How to Do a 5th Grade Research Paper
Fifth grade is a turning point for many students because it is the school year when academic demands increase. By fifth grade, it becomes clear which students exhibit gifts or challenges in certain areas, such as writing. Although most students will have written research papers in fourth grade or earlier, a fifth grade objective is to write a research paper of more than four pages that is in-depth and better sourced. Writing a fifth-grade research paper may seem daunting, but it just involves selecting a topic, researching it and writing the paper.
Explore this article
- Think about what interests you
- Once you select your topic
- Visit the library
- Read your sources and take notes
- Once you have gathered all your sources
- Organize your ideas using an outline
- Write your first draft
- Has several paragraphs
- Write the bibliography
- Proofread your paper
1 Think about what interests you
Think about what interests you. If something strikes your curiosity, such as how airplanes stay in the air, that might be a good topic for you. Animals, travel and sports are other areas to mine for topics, although the choices are endless.
2 Once you select your topic
Once you select your topic, be sure it isn't too general. For example, Lions of Africa would cover too much ground, but "Hunting and Diet Habits of African Lions" would allow you to focus more tightly.
3 Visit the library
Visit the library to find periodicals and books that contain information on your topic. Ask a librarian to help you if you are unfamiliar with how a library is organized. Also, surf the web for information. As you use a source, jot down the name of the publication or website, the author, the publisher and the date of publication.
4 Read your sources and take notes
Read your sources and take notes. Some people like to use three-by-five index cards, writing one idea and its source on each card to stay organized. If you copy something from a source, be sure to put quote marks around it so you remember that it is a quote to avoid plagiarizing (illegally copying) another writer.
5 Once you have gathered all your sources
Once you have gathered all your sources, shuffle your cards into subtopics.
6 Organize your ideas using an outline
Organize your ideas using an outline. Jot down all of your main ideas, then under each one, write some of the ideas that support it. For example, a main idea might be that lions hunt for their food, while supporting ideas might be what animals are their prey. Avoid repeating ideas.
7 Write your first draft
Write your first draft. The paper should include an introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction identifies the topic, tells the reader your opinion on the topic and why the reader should be interested in it.
8 Has several paragraphs
The body has several paragraphs that develop your ideas in more detail. Each paragraph should have no more than one idea, although you can use more than one paragraph per idea. The conclusion is a summary that repeats your main idea.
9 Write the bibliography
Write the bibliography, which is the list of reference works used in the paper.
10 Proofread your paper
Proofread your paper. Read it aloud to yourself to find errors. Have a parent read it to check for anything confusing or incorrect. Make any corrections required.
- Be careful to follow your teacher's rules in writing your report. Some teachers might want you to format your paper in a certain way, for example, or include photos or other graphics. These are all good learning opportunities that will affect your grade.
- Use the spell-check function on your computer to catch any spelling and/or grammar mistakes in your paper before you submit it.
- 1 Scholastic: Preparing for 5th Grade
About the Author
Christy Scannell has been writing professionally since 1985 with work in many publications, including the "San Diego Union-Tribune," "Outreach" magazine and "Marriage Partnership" magazine. She has also written a three-novel series, “Secrets from Lulu’s Café,” for Simon & Schuster. Christy has a Master of Arts in communication from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from Anderson University.
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If you are struggling with teaching the research report process, you are not alone. Seriously, we’ve all been there!
I spent several years avoiding research reports in my classroom or depending on the Library-Media Specialist to teach the research process.
One year, I decided to take the plunge and teach my students how to research a topic and write a research report.
The process was clunky at first, but I learned a lot about how students approach research and how to guide them from choosing a topic to completing their final copies.
Before we discuss the HOW , let’s talk about the WHY .
Why should you assign research reports to 5th and 6th grade students?
I have three main reasons for assigning research reports to my students.
First, the skill involved in finding reliable sources and citing sources is valuable.
