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Writing A Research Paper Middle School

Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

Students will use scaffolding to research and organize information for writing a research paper. A research paper scaffold provides students with clear support for writing expository papers that include a question (problem), literature review, analysis, methodology for original research, results, conclusion, and references. Students examine informational text, use an inquiry-based approach, and practice genre-specific strategies for expository writing. Depending on the goals of the assignment, students may work collaboratively or as individuals. A student-written paper about color psychology provides an authentic model of a scaffold and the corresponding finished paper. The research paper scaffold is designed to be completed during seven or eight sessions over the course of four to six weeks.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

O'Day, S. (2006) Setting the stage for creative writing: Plot scaffolds for beginning and intermediate writers. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • Research paper scaffolding provides a temporary linguistic tool to assist students as they organize their expository writing. Scaffolding assists students in moving to levels of language performance they might be unable to obtain without this support.

  • An instructional scaffold essentially changes the role of the teacher from that of giver of knowledge to leader in inquiry. This relationship encourages creative intelligence on the part of both teacher and student, which in turn may broaden the notion of literacy so as to include more learning styles.

  • An instructional scaffold is useful for expository writing because of its basis in problem solving, ownership, appropriateness, support, collaboration, and internalization. It allows students to start where they are comfortable, and provides a genre-based structure for organizing creative ideas.

 

Biancarosa, G., and Snow, C. E. (2004.) Reading next-A vision for action and research in middle and high school literacy: A report from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.

  • In order for students to take ownership of knowledge, they must learn to rework raw information, use details and facts, and write.

  • Teaching writing should involve direct, explicit comprehension instruction, effective instructional principles embedded in content, motivation and self-directed learning, and text-based collaborative learning to improve middle school and high school literacy.

  • Expository writing, because its organizational structure is rooted in classical rhetoric, needs to be taught.

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By Phil Nast, retired middle school teacher and freelance writer

Found In:language arts, 9-12

A+ Writing Research Paper Guide includes a step-by-step guide to researching and writing a paper, an information search guide, and links to online resources. NOTE:After 20 years of service, ipl2 is now closed permanently. You may continue using the ipl2 website. However, the site will no longer be updated, and no other services will be available.

Step by Step Research & Writing recognizes that writing a research paper is only half the labor. Exploring subjects, locating information, analyzing issues, and organizing arguments require different skills than writing. Six steps prepare students to:

  • understand an assignment,
  • choose a topic,
  • narrow the focus,
  • gather information to support a topic,
  • form a thesis statement, and finally
  • write and revise the paper.

Each step has additional substeps. For example, Step 1 - Getting Started lists 8 considerations, many of which teachers would consider part of the prewriting stage of the familiar 5-step writing process. Step 1.1 Understanding the Assignment would seem obvious but can’t be stressed enough. (This is the number one step in the “Eisenberg & Berkowitz Big6 Information Problem Solving Process.” Teachers may find the Big6 poster and slideshow useful.) In addition, each step includes links to supporting tips, articles, and forms.

Info Search has an overview of library and web research and links to academic tutorials for the library and web research and interpretation and evaluation of information. A separate section on search strategies is included. As with the research and writing guide, links to supporting materials are provided.

Finally, Links connects to off-site resources on research and writing.

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