• Research Skills

50 Mini-Lessons For Teaching Students Research Skills

Please note, I am no longer blogging and this post hasn’t updated since April 2020.

For a number of years, Seth Godin has been talking about the need to “ connect the dots” rather than “collect the dots” . That is, rather than memorising information, students must be able to learn how to solve new problems, see patterns, and combine multiple perspectives.

Solid research skills underpin this. Having the fluency to find and use information successfully is an essential skill for life and work.

Today’s students have more information at their fingertips than ever before and this means the role of the teacher as a guide is more important than ever.

You might be wondering how you can fit teaching research skills into a busy curriculum? There aren’t enough hours in the day! The good news is, there are so many mini-lessons you can do to build students’ skills over time.

This post outlines 50 ideas for activities that could be done in just a few minutes (or stretched out to a longer lesson if you have the time!).

Learn More About The Research Process

I have a popular post called Teach Students How To Research Online In 5 Steps. It outlines a five-step approach to break down the research process into manageable chunks.

Learn about a simple search process for students in primary school, middle school, or high school Kathleen Morris

This post shares ideas for mini-lessons that could be carried out in the classroom throughout the year to help build students’ skills in the five areas of: clarify, search, delve, evaluate , and cite . It also includes ideas for learning about staying organised throughout the research process.

Notes about the 50 research activities:

  • These ideas can be adapted for different age groups from middle primary/elementary to senior high school.
  • Many of these ideas can be repeated throughout the year.
  • Depending on the age of your students, you can decide whether the activity will be more teacher or student led. Some activities suggest coming up with a list of words, questions, or phrases. Teachers of younger students could generate these themselves.
  • Depending on how much time you have, many of the activities can be either quickly modelled by the teacher, or extended to an hour-long lesson.
  • Some of the activities could fit into more than one category.
  • Looking for simple articles for younger students for some of the activities? Try DOGO News or Time for Kids . Newsela is also a great resource but you do need to sign up for free account.
  • Why not try a few activities in a staff meeting? Everyone can always brush up on their own research skills!

research paper mini lessons

  • Choose a topic (e.g. koalas, basketball, Mount Everest) . Write as many questions as you can think of relating to that topic.
  • Make a mindmap of a topic you’re currently learning about. This could be either on paper or using an online tool like Bubbl.us .
  • Read a short book or article. Make a list of 5 words from the text that you don’t totally understand. Look up the meaning of the words in a dictionary (online or paper).
  • Look at a printed or digital copy of a short article with the title removed. Come up with as many different titles as possible that would fit the article.
  • Come up with a list of 5 different questions you could type into Google (e.g. Which country in Asia has the largest population?) Circle the keywords in each question.
  • Write down 10 words to describe a person, place, or topic. Come up with synonyms for these words using a tool like  Thesaurus.com .
  • Write pairs of synonyms on post-it notes (this could be done by the teacher or students). Each student in the class has one post-it note and walks around the classroom to find the person with the synonym to their word.

research paper mini lessons

  • Explore how to search Google using your voice (i.e. click/tap on the microphone in the Google search box or on your phone/tablet keyboard) . List the pros and cons of using voice and text to search.
  • Open two different search engines in your browser such as Google and Bing. Type in a query and compare the results. Do all search engines work exactly the same?
  • Have students work in pairs to try out a different search engine (there are 11 listed here ). Report back to the class on the pros and cons.
  • Think of something you’re curious about, (e.g. What endangered animals live in the Amazon Rainforest?). Open Google in two tabs. In one search, type in one or two keywords ( e.g. Amazon Rainforest) . In the other search type in multiple relevant keywords (e.g. endangered animals Amazon rainforest).  Compare the results. Discuss the importance of being specific.
  • Similar to above, try two different searches where one phrase is in quotation marks and the other is not. For example, Origin of “raining cats and dogs” and Origin of raining cats and dogs . Discuss the difference that using quotation marks makes (It tells Google to search for the precise keywords in order.)
  • Try writing a question in Google with a few minor spelling mistakes. What happens? What happens if you add or leave out punctuation ?
  • Try the AGoogleADay.com daily search challenges from Google. The questions help older students learn about choosing keywords, deconstructing questions, and altering keywords.
  • Explore how Google uses autocomplete to suggest searches quickly. Try it out by typing in various queries (e.g. How to draw… or What is the tallest…). Discuss how these suggestions come about, how to use them, and whether they’re usually helpful.
  • Watch this video  from Code.org to learn more about how search works .
  • Take a look at  20 Instant Google Searches your Students Need to Know  by Eric Curts to learn about “ instant searches ”. Try one to try out. Perhaps each student could be assigned one to try and share with the class.
  • Experiment with typing some questions into Google that have a clear answer (e.g. “What is a parallelogram?” or “What is the highest mountain in the world?” or “What is the population of Australia?”). Look at the different ways the answers are displayed instantly within the search results — dictionary definitions, image cards, graphs etc.

What is the population of Australia

  • Watch the video How Does Google Know Everything About Me?  by Scientific American. Discuss the PageRank algorithm and how Google uses your data to customise search results.
  • Brainstorm a list of popular domains   (e.g. .com, .com.au, or your country’s domain) . Discuss if any domains might be more reliable than others and why (e.g. .gov or .edu) .
  • Discuss (or research) ways to open Google search results in a new tab to save your original search results  (i.e. right-click > open link in new tab or press control/command and click the link).
  • Try out a few Google searches (perhaps start with things like “car service” “cat food” or “fresh flowers”). A re there advertisements within the results? Discuss where these appear and how to spot them.
  • Look at ways to filter search results by using the tabs at the top of the page in Google (i.e. news, images, shopping, maps, videos etc.). Do the same filters appear for all Google searches? Try out a few different searches and see.
  • Type a question into Google and look for the “People also ask” and “Searches related to…” sections. Discuss how these could be useful. When should you use them or ignore them so you don’t go off on an irrelevant tangent? Is the information in the drop-down section under “People also ask” always the best?
  • Often, more current search results are more useful. Click on “tools” under the Google search box and then “any time” and your time frame of choice such as “Past month” or “Past year”.
  • Have students annotate their own “anatomy of a search result” example like the one I made below. Explore the different ways search results display; some have more details like sitelinks and some do not.

