How to Write a Seminar Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn How to Write a Seminar Paper

Writing and planning a seminar paper can be quite a challenge for any student. For many students, it is unusual to deal scientifically with a question or research question. In addition, you must be able to identify the overall problem and then derive specific work steps.

In this article, we would like to show you how to successfully plan and write a seminar paper. It’s not that difficult at all. If you have already dealt with the topic thoroughly, you are already on the right track. In addition to the content, the formal aspect of the work, namely the layout, should not be disregarded.

What is a seminar paper?

You write a seminar paper over a long period. As a result, this type of work is a headache for many students. With an exam, you learn at short notice and therefore you do not have to deal with the topic for a long time. When planning and preparing a seminar paper, you will have to deal with the work and the problem every day. Planning a seminar paper alone takes a lot of time. You must find a suitable topic. Furthermore, you must find a scientific problem that you want to solve with your seminar paper. Then you must research the literature operate and create a plan for the processing of all work steps so that you can submit your work on time. The curious thing is that planning your work will take you a lot more time than writing your work. If you have planned your term paper correctly from the beginning, then writing will only take up a fraction of the total time. Writing a seminar paper is exhausting. Therefore, you will also learn important key competencies and skills that you will need later in your job. During the planning and writing of your thesis, you will acquire the following important skills:

  • You will acquire techniques of scientific work. This includes literature research, indirect and direct quotations, and dealing with a scientific problem over a longer period.
  • You will acquire the relevant specialist vocabulary.
  • You will understand the topic and be able to find a solution.

Tips for planning a seminar paper

You should not underestimate the planning of a seminar paper. Believe it or not, it represents the bulk of your work. Planning takes the most time. But if you do this correctly, the writing process will be very easy for you. In the following, we will show you what you need to consider when planning.

  • Find a seminar paper topic

It is not that easy to find a topic for the seminar paper. If your lecturer does not specify a topic, then you are on your own. In general, it would be good if you look again at all the topics, contents, and discussion points of the seminar. This gives you a basis for finding your topic. You should also proceed in such a way that you structure and prioritize the ideas found in a brainstorming session. But you must find a topic that interests you.

  • Literature research seminar paper

Now we come to the literature research. You should always have the goal in mind to back up you’re reasoning with sources. Finally, you can search for suitable sources for your work in the following places:

  1. The library: There is hardly a better place at the university to look for literature. In a library, you will not only find books but also electronic media that you can use for research. For example, you can use the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog). In this way, you will ensure an excellent overview of the available literature on your topic.
  2. Electronic journal directory: The electronic journal directory allows you to search for magazines or specialist journals. Scientific journals are often seen as sources. They are often written in sophisticated language and deal with current and practical cases.
  3. Internet: The Internet is also a convenient way to find suitable sources. You can use the services of Google Scholar and Google Books. It can also happen from time to time that some books are not fully illustrated on these services. You will find a good overview of the sources that you need here. The tables of contents also give you a good reference point for your further research.

Discussion of the topic of a seminar paper

You have now carried out a thorough literature search. So, you can start to create the first outline for your work. In the beginning, your outline should be rough, as it will adapt in the course of your work. The best way to do this is to secure a consultation hour with your lecturer to discuss your topic together. Your professor can also give you useful tips on your topic. This conversation is extremely valuable for you because in this way your approach will be approved, and you are on the safe side.

Structure of a seminar paper

Now it’s down to the nitty-gritty. You have certainly already started primary research. Furthermore, it can be assumed that you have already recorded the first research results. Now you must have a big mess of all kinds of data. When writing your seminar paper, it is now a matter of putting down all results, analyses, and interpretations in writing. But that’s not that easy at all. In this step, you must acquire the ability to structure and order all results. It is best to start with the introduction.

Is it difficult for you to write or do you think you have writer’s block and are pushing this part in front of you? Then you should simply find out here how you can solve your writer’s block. Of course, correct academic work also means being able to quote correctly.


In the introduction to the seminar paper for you, it is now a matter of presenting your topic. Now you must justify why you want to deal with the topic you have chosen. So, you should not only have an interest in the topic but also be able to convince future readers of your views. In a further step, you have justified your topic and now bring your question to the fore. In this way, you create a foundation for yourself and prevent your seminar paper from becoming a mere string of facts. Rather, you deliver a paper with information that will answer your research questions. Finally, you explain the approach you have chosen. Here you go into which research methods you have used.


The main part of the seminar paper represents the most demanding part. The most important thing is that a common thread is recognizable in your work. To do this, you should structure your work in such a way that your arguments and sub-chapters are logically linked. The literature you have analysed serves as a basis for developing a comprehensible argumentation. You use it to show the gaps that exist in the research. Then you start with the practical part. Here you show what results in your analysis and interpretation have brought.


In the final part of the conclusion of the seminar paper, you formulate the answers to your question. You must match the ending with your introduction. Then you summarize everything that you have shown in the main part. Be careful not to deliver any new results. At the end of the conclusion, you give a prognosis or an outlook.

Final Thought

As you can see, when writing a seminar paper, the precise planning of the individual work steps in advance is particularly important. This not only saves you from careless gaps in your argumentation structure but also helps you to bring systematics into the recording and solution of your research question. Once you’ve got the hang of the extensive preparatory work, your argumentative analysis develops almost by itself. The nice thing about writing a seminar paper is that you can gain completely new insights into a scientific topic and make them accessible to a wider public.