Beginning in 5th grade, and possibly even before, students need to be able to discern the reliability of a source . They should be able to spot propaganda and distinguish between reputable sources and phony ones.
Teaching the procedure for citing sources is important because my 5th grade students need to grasp the reality of plagiarism and how to avoid it.
By providing information about the sources they used, students are consciously avoiding copying the work of authors and learning to give credit where credit is due.
Second, by taking notes and organizing their notes into an outline, students are exercising their ability to find main ideas and corresponding details.
Being able to organize ideas is crucial for young writers.
Third, when writing research reports, students are internalizing the writing process, including organizing, writing a rough draft, proofreading/editing, and writing a final draft.
When students write research reports about topics of interest, they are fine-tuning their reading and writing skills.
How to Teach Research Reports in Grades 5 & 6
As a veteran upper elementary teacher, I know exactly what is going to happen when I tell my students that we are going to start research reports.
There will be a resounding groan followed by students voicing their displeasure. (It goes something like this…. “Mrs Bazzit! That’s too haaaaaaard!” or “Ugh. That’s boring!” *Sigh* I’ve heard it all, lol.)
This is when I put on my (somewhat fictional) excited teacher hat and help them to realize that the research report process will be fun and interesting.
Step 1: Choose a Topic and Cite Sources
Students definitely get excited when they find out they may choose their own research topic. Providing choice leads to higher engagement and interest.
It’s best practice to provide a list of possible research topics to students, but also allow them to choose a different topic.
Be sure to make your research topics narrow to help students focus on sources. If students choose broad topics, the sources they find will overwhelm them with information.
Too Broad: American Revolution
Just Right: The Battle of Yorktown
Too Broad: Ocean Life
Just Right: Great White Shark
Too Broad: Important Women in History
Just Right: The Life of Martha Washington
Be sure to discuss appropriate, reliable sources with students.
I suggest projecting several examples of internet sources on your technology board. Ask students to decide if the sources look reliable or unreliable.
While teaching students about citing sources, it’s a great time to discuss plagiarism and ways to avoid it.
Students should never copy the words of an author unless they are properly quoting the text.
In fact, I usually discourage students from quoting their sources in their research reports. In my experience, students will try to quote a great deal of text and will border on plagiarism.
I prefer to see students paraphrase from their sources because this skill helps them to refine their summarization skills.
Citing sources is not as hard as it sounds! I find that my students generally use books and internet sources, so those are the two types of citations that I focus on.
How to cite a book:
Author’s last name, First name. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Date.
How to cite an internet article:
Author’s last name, First name (if available). “Title of Article or Page.” Full http address, Date of access.
If you continue reading to the bottom of this post, I have created one free screencast for each of the five steps of the research process!
Step 2: Take Notes
During this step, students will use their sources to take notes.
I do provide instruction and examples during this step because from experience, I know that students will think every piece of information from each source is important and they will copy long passages from each source.
I teach students that taking notes is an exercise in main idea and details. They should read the source, write down the main idea, and list several details to support the main idea.
I encourage my students NOT to copy information from the source but instead to put the information in their own words. They will be less likely to plagiarize if their notes already contain their own words.
Additionally, during this step, I ask students to write a one-sentence thesis statement. I teach students that a thesis statement tells the main point of their research reports.
Their entire research report will support the thesis statement, so the thesis statement is actually a great way to help students maintain a laser focus on their research topic.
Step 3: Make an Outline
Making an outline can be intimidating for students, especially if they’ve never used this organization format.
However, this valuable step will teach students to organize their notes into the order that will be used to write the rough draft of their reports.
Because making an outline is usually a new concept for my 5th graders, we do 2-3 examples together before I allow students to make their outlines for their research reports.
I recommend copying an outline template for students to have at their fingertips while creating their first outline.
Be sure to look over students’ outlines for organization, order, and accuracy before allowing them to move on to the next step (writing rough drafts).
Step 4: Write a Draft
During this step, each student will write a rough draft of his/her research report.
If they completed their outlines correctly, this step will be fairly simple.