Anatomy of a google search result

  • Find two articles on a news topic from different publications. Or find a news article and an opinion piece on the same topic. Make a Venn diagram comparing the similarities and differences.
  • Choose a graph, map, or chart from The New York Times’ What’s Going On In This Graph series . Have a whole class or small group discussion about the data.
  • Look at images stripped of their captions on What’s Going On In This Picture? by The New York Times. Discuss the images in pairs or small groups. What can you tell?
  • Explore a website together as a class or in pairs — perhaps a news website. Identify all the advertisements .
  • Have a look at a fake website either as a whole class or in pairs/small groups. See if students can spot that these sites are not real. Discuss the fact that you can’t believe everything that’s online. Get started with these four examples of fake websites from Eric Curts.
  • Give students a copy of my website evaluation flowchart to analyse and then discuss as a class. Read more about the flowchart in this post.
  • As a class, look at a prompt from Mike Caulfield’s Four Moves . Either together or in small groups, have students fact check the prompts on the site. This resource explains more about the fact checking process. Note: some of these prompts are not suitable for younger students.
  • Practice skim reading — give students one minute to read a short article. Ask them to discuss what stood out to them. Headings? Bold words? Quotes? Then give students ten minutes to read the same article and discuss deep reading.

research paper mini lessons

All students can benefit from learning about plagiarism, copyright, how to write information in their own words, and how to acknowledge the source. However, the formality of this process will depend on your students’ age and your curriculum guidelines.

  • Watch the video Citation for Beginners for an introduction to citation. Discuss the key points to remember.
  • Look up the definition of plagiarism using a variety of sources (dictionary, video, Wikipedia etc.). Create a definition as a class.
  • Find an interesting video on YouTube (perhaps a “life hack” video) and write a brief summary in your own words.
  • Have students pair up and tell each other about their weekend. Then have the listener try to verbalise or write their friend’s recount in their own words. Discuss how accurate this was.
  • Read the class a copy of a well known fairy tale. Have them write a short summary in their own words. Compare the versions that different students come up with.
  • Try out MyBib — a handy free online tool without ads that helps you create citations quickly and easily.
  • Give primary/elementary students a copy of Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Citation that matches their grade level (the guide covers grades 1 to 6). Choose one form of citation and create some examples as a class (e.g. a website or a book).
  • Make a list of things that are okay and not okay to do when researching, e.g. copy text from a website, use any image from Google images, paraphrase in your own words and cite your source, add a short quote and cite the source. 
  • Have students read a short article and then come up with a summary that would be considered plagiarism and one that would not be considered plagiarism. These could be shared with the class and the students asked to decide which one shows an example of plagiarism .
  • Older students could investigate the difference between paraphrasing and summarising . They could create a Venn diagram that compares the two.
  • Write a list of statements on the board that might be true or false ( e.g. The 1956 Olympics were held in Melbourne, Australia. The rhinoceros is the largest land animal in the world. The current marathon world record is 2 hours, 7 minutes). Have students research these statements and decide whether they’re true or false by sharing their citations.

Staying Organised

research paper mini lessons

  • Make a list of different ways you can take notes while researching — Google Docs, Google Keep, pen and paper etc. Discuss the pros and cons of each method.
  • Learn the keyboard shortcuts to help manage tabs (e.g. open new tab, reopen closed tab, go to next tab etc.). Perhaps students could all try out the shortcuts and share their favourite one with the class.
  • Find a collection of resources on a topic and add them to a Wakelet .
  • Listen to a short podcast or watch a brief video on a certain topic and sketchnote ideas. Sylvia Duckworth has some great tips about live sketchnoting
  • Learn how to use split screen to have one window open with your research, and another open with your notes (e.g. a Google spreadsheet, Google Doc, Microsoft Word or OneNote etc.) .

All teachers know it’s important to teach students to research well. Investing time in this process will also pay off throughout the year and the years to come. Students will be able to focus on analysing and synthesizing information, rather than the mechanics of the research process.

By trying out as many of these mini-lessons as possible throughout the year, you’ll be really helping your students to thrive in all areas of school, work, and life.

Also remember to model your own searches explicitly during class time. Talk out loud as you look things up and ask students for input. Learning together is the way to go!

You Might Also Enjoy Reading:

How To Evaluate Websites: A Guide For Teachers And Students

Five Tips for Teaching Students How to Research and Filter Information

Typing Tips: The How and Why of Teaching Students Keyboarding Skills

8 Ways Teachers And Schools Can Communicate With Parents

Learn how to teach research skills to primary students, middle school students, or high school students. 50 activities that could be done in just a few minutes a day. Lots of Google search tips and research tips for kids and teachers. Free PDF included! Kathleen Morris | Primary Tech

10 Replies to “50 Mini-Lessons For Teaching Students Research Skills”

Loving these ideas, thank you

This list is amazing. Thank you so much!

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So glad it’s helpful, Alex! 🙂

Hi I am a student who really needed some help on how to reasearch thanks for the help.

