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Unit Outline - Writing a Research Paper

Mick Vickroy

Primary Subject (elementary) or Course (secondary):

Grade Level:

This unit will contain the information necessary for students to be able to see a research paper through from conception to completion. Past courses and units should have prepared the student for researching by providing research essay opportunities. The research paper will allow the student to explore their topic more thoroughly and will require additional skills to manage the information researched. Students will learn to select a topic, build a thesis statement, create a bibliography, research and organize the information, evaluate their sources, generate drafts, proofread and format their research paper, among other skills.

Unit Objectives (include 4 or 5):

  • Student will understand…
    • The different types of research papers.
    • The process of topic selection.
    • The process of building a bibliography and source documentation.
    • The process of evaluating sources.
    • The process of organizing information.
    • The writing process: drafting, editing, and revising.
    • Proofreading and formatting.

  • Student will be able to…
    • Select a topic for a research paper.
    • Identify the target audience.
    • Build a thesis.
    • Build an annotated bibliography, evaluate sources, and provide source documentation throughout the work.
    • Organize information into manageable categories.
    • Write and revise the work until it meets or exceeds requirements.
    • Proofread and format the document.

Time Required:

Research Paper Rubric



  • Introduction to research papers as a form of exploration.

Lesson 1 - Scavenger Hunt
(Link Currently Broken)

Lesson 2 - Topic Selection

  • A brief explanation of techniques to help students narrow their focus from a broad topic to a more manageable one.

Lesson 3 - Types of Research Papers

Lesson 4 - Building a Thesis

Lesson 5 - Source Documentation, Evaluation, and Organization

  • A discussion of the different types of research material and determining the quality of each.

Lesson 6 - Organizing Information

Lesson 7 - Writing Drafts

Lesson 8 - Proofreading and Formatting

Lesson 9 -
Presentation (Link Currently Broken)
  • - Podcast containing tips to help students prepare for presentation of their research topic.

Lesson 10- Research Project - The Sun

Related Videos

  • Video 1 is an informational piece that discusses techniques in organizing a research paper.
  • Video 2 is an informational video in which students relate what they have experienced in writing a paper.
  • Video 3 is an entertaining video of students' encounter with the "Research Paper Fairy."
  • Video 4 is an classroom discussion about the "Topoi" - a technique helpful in evaluating and forming research paper topics.
  • Video 5 is an informational video discussing the steps in the complete process of writing a research paper.