Students will write their research reports in paragraph form.
One problem that is common among my students is that instead of writing in paragraphs, they write their sentences in list format.
I find that it’s helpful to write a paragraph in front of and with students to remind them that when writing a paragraph, the next sentence begins immediately after the prior sentence.
Once students’ rough drafts are completed, it’s time to proofread/edit!
To begin, I ask my students to read their drafts aloud to listen for their own mistakes.
Next, I ask my students to have two individuals look over their draft and suggest changes.
Step 5: Final Draft
It’s finally time to write final drafts!
After students have completed their rough drafts and made edits, I ask them to write final drafts.
Students’ final drafts should be as close to perfect as possible.
I prefer a typed final draft because students will have access to a spellchecker and other features that will make it easier to create their final draft.
Think of a creative way to display the finished product, because they will be SO proud of their research reports after all the hard work that went into creating them!
When grading the reports, use a rubric similar to the one shown in the image at the beginning of this section.
A detailed rubric will help students to clearly see their successes and areas of needed improvement.
Once students have completed their first research projects, I find that they have a much easier time with the other research topics assigned throughout the remainder of the school year.
If you are interested in a no-prep, step-by-step research report instructional unit, please click here to visit my Research Report Instructional Unit for 5th Grade and 6th Grade.
This instructional unit will guide students step-by-step through the research process, including locating reliable sources, taking notes, creating an outline, writing a report, and making a “works cited” page.
I’d like to share a very special free resource with you. I created five screencast videos, one for each step of the research report process. These screencasts pair perfectly with my Research Report Instructional Unit for 5th Grade and 6th Grade!
Research Report Step 1 Screencast
Research Report Step 2 Screencast
Research Report Step 3 Screencast
Research Report Step 4 Screencast
Research Report Step 5 Screencast
Hi, If i purchase your complete package on grade 5/6 writing does it come with your wonderful recordings on how to teach them? Thanks
Hi Gail! The recordings on this blog post can be used by anyone and I will leave them up 🙂 The writing bundle doesn’t come with any recordings but I did include step-by-step instructions for teachers. I hope this helps!
Thank you for sharing your information with everyone. I know how to write (I think, haha), but I wanted to really set my students up for success with their research and writing. Your directions and guides are just what I needed to jar my memory and help my students become original writers. Be blessed.
You are very welcome, Andrea! Thank you for this comment 🙂
Hi Andrea, I am a veteran teacher who has taught nothing but primary for 25 years. However, this is my first year in 5th. I’m so excited to have found your post. Can you direct me to how I can purchase your entire bundle for writing a 5-paragraph essay. Thanks, Sue
Sure, Susan, I can help with that! Here is the link for the 5th Grade Writing Bundle: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/5th-Grade-Writing-Bundle-3611643
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Writing Research Papers
This research writing unit of study is designed to guide your students through the research writing process.
This is a free writing unit of study from the curriculum corner..
This research writing collection includes mini lessons, anchor charts and more.
Mention the words “research writing” in an intermediate classroom and you might be met with moans & groans or perhaps even see fear in the eyes of some students.
In all seriousness though, writing can be intimidating for many children in our classrooms.
Guided and focused your mini-lessons can be helpful for students. Also, the more examples you can get students to interact with, the more they will understand the expectations. Finally, the more modeling that you do for them, the more they can view writing as less overwhelming.
Download the free resources to accompany this unit of study at the bottom of this post.
Lesson Ideas for Writing Research Papers:
Lesson 1: Noticings
- Begin by getting your students familiar with what research writing looks like.
- Have them work in pairs or small groups to read pieces of research writing. They will record their “noticings” about the writing.
- Then, come together in a community circle to discuss and create a class anchor chart.
- You will find a blank anchor chart and one with noticings already recorded.
- Here is a link we found that contains some student-created examples of research writing: Student Writing Models . Simply scroll through the grade levels for different samples.