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So glad it helped! 🙂

seriously seriously grateful for your post. 🙂

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So glad it’s helpful! Makes my day 🙂

How do you get the 50 mini lessons. I got the free one but am interested in the full version.

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Hi Tracey, The link to the PDF with the 50 mini lessons is in the post. Here it is . Check out this post if you need more advice on teaching students how to research online. Hope that helps! Kathleen

Best wishes to you as you face your health battler. Hoping you’ve come out stronger and healthier from it. Your website is so helpful.

Comments are closed.

K-12 Internet Resource Center

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50 Mini-Lessons For Teaching Students Research Skills

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This post outlines 50 ideas for activities that could be done in just a few minutes (or stretched out to a longer lesson if you have the time!). You’ll find a  PDF summary below too! This post shares ideas for mini-lessons that could be carried out in the classroom throughout the year to help build students’ skills in the five areas of:  clarify, search, delve, evaluate , and  cite . It also includes ideas for learning about  staying organised  throughout the research process.

Today’s students have more information at their fingertips than ever before and this means the role of the teacher as a guide is more important than ever. Posted on  February 26, 2019 by  Kathleen Morris

Attributes: 4-5 6-8 Lesson Plan

Resource Link:  https://www.kathleenamorris.com/2019/02/26/research-lessons/

Research Building Blocks: "Organize This!"

Research Building Blocks: "Organize This!"

  • Resources & Preparation
  • Instructional Plan
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Children are naturally curious—they want to know "how" and "why." Teaching research skills can help students find answers for themselves. In this minilesson, students organize the information they have compiled through the research process by using sentence strips. Students first walk through the process using information on Beluga whales as a model. Students match facts written on sentence strips to one of four categories: appearance, behavior, habitat, and food. Sentence strips are color-coded to match each category. The sequence of notes (sentence strips) under each category are placed in an indented outline form, and regrouped so that similar facts are placed together. Next, the appropriate Roman numerals and letters are added to the outline. Finally, students use the same process to create outlines for the research topics they are working on.

From Theory to Practice

Teaching the process and application of research should be an ongoing part of all school curricula. It is important that research components are taught all through the year, beginning on the first day of school. Dreher et al. explain that "[S]tudents need to learn creative and multifaceted approaches to research and inquiry. The ability to identify good topics, to gather information, and to evaluate, assemble, and interpret findings from among the many general and specialized information sources now available to them is one of the most vital skills that students can acquire" (39). In her article "Rethinking Research," Eileen A. Simmons agrees: "We can't expect students to produce outstanding research papers unless we teach them strategies for gathering information, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating that information through critical thinking." (115) Further Reading

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

Colored paper (four different colors)

  • Example Outline Format
  • Sample Outline for Beluga Whale


Before beginning this lesson, students should be familiar with the research skills covered in the following lessons:

  • Research Building Blocks: Hints about Print
  • Research Building Blocks: Examining Electronic Sources
  • Research Building Blocks: Notes, Quotes, and Fact Fragments
  • Research Building Blocks: Skim, Scan, and Scroll
  • Research Building Blocks: “Cite Those Sources!”

Student Objectives

Students will

  • create and use graphic organizers.
  • work with students to brainstorm category labels.
  • generate categories and subheadings.
  • sort note cards into categories or subheadings.
  • practice outlining skills.

Instruction & Activities

The way in which the following example is used to “discover” outlines can be adapted to any research topic. Modeling a topic in which all the class is involved will demonstrate the step-by-step procedure that can then be applied later by small groups or individuals as they work on their own projects.

Research Topic: Beluga Whales

Big questions/Categories:

  • What do Beluga whales look like? (Appearance)
  • How do Beluga whales behave? (Behavior)
  • Where do Beluga whales live? (Habitat)
  • What do Beluga whales eat? (Food)
  • Hand out the Example Outline Format and explain that students will be making sentence strips for their research topic.
  • Model the activity by making a sentence strip and placing it on the board using the Beluga whale topic or one of your own choosing.
  • Record each big question or category on a different colored sentence strip and place it on the board.
  • Give members of the group or class colored sentence strips.
  • Remind students to match the color of the sentence strip on which the fact is written to that of the big question (category) it is about, recording only ONE fact fragment (note) on each strip. These do not have to be complete sentences.
  • Students bring their fact strips to the board and place them under the appropriate big question/category (same color strip) indenting them as in outline form.
  • After all strips are placed on the board, the sequence of the notes under a big question/category may be changed to place similar facts together. This will help the facts flow once the students start writing.
  • Add the appropriate Roman Numerals (categories) and letters (notes) to create an outline form. (See Sample Outline on the Beluga whale.)
  • Remind the students that an outline highlights the essential information they want to include in their final product and helps organize their information. Modeling for students how to use an outline enables them to determine the sequence of their report. It is important for students to learn that they decide which information is most important for their readers to know at the beginning of the report, and to think about ways to make the report flow from section to section.
  • Have students practice outlines for the research topics they are working on.
  • Mini-lessons can be repeated for different topics until students become comfortable with the skill of outlining.
  • If this method of outlining and organizing information is not appropriate for your students, other graphic organizers are available online.

Student Assessment / Reflections

As this is only one step in teaching the research process, students need not be graded on the activity. Continued practice using outlines and other graphic organizers on different topics, with teacher and peer feedback on in-process and finished outlines, would best benefit the student researcher. Final outlines turned in with the research report could then be graded based on accurate information and logical organization.

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How to Write a Research Paper | A Beginner's Guide

A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research.

Research papers are similar to academic essays , but they are usually longer and more detailed assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research. Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic, engage with a variety of sources, and make an original contribution to the debate.

