Guide

How to Write a Project Paper

Published: 24.06.2014, Updated: 05.03.2017
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A project paper is a very formal piece of writing and aims at presenting and discussing the results of your in depth study. The following guidelines should be followed.

Organizing the Project Paper

The project paper must have an introduction, a main body and a conclusion. Before you start the writing process, you should make a detailed outline.

Introduction

The introduction must describe what the paper will be about and clearly state the approach to the topic as a question or statement. (thesis question (Am.)) The question/statement must be linked to at least one competence aim in the English curriculum and be addressable in about 1800 to 2000 words. The introduction must also present how you chose to solve the task i.e. what method(s) you have used to investigate the question/statement. What you write in the introduction will be decisive for what you write in the rest of the project paper.

Main Body

When you have stated your question/statement and explained how you will solve the task, you can start writing the main body of the project paper. The main body of the paper is your attempt to answer your question/statement. You should present and build up a structured argument about the research. By analyzing and interpreting the sources you have chosen to include in the paper, and supporting your arguments by referring to your sources, you are to reach your own personal conclusion with regards to the question/statement in the introduction. During the writing process, it is important to reread the introduction to be certain that you have accomplished what you set out to do. If you have not, you may choose to edit the introduction so that it matches the main body of the paper.

It is important to use correct terminology when you are writing. It increases the level of accuracy, and thus the standard of the paper. Where it is relevant, you may include illustrations and tables.

Conclusion

The conclusion should summarize the findings from the main body of the paper, and answer the question/statement. The conclusion should not come as a surprise to the reader, but be consistent with the arguments you have used. In some cases, the conclusion will raise new questions, which you can include to show that you have good insight into the topic you have chosen to write about.

Formal Presentation

We suggest that the length of the project paper should be between 1800 and 2000 words. The word count must be included in the paper and placed after the conclusion. The word count should not include the cover sheet, table of contents, illustrations or list of sources.

The project paper should be written using formal language. It should be in A4-format, include a coversheet, a table of contents, and a list of sources, in addition to the actual project paper. The coversheet is to include the title of the paper, your name, the subject, the name of the school, and the year. The title does not have to be identical to the question/statement about your approach to the topic. The table of contents should be placed immediately after the cover sheet, and include page numbers.

The left margin should be 3 cm, and the right margin 2.5 cm. Top and bottom margins should be 2.5 cm. The cover sheet is to be page 1, but there should be no page number written on the cover sheet. The page numbers can be placed at the bottom of the pages, either centered or at the right margin.

Paragraphs should all be treated identically in the research paper. Should you choose to show the start of a new paragraph by having an empty line above the new paragraph, you have to do that consistently throughout the paper (block paragraphs). Should you choose to use the tab to change the left margin every time you start a new paragraph, then that is how all paragraphs should be started (Indented paragraphs).

The font should be 12. Ariel or Times New Roman is a good font. Use line spacing 1.5. The bottom text should state the title of your paper.

Correct Use of Sources

It is important that you use the information you gather in an independent way. You should never pretend that something someone else has written was written by you. That is called plagiarism. That is why it is important that you cite and reference your sources correctly, so that the reader can find the sources you have used.

There are several methods for citing your sources. We have chosen the Harvard method for citations and list of sources.

Direct Quotations

  • If the quotation is shorter than three lines, then the quotation is to be placed within your text and marked with quotation marks. It can look like this:

    Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text "Quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote" (Author, Year, Page). Text Text Text Text Text.
  • A quotation that exceeds three lines, should be placed in its own paragraph. A long quotation should be in single-spaced lines, to clearly show that it is a quotation. For a long quotation, you should not use quotation marks:

    Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text

    Quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote quote (Author, Year, Page).

    Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text.

Indirect Quotations

  • If you use information from another source, but rewrite the text so that it is not a direct quotation, you will still need to cite the source. The indirect quotation should not be shown in any other way but by the reference, i.e. without quotation marks or any other graphical stress:

    Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text (Author, Year, Page). Text Text Text Text Text Text Text.

How to Write a List of Sources

The list of sources should start on a new page at the end of the document. Note that the list of sources is not to be grouped according to the type of source, but should be organized alphabetically by the author's last name. Still, dependeing on type of source, the sources will differ in format. A novel for instance  will be listed in a different format than an article.

You will find more information about sources here: Use, Evaluate and Cite Sources of Information and Harvard System.

Evaluation Criteria

The following table suggests evaluation criteria for a project paper and can be printed out as a Word document.

Evaluation Criteria for Project Paper   

 

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