Lesson 2: Opinion vs. Facts
- Begin with a brief review of opinions vs. facts.
- Use the six paragraphs we share in our resources to give your students some practice differentiating between the two.
- Each of the paragraphs contains both opinions and facts.
- Students will read the paragraphs and record the facts and opinions from their paragraph onto the recording page.
Lesson 3: Choosing a Topic
- We know that providing choice will allow for greater engagement and success. We want to help students to narrow their choices by giving them some guidance.
- Gather students and begin a discussion about choosing a research topic.
- Ask them to think of topics they already know a little about, have interest in or is important/relevant to their lives.
- You might pose the question “Why is that important in research writing?” and discuss their thoughts.
- For this lesson we have provided a page where students can individually brainstorm topics. You can circulate the room during this process to help students to narrow their topic.
- If you feel your class may need help to narrow their choices, think about giving them a broad topic, such as animals, and then have them choose a sub-topics from the bigger umbrella topic.
- If you feel like your students need an added level of support you might think about creating an anchor chart from a class brainstorming session about possible appropriate topics and then display this in your room.
Lesson 4: Where to Find Accurate Information about a Topic
- Help students to begin to understand where they might find accurate information about their topics.
- Where are the places you can begin to look for information about your topic?
- Why would the copyright date on a book be important in doing research?
- Is everything on the internet true?
- Why is it important for your research to contain accurate information?
- Where do you begin to look for information that will accurate
- One way to help students think through appropriate sites on the internet is to pass out the ten cards provided in our resources.
- Have students read the cards and discuss what kind of a website it is.
- Talk about whether they know or have heard of the sites. Would they consider the sites “trusted” enough to gain knowledge about their topics. Then have them talk about why or why not these sites would be trusted.
Lesson 5: Double Check Your Facts
- We want our students to get into the habit of double checking their facts. This will help ensure what they are learning is correct.
- To do this, you might want them to practice this skill. In this lesson use the page provided to have each student find and record a fact about a topic of their choice on the internet.
- The page then has students write where they found the fact, and also has them list a corresponding fact from a different source.
- Finally they determine if the facts are the same or different. You may have to further the lesson by discussing approximations. For example one site might say that an animal can weigh up to 1,500 pounds, while another might state that the animal weighs between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds.
- You will need to talk about how those facts might both be accurate even though they are stated differently. If they seem to check out, then help students generalize the information for a research paper.
Lesson 6: Taking Notes
- Sometimes giving students resources and a blank sheet of notebook paper can be too overwhelming. You have students who simply copy everything from the text or you have others who have no idea where to start.
- We need to guide them to read to pull out facts & relevant information.
- For this lesson we have provided various templates for note-taking. Whatever method or template you choose for helping your students learn to take notes, model it several times in front of the class Demonstrating for them how to write the notes as they read about a topic will be helpful.
- After initial teaching, you may find that you need to pull small groups for extra practice. Some might need a one-on-one conference.
Lesson 7: Paraphrasing vs. Plagiarism
- Students will need to learn how to paraphrase their research. This will help them avoid plagiarizing words from their resources.
- Discuss why plagiarizing is something that they shouldn’t do in their writing because it is “stealing” another’s words.
- Tell the students that there is a way to use another author’s ideas in an appropriate way without copying their words. First, they need to paraphrase and then they need to cite the source where they found the information.
- Display the anchor chart “What is Paraphrasing” and discuss the definition.
- Next, pass out copies of “My Own Words” to pairs of students. Explain that their task will be to find a paragraph or passage in a nonfiction book. They will paraphrase the author’s words, keeping the same ideas.
- Finally, gather students together to share their paraphrasing efforts. Each pair of students can read the paragraph/passage from the book and then the paraphrasing that they wrote. Discuss the words and decisions the students made in their paraphrasing.
Lesson 8: Word Choice in Research Writing
- To help students think about making their writing more interesting, have them brainstorm words that could add voice to their writing.
