The Term Paper (Prof. Eberhard Möbius)

Facts in Brief (Dates change with each teaching term):

The Essentials:

Chosing a Topic:

Helpful Hints:

Using the Internet:

Structuring your Paper:

What do you do to impress the reader in order to get an A on the Term Paper?

Show that:

Do not just describe many facts and features. Less facts and more questions on:

Here is some bulletized advice how you should go about preparing your Term Paper with some important DOs and DON'Ts:


Sample Flowchart for Term Paper Preparation:

    1. Stage 1: What should I do? What do I want to write about? (This stage should be passed by Mid-Semester)
      • Ask yourself, what you are interested in!
      • You write the best paper about something that you want to learn!
    2. Stage 2: Searching and Reading of Material
      • Reference List in Course Review
      • Library
      • World Wide Web
      • Magazines, newspapers etc.
    3. Stage 3: Great Confusion?
      • Organize your material!
      • Write down a list of points that you have learned on your topic
      • Then structure this material (see sample organization below)
    4. Stage 4: Outline of Paper
      Structuring of paper is very important for a scientific write-up!!! (see sample outline below)
    5. Stage 5: Paper Writing
      • You may start for example like:
      • ...... Several million years ago, in a galaxy far far away a new star starts its life. .......
      • Write your section with a logical flow of arguments
    6. Stage 6: Critical Reading and Editing
      • You want to impress, but not with sloppiness!

Sample Organization of Material for a Paper that might be entitled:

The Life of a Star
  1. What happens when a star is born?
    1. Observations:
      very dense gas and dust clouds
      objects that resemble a disk of a planetary system
      .....more ...
    2. Processes:
      gas cloud shrinks under gravity gas cloud heats up, must lose heat by radiation then shrinks further gets hot enough in the center that nuclear reactions start
      .......more ...
  2. What happens during the main life of a star?
    1. Observations:
      stars shine steady for a long time
      we can observe stars of the same age in star clusters
      stars up to a certain mass/luminosity found in the cluster
      .......more ...
    2. Processes:
      energy source is fusion of H
      massive stars live shorter -> thus heavier stars already died in a cluster
      .......more ...
  3. How do stars die?
    1. Observations of dying stars
      White Dwarfs
      Supernovae etc. .....more ...

Sample Paper Outline:

  1. Introduction
    Nice introductory theme?
    Motivation for topic
    .......more ...(early ideas, early misconceptions about topic, ....)
  2. How a Star's Life Starts
  3. The Life Span of Mature Stars
  4. Aging of Stars and Star Death
  5. This could appear in your Conclusions:
    Remarks on the Life "Cycle"
    1. Supernova blast waves trigger new star births
    2. Aging stars and dying stars recycle material into interstellar gas that contributes to new star life
    3. So the cycle is closed!
  6. References
    1. List all the sources you have used
    2. Books with title, author and year
    3. Journal articles with title, author, journal, page no. and year
    4. WWW sources with Web page URL (Web address)

    We are not picky as far as the format of the references are concerned. However, you need to include all the pertinent information, as listed above. You may want to use a format similar to the APA format, just for consistency and clarity. Again, we will accept any clear, complete and consistent. format


Happy writing, and happy learning!