This step-by-step guide takes you through the entire writing process, from understanding your assignment to proofreading your final draft.

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Table of contents

Understand the assignment, choose a research paper topic, conduct preliminary research, develop a thesis statement, create a research paper outline, write a first draft of the research paper, write the introduction, write a compelling body of text, write the conclusion, the second draft, the revision process, research paper checklist, free lecture slides.

Completing a research paper successfully means accomplishing the specific tasks set out for you. Before you start, make sure you thoroughly understanding the assignment task sheet:

  • Read it carefully, looking for anything confusing you might need to clarify with your professor.
  • Identify the assignment goal, deadline, length specifications, formatting, and submission method.
  • Make a bulleted list of the key points, then go back and cross completed items off as you’re writing.

Carefully consider your timeframe and word limit: be realistic, and plan enough time to research, write, and edit.

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research paper mini lessons

There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming with pen and paper to talking it through with a fellow student or professor.

You can try free writing, which involves taking a broad topic and writing continuously for two or three minutes to identify absolutely anything relevant that could be interesting.

You can also gain inspiration from other research. The discussion or recommendations sections of research papers often include ideas for other specific topics that require further examination.

Once you have a broad subject area, narrow it down to choose a topic that interests you, m eets the criteria of your assignment, and i s possible to research. Aim for ideas that are both original and specific:

  • A paper following the chronology of World War II would not be original or specific enough.
  • A paper on the experience of Danish citizens living close to the German border during World War II would be specific and could be original enough.

Note any discussions that seem important to the topic, and try to find an issue that you can focus your paper around. Use a variety of sources , including journals, books, and reliable websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glaring.

Do not only verify the ideas you have in mind, but look for sources that contradict your point of view.

  • Is there anything people seem to overlook in the sources you research?
  • Are there any heated debates you can address?
  • Do you have a unique take on your topic?
  • Have there been some recent developments that build on the extant research?

In this stage, you might find it helpful to formulate some research questions to help guide you. To write research questions, try to finish the following sentence: “I want to know how/what/why…”

A thesis statement is a statement of your central argument — it establishes the purpose and position of your paper. If you started with a research question, the thesis statement should answer it. It should also show what evidence and reasoning you’ll use to support that answer.

The thesis statement should be concise, contentious, and coherent. That means it should briefly summarize your argument in a sentence or two, make a claim that requires further evidence or analysis, and make a coherent point that relates to every part of the paper.

You will probably revise and refine the thesis statement as you do more research, but it can serve as a guide throughout the writing process. Every paragraph should aim to support and develop this central claim.

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research paper mini lessons

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A research paper outline is essentially a list of the key topics, arguments, and evidence you want to include, divided into sections with headings so that you know roughly what the paper will look like before you start writing.

A structure outline can help make the writing process much more efficient, so it’s worth dedicating some time to create one.

Your first draft won’t be perfect — you can polish later on. Your priorities at this stage are as follows:

  • Maintaining forward momentum — write now, perfect later.
  • Paying attention to clear organization and logical ordering of paragraphs and sentences, which will help when you come to the second draft.
  • Expressing your ideas as clearly as possible, so you know what you were trying to say when you come back to the text.

You do not need to start by writing the introduction. Begin where it feels most natural for you — some prefer to finish the most difficult sections first, while others choose to start with the easiest part. If you created an outline, use it as a map while you work.

Do not delete large sections of text. If you begin to dislike something you have written or find it doesn’t quite fit, move it to a different document, but don’t lose it completely — you never know if it might come in useful later.

Paragraph structure

Paragraphs are the basic building blocks of research papers. Each one should focus on a single claim or idea that helps to establish the overall argument or purpose of the paper.

Example paragraph

George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” has had an enduring impact on thought about the relationship between politics and language. This impact is particularly obvious in light of the various critical review articles that have recently referenced the essay. For example, consider Mark Falcoff’s 2009 article in The National Review Online, “The Perversion of Language; or, Orwell Revisited,” in which he analyzes several common words (“activist,” “civil-rights leader,” “diversity,” and more). Falcoff’s close analysis of the ambiguity built into political language intentionally mirrors Orwell’s own point-by-point analysis of the political language of his day. Even 63 years after its publication, Orwell’s essay is emulated by contemporary thinkers.

Citing sources

It’s also important to keep track of citations at this stage to avoid accidental plagiarism . Each time you use a source, make sure to take note of where the information came from.

You can use our free citation generators to automatically create citations and save your reference list as you go.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

The research paper introduction should address three questions: What, why, and how? After finishing the introduction, the reader should know what the paper is about, why it is worth reading, and how you’ll build your arguments.

What? Be specific about the topic of the paper, introduce the background, and define key terms or concepts.

Why? This is the most important, but also the most difficult, part of the introduction. Try to provide brief answers to the following questions: What new material or insight are you offering? What important issues does your essay help define or answer?

How? To let the reader know what to expect from the rest of the paper, the introduction should include a “map” of what will be discussed, briefly presenting the key elements of the paper in chronological order.

The major struggle faced by most writers is how to organize the information presented in the paper, which is one reason an outline is so useful. However, remember that the outline is only a guide and, when writing, you can be flexible with the order in which the information and arguments are presented.

One way to stay on track is to use your thesis statement and topic sentences . Check:

  • topic sentences against the thesis statement;
  • topic sentences against each other, for similarities and logical ordering;
  • and each sentence against the topic sentence of that paragraph.

Be aware of paragraphs that seem to cover the same things. If two paragraphs discuss something similar, they must approach that topic in different ways. Aim to create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections.

The research paper conclusion is designed to help your reader out of the paper’s argument, giving them a sense of finality.

