Research Paper Checklist

Research Checklist

Use the checklist below to help you write your research paper.  Click on the handy links to find web resources to help you!  If your teacher is using an I-Search process, be sure to keep a journal of what you did for each step.Here is a great site from Kentucky Virtual Library that walks you through the entire process!


1.       Choose a topic. (Also try this site)

a.       A topic may be limited to what your teacher assigns.

b.      If you are able to choose your own topic, think about:

                                                               i.      Favorite school subjects

                                                             ii.      An interesting career

                                                            iii.      An interesting magazine or newspaper article

                                                           iv.      An interesting website

                                                             v.      A current news story

                                                           vi.      Your extracurricular activities

You will write your best paper if you choose a topic which you find interesting. Avoid choosing a topic because you think you will find a lot of information; you can get easily overwhelmed.

2.       Discuss your topic with friends, teachers, parents, and librarians and decide on a question about your topic.

3.       Write down what you already know about the topic

4.       Brainstorm

a.       narrower topics related to your question that you need to find more information about to help you answer your question

b.      key words related to your question

c.       Use InstaGrok and Visuwords to help you find related topics and keywords

d.    Use Wikipedia and Britannica Online Encyclopedia to gain more background knowledge, help you organize or narrow your topic, find more keywords, develop a better question

5.       Write down the places you would need to go to find out the information you need to answer your question:

a.       School library

b.      Public library

c.       Experts

d.      Teachers

e.      Internet

6.       What types of information do you need?

a.       Books

b.      Encyclopedias

c.       Magazine and newspaper articles

d.      Websites

e.      Interviews

f.        Video sources

7.       Gather your sources and begin reading.

a.       Check out the table of contents, the index, and skim through your source to see if it might help you answer your question.

b.      Decide if the source is a good source, use RADCAB:

                                                               i.      Is it relevant to my question

                                                             ii.      Is it appropriate: does it make sense, is it accurate, is it right for my age and values?

                                                            iii.      Is there enough details I can use?

                                                           iv.      Is the information current?

                                                             v.      Does the author have authority to write on this topic?

                                                           vi.      Is there a bias? Is someone trying to persuade me?

c.       Then fill out a bibliographic form for each source (source cards) with the bibliographic information (author, title, publisher, etc.) Number each card. See the librarian for help.

8.       Write your outline

a.       Begin with an introduction including (but not necessarily in this order)

                                                               i.      Stating your problem, thesis, or purpose

                                                             ii.      Offering some sort of interesting fact, anecdote, or reaction that captures the reader’s attention which will convey the need for the reader to be interested in this topic

b.      Organize your information  and findings in a particular order. Although you will have an idea on what kinds of information you need, you may need to organize the order in which you present the information later after gathering all your information. Some examples are:

                                                               i.      Time (A. first this happened,  B. then this, C. last this…)

                                                             ii.      Similarities or differences (A. Similarities, B. Differences)

                                                            iii.      Possible solutions, or causes, or effects (A. solution one, B. solution two, C. solution three)

                                                           iv.      Reasons why (It is this way because A. reason, B. reason, and C. reason)