Final Paper Project
by John Bandler
This page is about the semester-long final paper project, a phased process.
Over the years of teaching I implemented a phased process to aid my students with the writing process and encourage continual research, editing, and refinement. This provides opportunities for feedback during the semester, and enhances learning before the paper is submitted.
At the bottom are links to instructions for each phase of the project.
The goal of this project is that you put in effort and improve your:
- Knowledge of the subject matter
- Research skills
- Writing and editing skills
- Presentation skills.
Every person needs these skills, no matter what your major, interests, future job or career. That's why I incorporate a paper into every semester, even though it is a lot of work for me.
Every person, no matter where they are starting from now, should seek to improve their skills. Improvement comes only with practice and effort. This means you need to do your own work, start by reading the course materials, do your own research, do your own writing and editing. Do not take shortcuts, do the work and put in the effort.
Remember the goals as laid out above. Then pay attention to various assignment instructions, starting with with the most important ones. The result will be self-improvement and an excellent final presentation and paper.
Remember the professional and dedicated resources at your school (Librarians, writing center, etc.) so please check with them.
At the bottom are links with more details on each phase.
Why this phased project?
As you progress through the project and other linked pages, the value of it to you should become clearer.
Students learn and improve themselves through continual effort, and create a better final product.
There is opportunity for work, feedback, and improvement during the semester and well before the due date.
A phased project with mini deadlines ensures work is completed at each stage, with feedback opportunities to guide, correct, and improve.
We can't eat an elephant in one sitting, build a house in a day, nor run a marathon in an hour. That's a lot of metaphors, so let's pick the marathon analogy. Each phase represents a certain number of miles completed, and submission of the final paper is the finish line. Let's walk a little each week to get ourselves to the finish line.
You are in charge of your own learning in life. Use this project, course, and all other courses to build yourself. It would be a waste to graduate and gain a degree without the requisite learning.
Any student who wrote a paper the day or week it is due, realizes there is little learning value in that.
What "type" of paper is this?
Sometimes I am asked what type of paper this is supposed to be. Students might ask if this an argumentative paper, compare and contrast paper, research paper, persuasive paper, process paper, etc. But if I were to label it as a type of paper, then we would have more debate and discussion about what that "type" of paper really is or means.
So just stick with the basics. You get to pick a topic, you write about the topic you pick, and you do lots of research, thought, writing, and editing to convey that topic.
- Final paper project (this page)
Writing resources include
- How to Write a Paper
- Paper Submission Checklist
- A Guide to Citations and References
- Helpful Legal Resources and Links
- The school's writing center.
Research resources include
- Start with what is already a part of this course, including assigned reading!
- Course book
- Syllabus materials
- This website
- Laws, statutes, regulations, cases
- Then look for materials the above reference
- Then look for other reliable sources
- The school's library.
Watch me walk through these instructions in a short video
- The video should be embedded below, if not you can find it on YouTube at https://youtu.be/SWuVBDd3mnw
Posted 10/18/2022 based on years of teaching. Updated 9/10/2023