This page will assist you in designing a research project for any class or topic. Follow the steps below to begin! Please see Mr. Harding in the library if you need assistance or if you have questions.
STEP 1: Identifying the topic of your research (creating a research/inquiry question).
Your teacher will provide you with the general topic guidelines for your research topic.
Library databases are password protected. You must be logged into your school Google account to view database passwords. (View passwords by clicking the "Database Passwords" button on the research page.
This USER GUIDE will assist you in accessing and using our library databases.
Identifying a research/inquiry question. Try framing your research as a question about your topic! For example...
Word History: Why did the threat of additional nuclear destruction not deter the Japanese Empire even after Hiroshima? Why did the German public allow the Nazi's to come to power? Did the invention of the movable type printing press truly redefine history?
Art/Film/Music: In what way(s) does lighting affect the mood or tone of media? What components of a musical score (tempo, meter, dissonance/chord structure, volume, instrumentation, etc.) make it suitable for a particular scene in a movie? Does art matter? Should the arts be mandatory in school?
English: Are the characters in a novel realistic? In what way did the societal values of the late 19th and early 20th centuries reflect the work of Rudyard Kipling? How do the literary devices such as metaphor, simile, personification and irony affect the tone of a particular poem? Is rap/hip-hip considered poetry?
Science: Should agriculture be forced to become organic? What role should ethics play in stem cell research? Should human DNA be manipulated to produce healthier people? Is space exploration necessary? What is the effect of pesticide runoff on local water supplies?
Physical Education: Is there such a thing as too much exercise? What is the MOST important factor affecting obesity in the United States? What are the best types of diets for teenagers? Are energy drinks dangerous?
STEP 2: Identifying sources to help you answer your research question.
You will now work on finding sources for your research and then make decisions about which sources are BEST to help you answer your research question. While the Internet contains TONS of information, much of it is not credible or authoritative. For this project you will only use sources from our library databases.
In order to help you organize your sources, complete a SOURCE SHEET for each of the sources you would like to use. Your teacher will tell you how many source sheets are required for this project.
Courtesy of Annette Brown
STEP 3: From source sheets to outline.
Once you have collected information on your source sheets, it is time to start putting it all together into an outline of your research paper. EACH source sheet will become ONE paragraph in your paper. Each paragraph should contain its own idea. These paragraphs will make up the BODY of your research paper.
For each of your source sheets, do the following (for example, if you are required to have 5 sources, you will do this process 5 times):
Write a topic sentence based on the argument/claim you would like to make. Each argument/claim should be based on the EVIDENCE you collected on your source sheet.
Write a paragraph about this topic sentence. In your paragraph, you may use short quotes from the source or simply restate the sources ideas. Remember to cite your sources! (See citation tools)
NOTE: It is okay to include information from another source sheet if you feel that the ideas are related. Remember to always cite your source.
Courtesy of Annette Brown
STEP 4: From outline to draft (writing your paper and citing sources)
Here, you will put your outline together with an introduction and a conclusion. Your introduction should state the research question and provide the reader with a brief background of the issue or problem.
As you write your body paragraphs, make sure that you cite any and all information and quotes that you found in your research.
In your conclusion, you should attempt to ANSWER your research question. To do this, restate and summarize the evidence that you have presented in your body paragraphs.
The structure of your research paper may look like this:
Body paragraph 1
Body paragraph 2
Body paragraph 3
Works Cited or References page
STEP 5: From draft to final draft.
Here is where you put the finishing touches on your research paper. You'll want to submit your VERY BEST work so it is important that you do the following:
Have someone proofread your paper.
Check for errors in grammar, spelling and logic.
Ensure that EVERY SINGLE SOURCE is cited WITHIN THE TEXT of your paper (see citation tools)
Construct a Works Cited or References page (depending on your assigned style...MLA or APA)
NOTE: Most citation styles require a 12 point Times New Roman font. Your paper should also be double spaced. It may or may not require a title page depending on your teacher's requirements.
Overview: This brief presentation reviews the importance of citations, copyright and fair use. It also provides you with clear examples of how to cite your sources.