English 3 Semester 1 Research Paper


Think of all the objects or concepts that you require to get through a normal day. Indoor plumbing, electricity, your car, your shoes, paper, writing utensils, the ability to refrigerate food, the Internet! All of these were invented or thought up by someone (or multiple someones). Without these, your life, and society as a whole, would be drastically different. Albert Einstein once said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them" (Liebert, Inventors and innovators are special people. They see a problem, and devise a way (or ways) to solve that problem. Society has come to where it is today because of inventions and innovations. The world of invention and innovation is vast, and often we do not think about the origins of the things we use every day. Perhaps it is time we did.

In Mrs. Rickertsen's English 3 class, you will be writing a research paper on an invention of your choice. This paper will introduce you to the scope and sequence of the research and writing that will be required for your larger research paper, written during the second semester. For this paper, it will be your responsibility to peruse the sources available to you and to choose an invention for which enough information is available, and which has an interesting history. The school library has many resources available for you to use, both in print and electronically. Here are the requirements for your paper:

  • 3-5 pages, typed, double spaced
  • Arial or Times New Roman font, size 12
  • MLA formatting for your paper and your in-text citations
  • A complete Works Cited page at the end of your paper
  • A minimum of 3 book sources and 1-2 electronic sources must be cited in your paper.

Essential Questions

There are a few questions you should use to guide your research and help outline your paper. These are not necessarily the only questions you should be working on answering, but should be helpful to you in sorting through the information that you find about your invention.

1. Why did (insert inventor) create (insert invention)?

2. How did the obstacles (insert inventor) encountered push him or her to change (or not change) their ideas or invention?

3. How did (insert invention) affect society as a whole when it was first invented?

4. How has/does (insert invention) leave its mark in the 21st century?

Now What?

Now that you have your essential questions, how should you start?

  • Choose a topic. Think of an invention or innovation that interests you. Look through some of the print resources, do a few online searches, and determine which topic will work for you and your paper.
  • Begin researching. Start with the basic facts about the invention and its inventor, (who, what, where, when, why, how) and then get down to the details by looking for information based on the essential questions.