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!
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
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
5. Write down the places you would need to go to find out the information you need to answer your question:
6. What types of information do you need?
c. Magazine and newspaper articles
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?
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)