Three Types of Research Papers:
Research Report: Here, you search a wide variety of sources on a topic to gain a deeper understanding about that topic. Your goal is to explain and clarify the facts and opinions, not interpret them yourself.
Position Paper (Argumentative): In a position paper, you research a wide variety of facts and opinions pertaining to a controversial topic, reading all sides of the issue, in order to develop your own opinion/stance* about the topic. Your goal is to build a logical argument to convince your reader that your stance is valid or correct. (*This becomes your thesis)
Analytical Research Paper: The analytical research paper often begins with the student asking a question (a.k.a. a research question) on which he has taken no stance. Such a paper is often an exercise in exploration and evaluation. Though a topic may be debatable and controversial, it is not the student's intent to persuade the audience that his ideas are right while those of others are wrong. Instead, his goal is to offer a critical interpretation of primary and secondary sources throughout the paper‐‐sources that should, ultimately, support his particular analysis of the topic. The following is an example of what his thesis statement may look like once he has completed his research.
When you ask students to write based on research, we suggest you:
- Know and be confident using school library database subscriptions
- Collaborate with librarian/media specialist to access materials for students. Allow class time to visit library (1‐4 days)
- Instruct students in how to gather and record information/evidence from both primary and secondary sources using a prescribed method such as index cards, notebook, laptop, digital camera, video camera, digital recorder, etc.
- Expect students access and use multiple sources in various formats to effectively develop work.
- Give clear and specific expectations to students (for example, as delineated by Perdue Owl, common core, topic focus etc...)
- Give the students a specific focus....even the THESIS STATEMENT (remember a topic and a thesis are different).
- Distribute and review your rubric at the time work is assigned (access district rubrics on Aspen: ELA page: Rubrics) There is a rubric that rates and a rubric that scores...
- Show students how to annotate sources (annotated bibliography) in which they summarize, evaluate, and reflect on each source to determine which sources are relevant and appropriate to their argument. (You can “model” how this is done using an actual source—if everyone has the same topic) cite strong and thorough evidence to support the claim thesis and integrate these within the body of the paper. (No fewer than four sources cited in this essay).
- Remind students to include citations for both direct quotations and paraphrased words and ideas (using correctly formatted MLA parenthetical documentation)
- Grade individual research steps (note‐taking, drafts, outline, thesis development, research, etc.) to monitor student progress towards meeting requirements to ensure success by giving feedback along the way...not to mention your reading quality work!
- Model writing process if and when necessary.
- Ask students to use MLA format throughout the paper and include a Works Cited page.
- Review school policy on Plagiarism as needed.