- After working independently on the word choice page provided, have them meet with partners. They can talk about nouns, verbs and adjectives that relate to their topic.
Lesson 9: Writing Sketch
- This graphic organizer can be used for students to plan their writing.
- If your writers are more advanced you might choose to skip this step, It could be a big help for students who have taken notes and have too many facts.
- Be sure to model how to write the facts & ideas from your notes onto your planner. Students will see first hand how to make sure to only add what is relevant and important to their writing.
- Some questions you can pose: What will be the focus of each paragraph in your research writing? What do you want to include from your notes? Why is it important to the research? What facts don’t quite fit into the paragraphs you’ve decided upon? Should you change some of the paragraphs so that they better support the research and what you want your readers to learn?
- Once the planner is finished, they can use it as a guide to help their writing stay focused.
Lesson 10: Writing Introductions to Research
- Teach students how to think about their introduction as a way to grab their readers’ attention.
- Our anchor chart has some ideas to get writers started. You might also extend the anchor chart to include ideas from your students. (We have included some blank anchor charts at the very bottom of the download.)
- Discuss the parts that need to be included in the introductory paragraph first. Then, move on to some of the ways that might engage readers. As always be sure to model how you would go about writing an introductory paragraph using your Writing Sketch.
Lesson 11: Developing Your Paragraphs
- Next, help students stay focused and develop complete paragraphs.The next graphic organizer will get them to think through the specifics of each paragraph.
- Again, this may not be needed for all of the students in your classroom, but it might be something to think about using with all of them for at least their very first attempts at writing research papers.
- Model how to use the Writing Sketch planner to develop their paragraphs more fully on this organizer.
Lesson 12: Writing a Conclusion to Research
Providing a solid concluding paragraph is also something that needs modeled for your students.
Use the anchor chart with ideas to get you started with the modeling of this as well.
***If you would like for your students to write their first drafts on something that continues to support organization for them, you will find guided lined paper.
Lesson 13: Research Rendezvous Celebration
We love ending a unit of study with a celebration.
For this particular celebration, you might invite students to bring in a visual to help illustrate their topic.
Invite parents and other special adults from your building to the celebration and think about providing a snack.
You can also print out our “Congrats Author!” certificates to give to each student during the celebration.
All the research writing resources described above can be found in one download here:
Writing a Research Paper Resources
As with all of our resources, The Curriculum Corner creates these for free classroom use. Our products may not be sold. You may print and copy for your personal classroom use. These are also great for home school families!
You may not modify and resell in any form. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Thursday 8th of April 2021
Thank you so much. I tutor non-English speakers from K-9th grade. These resources are a God send!!
Monday 25th of May 2020
I cant download it, where do you download it?
Jill & Cathy
Wednesday 2nd of September 2020
Here is the link: https://www.thecurriculumcorner.com/thecurriculumcorner456/wp-content/pdf/writing/research/researchwriting.pdf
Graphic Organizer for Research Papers - The Curriculum Corner 4-5-6
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[…] The middle school years can also be a good time to introduce writing a short research paper if your student is ready. Introduce how to do research, how to make an outline, and how to write a short research paper, including how to cite sources. Here’s a website that has a free introduction to writing research papers: https://www.thecurriculumcorner.com/thecurriculumcorner456/writing-research-papers/. […]
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Tips For Writing A Strong 5th Grade Research Paper
One of the most challenging assignments that you will have to do when it comes to your 5th grade assignments is to write a research paper. It is a larger paper than what you are used to writing. The idea is to create a research question about a topic that you are interested in and then work to answer it. The conclusion that you make on the subject will become your thesis statement and should be backed up with evidence. You will be able to write a strong paper for your class and edit it properly if you follow these important steps provided by Mypaperwriter.com experts.
