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Explore the Genre of Research Papers


What is a Research Paper?

Develop a clear enough understanding of the characteristics of research to be able to explain your understanding to others.

Time To Complete 

1-2 Hours

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.5
  • CCRA.W.7

I Can Statements 

  • I will know my exploration of research papers is of high quality when:
    • I can identify the elements that define research papers, such as main idea or thesis, supporting evidence, citation of sources.

Suggestions for Assessing Student Readiness to Move Forward:

  • Confer with students to check their understanding of the elements of research papers.
  • Provide students an anchor text and ask them to code or otherwise identify the elements of a research paper.
Possible Activities 
  1. Conduct a mini-lesson on research papers, describing the key stages in the process. Include organizational structure, form, and approach.

  2. Provide several exemplars. Ask students to select two or three to examine and create a list of similarities in structure, craft, and form. Or use a jigsaw format, where students work in groups, and each group reads texts about the different types of research and examines a different exemplar. Then reorganize the groups so that the new groups each have one representative from the former group, and each representative shares their learning with the others in this new group to create a collective understanding of the genre.  

  3. Provide the students with a copy of the rubric and ask them to work in pairs or small groups to highlight what they notice in the rubric. Have each group share out with the class. Conduct a mini-lesson to review the essential components of doing research. 

  4. Have students break into groups and discuss how they think research has changed their lives. This can help to focus students on issues and shift the thinking from creating a report to conducting research. Share examples of high school science students who have done meaningful research around the country (see below). Lead a student brainstorming of possible partners for other research topics (e.g., historical societies or engineering firms).

Downloadable Resources 
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