Research Writing Unit

Mr. Steel


During this unit of study, students will further develop their critical essay-writing skills by learning how to write a research paper. Students will be required to engage in several forms of research, and they will be taught how to incorporate these sources into their writing using correct documentation procedures. The purpose of encouraging students to consult a variety of sources is, first, to deepen their critical essay-writing skills, and second, to help them gain greater facility with a variety of research methodologies.


Work and Assessment


A. Students will write a research paper about the meaning and significance of friendship. Student research ought to span a broad variety of disciplines (ex.: literary/poetic resources, philosophic treatises, anthropological, scientific, zoological). Every student will be required to consult multiple research resources concerning friendship. Students may use as many different sources as they like. Minimally, THREE different types of sources must be consulted. These types include the following:


q       Books (history, biography, fiction, non-fiction)

q       Magazine articles

q       Newspaper articles

q       Internet sources

q       Museum materials (archives, exhibits)

q       Visual sources (art)

q       Audio sources (music, speech)

q       Interviews

q       Movies and Documentaries

q       Opinion polls and statistics

q       Journal articles


Having chosen research materials from at least THREE categories, students are to investigate friendship and write a "source paragraph" about each source they consult. Each source paragraph must indicate what they learned about friendship from the source, as well as what the source did not tell them that they would like to know, and their thoughts on where they might find this information. The purpose of this exercise is to challenge students to recognize the limitations of consulting only one source for any research assignment.


Research Assignment (Source Paragraphs)



B. Having completed the research component of this unit, students will write a critical essay using all of their research materials. Student papers will have a clearly-worded thesis; they will include at least three body paragraphs that will serve as premises in support of a thesis about friendship. Finally, all research papers must include a concluding paragraph that sums up their findings, points out any insights in their work, as well as mentions any perceived shortcomings. Student work will be carefully proofread and documented, and submitted at the end of the two week unit.


Research Paper



C. Students will be expected to complete two minor exercises in citation and bibliographic referencing


Citation and Bibliographic Referencing

10% each

20% total