Developing a strong topic
The first step to writing is to develop a topic to write about. When it comes to choosing a topic for a research paper, it is very important to make sure that you choose a topic that has enough information on it to write enough to reach your required page count and not so much that it will be hard to think of one thing to prove. If your topic is too broad or too narrow, you can either choose a sub topic or choose a topic that is more general. It should also be interesting for you because you will have to read a lot about it to conduct your research. If it is on a topic that you enjoy, the reading will be easier and more enjoyable.
Conduct some research on your topic by reading everything that you can find about your subject and taking notes. You will want to make sure that you identify where you got the information from so keep good track of it.
The next step is to plan out your paper. This will help you to decide on a focus and that focus will be the heart of your paper. An outline is a great way of finding out the best way to present your evidence.
Once you have written your paper, it is so important to make sure that you edit it as well. Even if you were very careful not to make any mistakes, it is possible that you made some small errors and there is no reason to lose points just because of these tiny issues. Read your paper out loud to get the best results when editing your paper. It will be a lot easier when you can hear how it sounds to find grammatical errors.
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- A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Write A Research Paper
A research paper is an academic paper where scientists, scholars, and even students present their research on a specific topic. It compromises analyzing the results of experimental evidence with citations. This is one of the most powerful ways to share the knowledge of researchers around the world.
The research paper shows the expertise of the researcher that also helps other researchers in the future. So, have you wondered how to write a research paper successfully? Well, this article will give you an ultimate guide on writing a research paper step-by-step. Let’s reveal the hacks.
The Steps to Writing a Research Paper
- Get familiar with the research paper
- Choose a suitable topic
- Do your research
- Form a thesis statement
- Construct an outline
- Write the draft
- Add proper citations and references
- Revise the copy and finalize it
After knowing the key steps of research paper writing, let’s discuss them in detail.
Step 1: Get Familiar With The Research Paper
The first thing you need to do it read several research papers that have been published by experts. This will get you familiarized with the style and format of the research paper. This will help you get an overall idea about the contents of the research paper. The more you read, the deeper your idea will be.
While reading different research papers, note down the important things like formatting, spacing, font, length of a paragraph, rules to adding figures or charts, word limit, essential points to cover, citations, and so on. If you have any doubts, clarify them with your teacher or professor.
Step 2: Choose A Suitable Topic
After getting an overall idea about the research paper, now figure out a good topic that you will work with. To do it, consult with your professor and experts in the field you are interested to research in. You can either work on a new topic or improve any preexisting research.
The previously peer reviewed and published research papers are found in the-
- Central library of your college or university
- Google Scholar
- Online publications like Zotero, Academic journals, Scientific Research Publications, Science and Education Publishing, etc.
- Your professor’s recommended research papers
Study a lot to find out a unique topic in your field to research. Your instructor may help you to pick a trendy topic for your research. But try to reveal it on your own.
Step 3: Do Your Research
When you get a topic, start your research sincerely. Read several related research papers and inspect how the researchers did these. You may work in the lab or software to get more precise results from the research. Also, consult with the experts on this topic to get more precise answers. Clarify your doubts by asking yourself why, how, what, … etc, in every step for deep research.
You’ll find lots of resources on your topic but not all of them are reliable to use in the research paper. For example, Wikipedia is an open source resource for any topic, but you can’t accredit them in your research paper. Find out worthwhile sources before using any scientific formula or theory in your research.
Learned advanced search functions on Google also assist you in refining your search results to find specilized resources in your area paper’s area of focus.
After the preliminary research, if you find this topic good for you proceed with it otherwise choose a new topic that suits you. Note down all the important analyses, and calculations of your research.
Step 4: Form A Thesis Statement
After doing primary research, it’s time to make a thesis statement (introduction) that summarizes succinctly what you’ll cover in your research paper. This statement is important and helps you to make a good research paper. It also states how other researchers will get benefitted from your research.
If you can’t make a good statement starts with a question like ‘Does the internet bad for your children’ and then answer it. But don’t put any fluff words there. Sometimes arguable topic makes the thesis statement interesting.
When your teacher or instructor will say the thesis statement is okay then plan how to prepare the other sections of the research paper.
