How to Write a Senior Project Paper


Many schools require their seniors to produce a senior project, complete with an essay. These projects typically involve in-depth research in which you must dive into a subject by reading books, visit appropriate locations and interview experts. A senior project prepares you for the academic and professional world by introducing you to long-term research projects. Many projects are extended essays, with a requirement of several thousand words.

  • Review the guidelines for your project. The average senior project focuses on a single thesis or argument. In most cases, this is an extended essay and may be 10 or more pages long.

  • Organize your research into an outline. Create two to four main subtopics for your research essay. Include facts that relate to each subtopic under a capital or bold heading. This will give you a loose frame for your essay. If you have been working on the project all year, creating an outline helps remind you of all the different facts you have found.

  • Create the thesis for your senior project essay. The thesis states the main point of the paper -- the point you spend the rest of the paper trying to prove. For example, a research project on photographers may include the thesis, "Photographers learn to see the world with a unique view that extends beyond their artistic work." A different thesis for the same topic might say, "Photographers often struggle to start a stable career, but those who are talented eventually succeed."

  • Write the introduction for your senior project. The first sentence of the introduction should frame the topic in an interesting manner, such as "Many believe that photographers are artists who are too lazy to pick up a paintbrush." The first sentence should intrigue the reader with an unexpected fact or joke. Write another few sentences of the introduction, providing some background information on the topic. End the introduction with your thesis.

  • Start your first body paragraph with a statement about the point you are trying to prove. Spend the next few sentences providing necessary background and backing up your point with facts or anecdotes. End the paragraph with a re-statement of your thesis using different wording. If possible, include a hint of what you will talk about in your next paragraph. You may write something like, "Many photographers struggle through school, unable to find rewarding work; but few get into photography for the financial rewards." This would sum up your paragraph about initial struggles and lead into a paragraph about why photographers devote their lives to their art.

  • Compose your next body paragraph, starting with a statement of the sub-point. Include necessary facts and anecdotes and end with a re-statement of the point. Move on to your next paragraph, working in this fashion until you have completed the body of the essay. Depending on the scope of your paper, you may spend several paragraphs on each aspect of your subpoints or contain each subpoint in its own paragraph.

  • End the essay with a conclusion. The conclusion should start with a few sentences that sum up your main points and end with a re-statement of your thesis. Close with an interesting anecdote or summation of your points to keep your essay interesting.


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