Trace the course of the paper, emphasizing how it all comes together to prove your thesis statement. Give the paper a sense of finality by making sure the reader understands how you’ve settled the issues raised in the introduction.

You might also discuss the more general consequences of the argument, outline what the paper offers to future students of the topic, and suggest any questions the paper’s argument raises but cannot or does not try to answer.

You should not :

  • Offer new arguments or essential information
  • Take up any more space than necessary
  • Begin with stock phrases that signal you are ending the paper (e.g. “In conclusion”)

There are four main considerations when it comes to the second draft.

  • Check how your vision of the paper lines up with the first draft and, more importantly, that your paper still answers the assignment.
  • Identify any assumptions that might require (more substantial) justification, keeping your reader’s perspective foremost in mind. Remove these points if you cannot substantiate them further.
  • Be open to rearranging your ideas. Check whether any sections feel out of place and whether your ideas could be better organized.
  • If you find that old ideas do not fit as well as you anticipated, you should cut them out or condense them. You might also find that new and well-suited ideas occurred to you during the writing of the first draft — now is the time to make them part of the paper.

The goal during the revision and proofreading process is to ensure you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the paper is as well-articulated as possible. You can speed up the proofreading process by using the AI proofreader .

Global concerns

  • Confirm that your paper completes every task specified in your assignment sheet.
  • Check for logical organization and flow of paragraphs.
  • Check paragraphs against the introduction and thesis statement.

Fine-grained details

Check the content of each paragraph, making sure that:

  • each sentence helps support the topic sentence.
  • no unnecessary or irrelevant information is present.
  • all technical terms your audience might not know are identified.

Next, think about sentence structure , grammatical errors, and formatting . Check that you have correctly used transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas. Look for typos, cut unnecessary words, and check for consistency in aspects such as heading formatting and spellings .

Finally, you need to make sure your paper is correctly formatted according to the rules of the citation style you are using. For example, you might need to include an MLA heading  or create an APA title page .

Scribbr’s professional editors can help with the revision process with our award-winning proofreading services.

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Checklist: Research paper

I have followed all instructions in the assignment sheet.

My introduction presents my topic in an engaging way and provides necessary background information.

My introduction presents a clear, focused research problem and/or thesis statement .

My paper is logically organized using paragraphs and (if relevant) section headings .

Each paragraph is clearly focused on one central idea, expressed in a clear topic sentence .

Each paragraph is relevant to my research problem or thesis statement.

I have used appropriate transitions  to clarify the connections between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.

My conclusion provides a concise answer to the research question or emphasizes how the thesis has been supported.

My conclusion shows how my research has contributed to knowledge or understanding of my topic.

My conclusion does not present any new points or information essential to my argument.

I have provided an in-text citation every time I refer to ideas or information from a source.

I have included a reference list at the end of my paper, consistently formatted according to a specific citation style .

I have thoroughly revised my paper and addressed any feedback from my professor or supervisor.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (page numbers, headers, spacing, etc.).

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Focus Students with the Mini Research Project

A mini research project can help students focus on the most important central theme of the lesson. The goal of the mini research project is for students to invest in learning about a new topic, and then sharing with their classmates what they learned. The project is meant to support and reinforce a specific central idea of the lesson or unit. I suppose this is true of any research project, but as you will see, the mini research project has some unique characteristics that make it a great choice!

Mini Research Project Learn and Share

There are two parts to the mini research project: first students learn, then they share! 


The mini research project is designed to allow students to take a deeper dive into a particular topic. For example, in my Biology class we learn about the drivers of Climate Change. Students then do a mini research project to learn and share about new renewable energy innovations that work to fight climate change. Everyone chooses a different innovation to write about! 

Structure of the Mini Research Project

The mini research project invites students to jump right into the meat of a topic. There is no introductory paragraph, no conclusion, no fluff to fill up space – just information. 

Here I must confess, I am a science teacher. English teachers forgive me….this may not be the blog post for you! As a science teacher, my goal is to help students learn a specific science objective. This does not include how to write a formal paper. It does not include how to cite a formal paper. Nor even how to search online for resources. I just want them to learn a very specific central idea. If you, fellow teacher, have the same goal, read on!

Give students a short, concise rubric for what you want them to learn and share. Try to hone in on the two or three most important things you want them to focus on. Students write one paragraph for each part of the rubric. 

In my example, they must describe how their renewable energy technology/innovation works, and then explain how the technology helps to fight against climate change. Just two paragraphs, but they both reinforce the central idea of the lesson, causes of climate change. They must reflect on the causes of climate change as they explain how their innovation combats climate change. 

Here are a few other possibilities as inspiration for your own classroom:

  • Topic: Adaptations. Project: Research an animal/plant. Describe two adaptations of the animal/plant. Explain specifically how the adaptation allows it to live in its biome. Central idea reinforced: Adaptations help organisms survive in their particular environments.
  • Topic: Cell Organelles. Project: Research a disease that is caused by a faulty organelle. Describe two symptoms of the disease. Explain how the dysfunction of the organelle leads to the symptoms of the disease. Central idea reinforced: Organelles may be small, but they are vital to the function of the body.
  • Topic: Cell Types. Project: Research a particular cell type (neuron, red blood cell, skin cell, sperm, etc- there are over 200!). Describe the shape of the cell type. Explain the function of the type of cell. Central idea reinforced: The body is made up of many different unique cell types that work together. 
  • Topic: Industrial Revolution. Project: Research one new technology of the industrial revolution. Provide a brief summary of who invented it, when and where. Describe what the invention did. Explain the impact of this invention. Central idea reinforced: The inventions of the industrial revolution changed the world!

