoint, go through it with friends and colleagues to see if you need to add (or delete excessive) information. Double and triple check for typos and errors. Know the presentation inside and out, so when you’re in front of your audience, you’ll feel confident and comfortable.

How to Present a Research Paper

If your PowerPoint presentation is solid, and you’ve practiced your presentation, that’s half the battle. Follow the basic advice to keep your audience engaged and interested by making eye contact, encouraging questions, and presenting your information with enthusiasm.

We encourage you to read our articles on how to present a scientific journal article and tips on giving good scientific presentations .

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Improve the flow and writing of your research paper with Language Editing Plus. This service includes unlimited editing, manuscript formatting for the journal of your choice, reference check and even a customized cover letter. Learn more here , and get started today!

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  1. How to Write a Seminar Paper (with Pictures)

    A seminar paper is a work of original research that presents a specific thesis and is presented to a group of interested peers, usually in an academic setting. For example, it might serve as your cumulative assignment in a university course.

  2. Academic writing : guidelines for preparing a seminar paper

    For seminar paper assignment: It should be roughly one page of text, including your goal and question (s), the relevant literature and your planned argumentation. The outline of your seminar paper will be a foundation of the table of contents in terms of the seminar paper.

  3. Traditional Structure of a Seminar Paper

    Convey your organization of the paper -- (i.e., "roadmap"). Tell the audience what your paper will show and in what order. If you can concisely summarize your research and outline the arguments of your paper, then odds your audience will be able to follow your analysis. 2. Background - Orient the Audience. Describe the genesis of the subject

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  5. How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation of Your Research Paper

    The purpose of presenting your paper at a conference or forum is different from the purpose of conducting your research and writing up your paper. In this setting, you want to highlight your work instead of including every detail of your research.

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