A physics term paper is a long document composed as the culminating project for a physics course. Physics term papers will almost always involve investigation into a specific area of physics and then require that the student demonstrate how that specific area fits in to the context of physics of a whole. Physics term papers are therefore not simply articles that report on one topic, but texts that demonstrate that the student grasps the scope of knowledge presented throughout the physics course. A physics term paper will typically be about ten pages. To fill these ten pages demands an indepth analysis or exploration into the topic. Therefore, the student should select a topic that he or she can discuss in an indepth way. Often, a topic for a physics term paper will arise when a student finds herself captivated or challenged by a particular physics concept. It is always best to select such a topic, because the genuine interest put into the research and execution of a report on a topic of interest to the learner will make the process more rewarding, and will often result in a better text. Every physics report should have a thesis. A thesis is a statement or group of statements that asserts the writer's point or idea about the topic. Often in a physics term paper, theses will argue for a specific interpretation of a physics concept. For instance, if the student's paper is on the effect of gravity on air travel, she may present a thesis that argues for the superiority of one theory regarding the effect of gravity on air travel over others. The thesis should be stated in precise language and in such a way that there is no confusion whatsoever what the writer's primary argument is. The body of the document should explore the selected topic in a methodical way that progresses in a general to specific order. The beginning pages of the document should therefore introduce the topic, assert the thesis, and provide a complete explanation or definition of the topic and its relevance. After these items have been fully clarified, it should delve into more complex ideas in order to fully develop the argument put forth in the thesis. The report should end by suggesting the writer's overall interpretations and/or ideas about the significance of the information put forth. Most physics term papers will explore their topics using not only text, but also diagrams and illustrations. Diagrams and illustrations are excellent tools for explanation when integrated successfully into the text. To do this requires the writer to both introduce the diagram or illustration in the body of the text before the figure appears, and then to devote several sentences or perhaps even paragraphs to the explanation of the figure. A figure should never stand alone without commentary and/or interpretation from the writer.
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