Students Each Research Something Different:

Each student must pick something different to research. It can be very helpful to provide a list of possible ideas to choose from. This ensures they are choosing something that makes sense! It also prevents wasted time for kids who have trouble making a choice. Plus, by allowing students to sign up for a particular idea, first come first serve, you are ensuring that everyone is researching something unique. 

In my example, I did a bit of research myself and compiled a list of 30 new innovations that combat climate change. The list is on a shared Google Doc. Everyone logs in and selects their topic by writing their name beside it. 

To save even more time, consider providing a link to information about each topic on the list. Students can jump right into learning about their topic, rather than searching the internet. Again, my goal for this assignment is not to teach students how to find sources. I want them to spend their time learning about the central idea in a deeper way. So I have no problem providing them with the resources for their learning. 

If there are not enough topics for your whole class to choose something unique, create a list of possibilities as long as you can, and still allow the fewest number of duplicates. For example, if you have 30 kids, and only 15 topics, allow each topic to be covered twice. On share day, they must still hear from two to three people that have unique topics (more on that later!). 

Incorporate Art

Mini research projects are a great way to include art in science. Have your students create a drawing that represents their research in some way. In my example, they draw an annotated image of the innovation they choose. 

The act of drawing utilizes different areas of the brain and strengthens learning. That is one reason doodle notes are so effective! They must think about the subject in a new and different way. A drawing is also super helpful for visual learners, both for the student doing the project, and for the students he shares the project with. 

The goal of the mini research project is for students to invest in learning about a new topic, and then sharing with their classmates what they learned. The project is meant to support and reinforce a specific central idea of the lesson or unit. I suppose this is true of any research project, but as you will see, the mini research project has some unique characteristics that make it a great choice!

Put it on Paper:

I give kids a half sheet of white paper (cut ‘hamburger style’). They write what they learn on the front, and draw on the back. Mini research projects are simple and short – the half sheet of paper reminds them not to write too much. The small size is less daunting to timid writers. 

The same is true of the drawing. Give them a whole sheet of whtie paper and you are likely to get back a drawing that is still mostly open white space! But a half sheet seems to encourage students to use the space.

Challenge them to fill the whole page! Fill one side with words, the other side with a colored drawing! My motto is ‘full color for full credit!’ But be sure to provide opportunity for students to use your classroom colored pencils or markers. Some kids do not have access to these at home. 

Once students have finished their project, they are ready to share!

Traditionally, research projects are shared to the whole class at the front of the room, one student at a time. This can be an option if you have the time and inclination. Consider using a document camera to project students’ drawings. Or take a digital photo of the drawing so you can project it. 

However, one of the joys of the mini research projects is that they are perfect for speed sharing! 

Speed sharing is fast and interactive! Students pair up and share what they learned with each other, then move on to pair with someone new and share again. There are two ways you can do this.

Controlled Speed Sharing

Have half your class sit or stand, while the other half rotates around the room. Give students 5 minutes (or however long you think it will take) with each partner. When the buzzer sounds, the rotating students move one student to the right. You decide how many partners they share with! 

Chaos Speed Sharing!

Let students wander around the room finding new partners to share with at will. To provide a bit more structure, set a timer and have them stay with one partner until the timer goes off, then find a new one. 

Provide Accountability:

You want to be sure that students are actually learning from their partners. Here are a few ideas:

  • Have them write down what they learn as they go. Provide a sheet to fill out that is basically your rubric, but with space to write on. They will fill out one ‘rubric’ for each partner they talk to. Since the rubric is short and simple, you can fit four or five on a single page. Then collect the sheets for a classwork grade.
  • At the end of the rotations, call on a few random students to tell the class what they learned from another student. Let the class know beforehand that you will be doing this – you will find that a lot of them will choose to take notes on their own!
  • Tell students the central idea that you are looking to reinforce with this mini research project. Have them collect three (or however many) pieces of information from their classmates that supports the central idea. Write them down and turn them in.
  • For an advanced class, challenge students individually to come up with what they think the central idea is! Have them collect information that supports their central idea. It is fun to have students share what they think is the central idea after rotations are finished. 

Great Things about the Mini Research Project

If you are not yet sold on the mini research project, here are a few more reasons they are great!

  • Student interest: They get to choose what to research!
  • Save paper: Half sheet per student! 
  • Prevent plagiarism: The research is so constrained that students are forced to summarize what they learn. 
  • Save class time: Compared to a traditional research assignment, it is so much faster for students to complete a mini research project. I give around 50 minutes of class time, plus a night or two to finish for homework if need be. Share time can take only ten to thirty minutes, depending on how many rotations you want to go through. 
  • Save YOUR time! Grading traditional research paper vs a half sheet? Not even close!
  • Focus students: The rubric and single half piece of paper force students to focus on just the important bits of the project. 
  • Challenge: Long winded students must practice brevity!
  • Safety: Students who struggle with reading, writing, and sharing feel much more comfortable with mini research projects. 

What do you think of the mini research project?

Let us know in the comments: what central ideas and topics would work well for a mini research project in your classroom?

If you like this article, check out this one – Eleven ways to keep students engaged during direct instruction!

Or this popular article from our sister site – Best Way to do Test Corrections to Save Time and LEARN from Our Mistakes!

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The goal of the mini research project is for students to invest in learning about a new topic, and then sharing with their classmates what they learned. The project is meant to support and reinforce a specific central idea of the lesson or unit. I suppose this is true of any research project, but as you will see, the mini research project has some unique characteristics that make it a great choice!

