Research Paper Information
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What is a research paper?
When you have found a lot of information on a
specific topic and you write about it in paragraph format, you have
written a research paper. A research paper can be any length, but
it is a formal paper that includes documentation of the
sources where you found your information. It includes a title
page, outline, text with documentation, and a bibliography.
The text of the paper needs an introduction and conclusion.
To make your paper clear and show the relationship between facts,
opinions, and other ideas, you must use transitional phrases
to lead your reader from paragraph to paragraph. In a research
paper, your goal is to prove your “thesis statement” to the
reader. A thesis statement is the main idea of the whole paper.
Why write a research paper?
Finding information is fundamental to just about
everything in life. Granted, you may not need to write about all
the research you explore, especially in a formal format, but
learning how to do just that teaches many skills. If you are
planning to attend college, chances are very high that you will need
to do at least one (probably many more) research paper during your
time studying there. Research is also common in the workplace. You
may be asked to find information on different pieces of equipment or
techniques. Your boss will expect you to use more than one source
and be able to compare the facts to determine what is best for the
company. Research papers will sharpen your library skills, teach
you how to properly use documentation, give you experience in formal
writing, and let you practice your typing skills.
What are the steps involved in writing a research paper?
Working through the process of finding information,
organizing, writing, and presenting on a topic is a lengthy ordeal.
We will spend a month at least, probably more, on this unit. You
will be given a folder to keep everything related to this project
in. Do not throw away anything!! We will begin by choosing
a topic. After preliminary research has been done, you will be able
to develop a general outline of what you will further research and
write about. While you find information, you will keep track of
your sources and take notes from them. When you feel you have
enough information, you will begin to organize your notes based on
your general outline. You will likely find some information that
you want to include that doesn’t fit. As a result, the general
outline will be revised and refined with additions and deletions
until it is detailed enough to include everything you feel is
Once this information-finding process is complete,
you will begin writing. Your notes have already been organized so
the first draft is easy to get onto paper. As we know, the essence
of writing comes in editing and revision, and this is a long part of
the process. You will look for and change spelling errors, word
usage mistakes, and other typical proofreading items. However, you
will also need to decide if your paper flows nicely from idea to
idea. If you have not included an introduction and conclusion,
these must be added. You will also need to decide which information
is common knowledge and which you should document to credit your
When you decide that your paper is at its best, you
will choose, if you haven’t already, an appropriate title. The
final printing of the research paper includes a title page along
with your final outline and paper. It also has a bibliography, or
works cited, page at the end detailing your sources.
When do I have to have this done?
As stated before, this will be a lengthy project.
You will have several due dates to help you keep on track. Most of
these will be decided as we go so I know each student is ready to
move on to the next step. Use this page to write the due dates on
as you get them.
1. Research Paper Proposal (5):
2. Preliminary outline ( ): _________________
3. Revised outline/preliminary thesis ( ):
with all sources and at least 15
note cards started
4. Revised outline/50% of notecards (
5. Completed notecards (total number) (
6. Final outline and coded notecards (20, 20):
7. First draft (50): _____________________
with detailed final outline, text,
bibliography, and 2 peer editors’ notes
8. Second draft (30): ___________________
with draft of title page, final
outline, text, and bibliography
also turn in your coded note
cards and source cards
*CONFERENCING WITH TEACHER*
9. Final copy (30): _____________________
in published form
You will be given the due dates as we go, and based on time
constraints and extension needs some dates may change.
What do I need to know to get this done?
We will go through each step in class, but this will
serve as a general description of the different areas of the
process. The extra space between each step is for any notes you
choose to add during class discussions.
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