Research Paper Guidelines

Writing a Research Report * OJHS * Eighth Grade * Ms. Hawksworth

NOTE: This is an old page. I’m going to leave it up for reference as most of the material still applies, but this year’s research paper is slightly different.

o Choose a topic.
o Gather research. You need a minimum of three sources, and they can’t all be websites. Any other combination is fine.
o Compile a rough draft of your Works Cited to make sure you have all of the information you need. If you realize you are missing something (the author, the date, etc.) you still have time to go back and locate it.
o Take notes on your information. It’s best to do this on notecards so that you can easily shuffle the cards around to sort out what your sub-topics will be and determine which ideas you will talk about first, second, etc.
o Make sure that you put a code on each card so you know which source to give the credit. (Perhaps use “W” for a Wikipedia article, “CW” for the Civil War website, “BG” for the Battle of Gettysburg book, etc.) This may not seem important now, but when you start using citations, it WILL matter.
o Write a rough draft of your research paper. See the handout about Citations. Aim for 10 good paragraphs. This will include a paragraph or two for your introduction and a paragraph or two for the conclusion. Make sure to mention your three sub-topics in the intro.
o The body of your paper will probably be the longest part of your paper, and it should be anywhere from five to ten paragraphs. This is where you want the majority of the facts, quotes, ideas, and concepts you gleaned from your research. (Remember to use citations!)
o Have at least one other person read your rough draft and give you advice. Does it make sense? Does it flow? Is it interesting? Are there any spots that need work?
o Rewrite and revise. Type it if you haven’t yet. Print a copy for at least one person to help with editing and proofreading.
o Type your final draft of the Works Cited. Remember, we are using MLA style, so this means that you double-space it and use a “hanging indent.” A hanging indent is what allows your entries to be on the left margin for the first line and indented one TAB or five spaces for subsequent lines. If your word processing program doesn’t make this easy, do a search on hanging indents for your particular program (“hanging indents for Microsoft Word 2010,” for example) to see how to format it. If you set that up, it then becomes easy to type the information, with the program indenting for you as you type. You will still have to select it and change the format to double-spacing, as that is not the default most of the time. Ask if you need help! 
o Print your final draft of your paper. Make sure you put a heading on the first page. Staple them with the W/C on the back. No cover pages, please. No special report covers, please. 

Points Possible: 200

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