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Easy Research Paper Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan for Research Paper

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Luckily I came up with a research paper lesson plan that wouldn’t cause me to want to lick a curling iron while stepping on Lego pieces. I now share this lesson plan for writing a research paper with you. It also serves as a research skills lesson plan.

ELA Common Core Standards for Writing a Research Paper Lesson Plan

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  • Common Core Writing Standard 2 . Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • W.9-10.5   Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of L.9-10.1-3.)
  • W.9-10.7   Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • W.9-10.8   Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • W.9-10.9   Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • L.9-10.3a  Write and edit work so that it conforms to the guidelines in a style manual (e.g., MLA Handbook, Turabian’s Manual for Writers) appropriate for the discipline and writing type.

Keep it simple.

This particular research skills lesson plan’s purpose is to give students confidence. The teacher takes them through the steps. It may take a week or two. The materials I used for my research paper unit involves The Odyssey . I utilized the text book and web sources.

research paper mini lessons

If you’d rather get struck in the forehead by a boulder thrown by a Cyclops than read another research paper, keep reading.

Step 1 : Instruct students how to create a works cited page. Include examples on your works cited page. Numerous handouts exist online. Here’s one I use: Citation Expectations .

Step 2 : Students will now take notes on a specific topic. This works best if it’s aligned thematically with a unit you’re about to begin. Before taking the first note, instruct students to write down the citation information in MLA format. For example, we were about to begin The Odyssey , so I found introductory material in our text book for them to read and take Cornell Notes on. By the end of day 1, they had one page of Cornell Notes, properly cited.

Step 3: At this point you’re simply repeating step 2. For this day I found another article in the text book about epic poems. At the end of day 2, students had 2 pages of Cornell Notes with citation information in MLA format.

It takes a hero to teach research to high-school students.

Step 4 : We’re doing the same thing, except you’ll want to mix in a different type of citation. I used The Hero’s Journey video from TedEd. If you checkout my Hero’s Journey Resource Page , there’s a video and a few other things. By the end of day 3, students have three pages of notes and three sources properly cited in MLA format.

Step 5: One more time. For these notes, I find a source online and project it on a screen. For this exercise, I used a document on epic conventions from Carson-Newman University. In addition to learning about epic conventions, we learned that Carson-Newman University is in Tennessee. Now you know. Each student now has 4 pages of notes, all with the correct MLA citation.

*Obviously, you can modify the assignment to suit the ability and needs of your students. I prefer to keep it simple and focus on the technical aspects of research papers.*

Step 6: Put together the works cited page. Refer to the Citations Expectations or just Google it. I recommend the Purdue OWL website. I revert back to 1973 and make students hand write their works cited page in class as a rough draft. Despite teaching for 17 years, I’m still amazed at the number of times I can repeat something and still have 2/3 of students do the exact opposite.

research paper mini lessons

Step 8: Instruct students to write the rough draft in class. Emphasize the importance of citing in the correct format.

Step 9: They’re on their own. You’ve gone through it step-by-step. Make the final draft due in a few days.

Here’s how I assess the mini-research paper.

  • *MLA Works Cited Page: 40 pts. The works cited page must be absolutely perfect to get 40 points.  Take off a point or two for typos and other minor errors. Errors in overall quality–excluding a source, not double spacing, wrong size font, no title, not indenting correctly are major errors and will be treated as major errors in the scoring.
  • Direct Citation of Sources: 35 pts. I require a minimum of 3 directly cited sources. Either it’s done right or it isn’t. It must be perfect to get the full 35 points. All mistakes are penalized. Major mistakes–not including a page number, not including an author, not setting the citation up in context–are penalized accordingly.
  • Spelling, Mechanics, Grammar, etc: 15 pts . The key here is not to look stupid. One of the challenges of a research paper is establishing credibility. Any mistake in this area requires a penalty.
  • Content: 10 pts. This is the opposite of what I usually do. The major objective of this assignment is to teach technical research writing skills. Once the basic skills of research writing are complete, I can then focus on content.

*According to MLA, you should only include works in the works cited page that you actually cite. For this assignment, however, it’s a good idea to make them cite all the sources you go over in class.

Last Updated on March 25, 2016 by Trenton Lorcher


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11 Research Project Strategies for Second Graders

Real teachers share their best ideas!

research paper mini lessons

Research is part of the Common Core standards for second grade , but what are some ways of approaching this seemingly complex topic with such little ones? Teacher Malia wrote into the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE last week asking for tips. “I have to do a research project with my second graders this year. Any tips on making research appropriate for that age?”

We got lots of feedback from teachers on creating grade-appropriate research projects, Malia. Try one (or all!) of these ideas for your next assignment!

1. Keep the topic simple.

Students can learn and apply methods of research on very simple topics. “My science and computer class did a short research project that entailed creating a PowerPoint about an animal they researched. It was not overly detailed.” — Stephanie W.

2. Use the project as a way to introduce students to the resources of the school.

“When I taught second grade, we did research projects. The kids had fun with it, learned how to use the internet and library as resources, and loved having a ‘big kid’ assignment.” — Elisabeth N.

3. Have a highly structured, creative final product instead of a written paragraph.

“I’ve done animal research in second grade. Their ‘paper’ was a very guided booklet with starters, prompts and stems. It worked really well.” — Jennifer G.

4. Or if you include writing, add a visual component to complement it.

“We do a planet project. They choose the planet and create a visual aid, write a paragraph, and present their findings to the students. The paragraph is a simple, four- or five-sentence piece with lots of support.” — Lorena I.

5. Get other staff members involved for support.

“I’ve always done research projects with my young students, and one thing that helps make it successful is involving other teachers in the school, like the computer teacher and the librarian. Having other people as resources to help out students creates more guidance and support for them.” — Katrina P.

