Sample Title Page
Sample Title Page

To write a successful seminar paper, one should observe a few conventions: the paper has to be logically structured and easy for the reader to follow

To make the logic of the paper's structure immediately obvious to the reader, the first or INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH should provide a "map" of the structure and content of the paper. One part of the introductory paragraph, the topic statement, informs the reader about the subject matter of the paper. An additional part of the introductory paragraph is the thesis statement in which you explain how you approach your topic, i.e. what aspects you present in what sequence. The first paragraph should, therefore, address the following questions: "What" is the paper all about? "How" do I approach the topic? And "when" in the course of the paper are you dealing with which issues?

Writing the Introduction



present relevant background or contextual material

present results of your analysis

explain the focus of the paper and your specific purpose

give irrelevant information that does not relate to your central idea

define terms or concepts when necessary

give endless information on the author

reveal your plan of organization

Every subsequent paragraph or section should be a self-contained argument that develops one particular aspect of the overall topic. Transitions from one paragraph to the next help to ensure the required inner coherence of the paper and convey a certain security for the reader when advancing through your arguments.
Try to avoid single-sentence paragraphs by organizing the sentences into units of thought. As a kind of checklist for a successful paragraph, you can ask yourself the following questions:

1 Does the paragraph develop a single, coherent aspect of the overall topic or argument?
2 Is the paragraph placed at the correct point in the paper?
3 Does the paragraph begin and end with smooth and logical transitions?

Writing the Body

use your outline as a flexible guide

build your essay around points you want to make (i.e., don't let your sources organize your paper)

integrate your sources into your discussion

summarize, analyze, explain, and evaluate published work rather than merely reporting it

move up and down the "ladder of abstraction" from generalization to varying levels of detail back to generalization

At the end of the essay, a CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH should summarize the most important results of your discussion of the topic. Do not be afraid to tell the reader once again what the main points of your argument were. The reader likes to be reminded of the central issues of your paper to make sure that the main points have been grasped correctly and to help remember them.

Writing the Conclusion

if the argument or point of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your reader

if prior to your conclusion you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper

to add your points up, to explain their significance

move from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction

perhaps suggest what about this topic needs further research

New aspects of analysis DO NOT GO INTO YOUR CONCLUSION!

The best way to check if your introduction and conclusion are efficient is to read only the first and last paragraphs of your paper. If these two passages mention all central questions as well as provide a summary of the major results, then introduction and conclusion fulfill their functions; i.e., these two sections of your paper should put into a nutshell the information about content, methodology and results.