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Research Paper

Getting Started

A research paper is an expanded essay that presents your own interpretation or evaluation or argument.

When you write an essay, you use everything that you personally know and have thought about a subject.

When you write a research paper you build upon what you know about the subject and make a deliberate attempt to find out what experts know. A research paper involves surveying a field of knowledge in order to find the best possible information in that field. And that survey can be orderly and focused, if you know how to approach it. Don't worry--you won't get lost in a sea of sources.

WARNING! Do not write a research paper! Well... yet. The purpose of these next two weeks will be to learn the process of writing a research paper. If you turn in a research paper without going through this process the you have not completed the goal of these two weeks!

Pick A Topic

Time to pick a topic for your research paper. Any of the below topics are approved:



Leonardo da Vinci


Cell Phones



Bubble Gum


Comic Books



Rain Forests


Soft Drinks





Genetic Engineering




The Sun


King Arthur

Video Games


Giant Squids




If you want to write on a different topic then it must be approved by Mr. Incorvia.

Think long and hard about your topic. Once your topic is approved you may not change your topic.

Question Cards

Now it is time to generate some questions about your topic. Imagine that your topic is PIRATES. Here are some example questions you might come up with:

  1. When were the most pirates on the seas?

  2. Did pirates really make people walk the planks?

  3. What did pirates steal?

  4. Was there really a "pirate code?"

  5. Who were the most famous pirates?

  6. Do pirates really have anything to do with global warming?

  7. What kinds of swords did pirates use?

  8. Did pirates really bury their treasure?

  9. Why did pirates wear eye-patches?

  10. Where did the whole 'pirates vs. ninjas' thing start?

Create question cards as described in class. More details to appear here in the future.

Hamburger Outline

Make one as described in class.

Make a Works Cited

A Works Cited is a document you add to the end of your research paper showing people where you got all your information. It is important because:
  1. You don't want to steal other people's original research
  2. You can fail assignments without a works cited or even be expelled from college by lacking one
  3. People reading your research paper will want to read more and follow your sources
Head over to EasyBib and follow the instructions for creating citations from the web addresses on your question cards.

Next, put all of your different citations in alphabetical order on a google doc called: Research Paper Works Cited.

First Draft

It is time to use your Hamburger Outline to help you type up your first draft.

You should have 5 paragraphs in the same order as your outline.