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Race & Racism Seminar Guide: Traditional Structure of a Seminar Paper

This LibGuide is designed for Professor Ross's Fall 2016 Race & Racism Seminar Course

General Structure

Introduction

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.

Traditional Seminar/Term Paper Structure

Traditional Structure of a Seminar Paper

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.