The semester has now started well, and the time for delivering semester assignments is approaching. Writing semester assignments at the university is very different from all submissions you had in high school, and many struggle to find the form of the academic thesis text the first time. Fortunately, it is relatively easy when you first started the writing process. Here are my tips on how to get started with the semester paper.
1. Begin early!
Although the filing date seems far away, I recommend you start early! It is easy to find excuses for themselves and to postpone the task. If you feel you are not in control of the subject, or think the task is complicated, creepy or difficult, it pays to familiarize yourself with the task early and get started with the writing process. You will quickly find that it is not as difficult as it first works. Take the step over the doorstep mile and start the task! Before you know it you have done half the job. And if you do the task one week before the submission deadline against all assumptions, it is strictly a plus.
2. Familiarize yourself with the theme
As a rule, you will be given a topic or problem in the thesis text of the semester assignments first and second semester, while later in the study program one must often find the theme and problem itself. Regardless of whether or not you have been given the theme or issue for the semester assignment, it is important to familiarize yourself with the topic you are going to take for you. Read the curriculum carefully and make yourself mind maps and write notes along the way. If you have good notes, it is easier to get an overview of everything that is relevant to answering the task than if you have to deal with one or more books that you have to look up in the process. When you feel you have got a good overview of the topic, you are ready to embark on the actual writing process.
If you have to find a problem for the semester assignment yourself, it may be good to start from the syllabus. A good starting point is to write about something that you think is interesting, so that you can keep the motivation up and running during the writing process. If you are struggling to find a problem, you may want to look at the latest research articles on the topic you have chosen. As a rule, these say something about “further research” which can be a good source of inspiration for issues you can take for you.
3. How to answer the problem?
Unlike what you are used to from high school, the problems at the university are often very specific. At high school, for example, you could get issues such as “Revealing about Adolf Hitler, and discussing his thoughts about the third kingdom”. This is a relatively broad text where you can write a lot, as there is a lot of information about both Hitler, World War II and the Nazi visions for the third kingdom. At the university, however, the problems are more specific. An example of a thesis text may be: “Explain what t-tests are and what conditions exist to use the different t-tests. Give an example of a problem in psychological research using a t-test ”.
Such a task text may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but if you break down the text in the various components, it becomes more affordable. With the task text mentioned above, you should:
– Explain what t-tests are
– Explain when you can use the various t-tests
– Give an example of how to use t-tests.
In other words, the task text explains step-by-step what your task will be, and gives you a good indicator of which factors must be included in the task text. In this way, the writing process becomes more manageable.
4. Make an outline
Once you have identified the problem and have an abstract idea of how to answer it, it’s time to make an outline. By making an outline you have a “plan” for how your task will look, and make it easier to fill in with text along the way. At high school, you learned that each text has an introduction, middle part, and a conclusion. Academic texts work in the same way, but have a slightly more specific division.