Step 5: Construct An Outline
When you’ve completed your research, now form a format for your research paper. The necessary sections of the research paper include-
- Author Page
- Table of Contents
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- Introduction (Thesis Statement)
- Main Points of the Body (like Forming a Formula, Analysis, Calculation, etc.)
Each main points or headings include paragraphs, figures, charts, data, and so on.
Step 6: Write The Draft
Now start writing a draft copy of your research paper that you’ve gotten from your research. Keep in mind, you may need to write several drafts to finalize the copy. While writing the research paper describe all the points and avoid jargon and unnecessary things.
Consider the right spacing, font, and style of writing the research paper after completing the writing. Include proper headings and subheadings so anyone can understand easily what you may discuss there.
Step 7: Add Proper Citations and References
After compiling the draft copy, add the necessary citations and references to the research paper from which sources you use the scientific formulas. While quoting any points or formulas, include the publication name, year of publication, research paper title, author, page number, etc.
Usually, an academic research paper has two formats for citing;
- APA (American Psychological Association)
- MLA (Modern Language Association)
Step 8: Revise The Copy And Finalize It
After making a draft copy, now recheck the whole writing several times to make it to the point and mistake-free. So, revise the formula, analysis, explanations, etc. If you find any wrong, edit it instantly. Also, check the following things-
- Review the format of the research paper. If any correction is needed, do it.
- Check the grammatical errors using Grammarly, or other similar tools.
- To make the copy unique and plagiarism free check it using plagiarism checker tools like Copyscape, Quetex, Grammerly, Smallseotools, or any other reliable tools.
To make the research paper better, take suggestions from your professor or mentor so you can submit an original academic research paper. If he/she gives some changes to improve its quality, do it. When you are confident everything is polished and okay, submit it for your instructor’s approval.
Congratulations on learning the hacks for writing the research paper step by step.
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Step-by-Step Explanation of How to Write a Research Paper for Elementary Students
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A research paper at the elementary school level meets many of the writing standards of the National Council of Teachers of English. A research paper allows students to read both print and nonprint texts, fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works. Students are also asked to comprehend, interpret, evaluate and appreciate resources. In the process of writing the paper itself, students utilize language structure and language conventions along with figurative language and media analysis skills. The goal of the research paper at the elementary level is to give students the opportunity to learn more about a topic that interests them through a step-by-step writing process.
Writing the Elementary School Research Paper
Create a list of several topics of interest for the paper. List subtopics for each of the topics. Choose the topic that has the most available resources and is most interesting.
Choose reference materials from source materials: magazines, encyclopedias, reference books, nonfiction books, newspaper articles and interviews. List these sources on a sheet of paper to use for the bibliography.
Evaluate the list of sources. Determine whether each source is relevant to the topic. Determine whether each source has been evaluated by another agency. Determine whether the author is credible.
Take notes from each resource on a separate sheet of paper or index cards. Use the notes to create an outline of information to share in the research paper. Include topics and ideas for each section of the research paper in the outline.
Highlight notes and sections of the outline that support the overall idea, or argument, of the research paper. Decide upon a good opening sentence or paragraph and concluding sentence or paragraph for the research paper. Write a draft including details, complete ideas and information for each point in the outline.
Edit the written draft. Check for correct capitalization, punctuation, spelling and complete sentences.
Organize the research paper to include a title page, written report and bibliography of sources used.
- Scholastic.com: Writing Workshop: Research Paper
- Scholastic.com: Writing Workshop: Research Paper: Take Notes
- Scholastic.com: Writing Workshop: Research Paper: Draft
- Scholastic.com: Writing Workshop: Research Paper: Edit
- Try to keep the topic of the research paper as narrow as possible.
- Write down all of the information needed for the bibliography during the research period.
- Be aware of plagiarism rules and avoid copying sentences from references directly.
Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.
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Writing a Research Report (Gr. 5)
Scott Foresman, an imprint of Pearson
Featured 5th grade resources.