Can you explain what a college paper/essay is?

I have a feeling I might be misunderstanding the term? It wasn't really a thing in my university. During the four years of chemical engineering course, we were sometimes asked to write a thesis, but it was pretty rare and when we were, nobody really cared if it was "plagiarised" or not as long as it looks decent. What is a "paper/essay"in a western university? They seem to make a big part of the education process. Is it only a thing in humanitarian classes or would you write one for a STEM class as well? 


Which subjects would require the student to write a paper and what are the requirements when writing one?

3 Answers

  • DON W
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Most college papers are research papers, where you investigate a subject using scholarly resources, and develop a thesis or conclusion.  They are most common in the social sciences (such as history, political science, sociology, etc.) and in the humanities (such as English composition, etc.).  They are least likely in the sciences, although science/math majors will have to take a few of the humanities and the social sciences in their first and second years in college where they will likely have to write at least a few papers.

  • 1 month ago

    There is a difference between an essay and a research paer, often CALLED?a term paper,  but you might have to write more than one such paper per term. An honors thesis, a master's thesis and a doctoral dissertation of ten require a written and oral proposal and defense. 

    No, it is not just humanities courses. ALL engineering students at the University of Oklahoma were REQUIRED to take and pass a technical writing course?with a grade of C or higher. It was a junior level English course taught by English department faculty. We did work together in groups. ALL STEM majors, especially graduate students, were encouraged to take the course. You did NOT get graduate credit hours for taking the course. When I took the course , I was an undergraduate working on my THIRD bachelors degree, a B.S. in physical geography. When the course?started there were only 2 students who were NOT engineering students. A lot of people dropped the class the first week of the semester. 

    Page length and word count of research papers varied with each class. These days you usually have to be able to do Power Point presentations. Group projects are often required. 

    Plagiarizing has become an increasing problem. There has?been more than one case of a scientist or a group of scientists?or engineers using someone else's data, changing a few days points, and publishing it. Then years later the original author or an alert student or post doc realizes some thing has been plagiarized. 

    Ironically, it is now possible to plagiarize yourself. I hope the software has?improved in the last 6 years. 

  • 1 month ago

    It's not a thing for STEM majors. We might write a design report or something, but it's not a college essay.

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