6. Make it a habit.

Research can be a frequent part of your instruction. “My second graders do a research project every month! They create posters, Google slides and brochures. They are pretty good at it, and they love to do them.” — Sheli I. 

The more often they do it, the easier it will be for them!

7. Break down the skills and teach them as mini-lessons.

“Teach the steps as individual lessons the culminate in a research paper or presentation.” — Hayley B.

“Give your students graphic organizers to help them keep organized.” — Helene E.

8. Do it all in the classroom.

Structure the project so it can be done completely in school. “My students need to learn the process, and it takes us a couple of months, and there is such pride in the finished product. It is all done in my room under my supervision.” This also cuts down on the likelihood that parents will “help” a bit more than they should.

“Do it in school to ensure the child does the work. If it’s done at home, then the child may still not have experience doing research because the parent could do the whole project or, on the flip side, not make sure the project gets done.” — Cathy C.

9. Create a flyer.

“My students do research and present it in a flyer format.” — Kathleen C.

10. Chunk it.

“My students in third grade have written several five- or more paragraph researched essays this year—typed! But we work in chunks for weeks and peer edit, and that’s what makes it work.” — Maggi S.

11. Go interdisciplinary.

“We did research projects on a chosen animal and everything tied in—they made clay animals in art, built their habitats, researched on the iPad and wrote a short essay about the animal. Then they presented their findings. They LOVED it!” — Alyssa V.


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Project-Based Learning and the Research Paper

Students take responsibility for their learning and develop solutions for complex problems when their research paper becomes a PBL unit.

A class of students works in groups together in the library

In 11th grade, students in my county are expected to generate a research paper or product. In the past, I stuck to the traditional paper, mostly because doing so was comfortable for me as an English teacher. I can do papers. I can do essays. I can provide feedback and teach revision.

However, last year I took a risk—instead of the traditional paper, I told my students we would be embarking on a project-based learning (PBL) journey. They seemed excited, mostly because they thought they wouldn’t have to write a paper. In the end, they did so much more than that.

Project-Based Learning in High School English

I had my students form groups and then gave each group the task of choosing an issue they were interested in. The project would involve coming up with a viable solution. As a class we brainstormed all kinds of big issues, including school shootings, poverty, LGBT rights, bullying, and homelessness, as well as local issues like the need for more options in school lunches, such as vegan and gluten- and diary-free options.

Next they had to brainstorm possible resources and questions they needed to answer. Therein lies the beauty of PBL: Since I couldn’t anticipate their every need, they had to take responsibility for their own learning, and solve problems as they encountered them.

Mini-Lessons and Formative Assessments

Their first formative assessment developed organically as they realized they would need to email professionals who could answer questions to guide their research. These adults included our school principal and our security team, as well as local government officials. Students reached out to their local delegates and other elected representatives, including the congresswoman for our district.

I gave a mini-lesson on how to write a formal email, and then the students composed their emails. Before they sent the messages, I previewed them, offering feedback and constructive criticism (formative assessment), and students made revisions.

By the next class period, my students had one of two versions of the same problem: Their recipients had responded or they hadn’t, but either way my students didn’t know what to do.

I gave a mini-lesson on how to send a follow-up email when someone doesn’t respond and on how to move forward when they do. They wrote follow-up emails, and again I previewed these. As we awaited responses, several groups asked if they could poll the staff or their peers about school lunch choices, improving school security, and expanding the school parking lot. This exercise could benefit all groups, so we decided to make it the next task.

I showed them how to create an online survey using Office 365. Their surveys had to contain at least two graphics and 10 good questions (open ended, multiple choice, or order of importance).

Meanwhile, students continued getting responses from their email recipients and needed to set up interviews with those people. How to write good interview questions became the next mini-lesson. My students were largely unaware of how to interview someone and didn’t realize that the questions they prepared were critical in gaining the evidence they needed to support their proposals.

For example, a group who wanted to expand the school parking lot went from asking broad questions like, “Do you think we need a larger parking lot?” to very specific ones like, “How many accidents have occurred in the parking lot since the school opened?” Most of the interviews were conducted over the phone, but some were in person—one group, with permission from their parents, interviewed members of a local homeless camp.

Students also had to find at least three solid sources and take notes to be embedded in their final product, with correct citations. They found statistics and data to support their proposals, and made sure to address counterarguments.

The Final Products

I gave my students options for their final products. All of them had to contain their survey results, research, and emails and interviews in one form or another. They came up with ideas like a public service announcement, a formal proposal, a bill, a documentary, a photo essay, or a piece of music or art.

I created rubrics and exemplars so students would know what I was expecting. I didn’t want to be too controlling, but I wanted high-quality products. They shared their final products with a variety of authentic audiences, including their congresswoman, our principal, a county supervisor, and our security team.

I gave each group one summative grade, but in the future I plan to split the grade: 70 percent of each student’s grade will be for their group’s work, and 30 percent will be an individual grade based on my observations, students’ self-reflections, and peer reflections.

As students shared their projects and we reflected on the process together, a few things became clear to me. First, I’ll never teach the research paper any other way because the PBL model we used helped develop real-world problem solvers, thinkers, and doers instead of rule followers. I learned that to encourage students to step out of their comfort zones, I too had to step out of mine, but beautiful, authentic learning happens when we create the right conditions for it.

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30 Captivating Research Activities for Middle School

February 6, 2023 //  by  Josilyn Markel

Learning to research effectively is an important skill that middle-school-aged students can learn and carry with them for their whole academic careers. The students in question will use these skills for everything from reading news articles to writing a systematic review of their sources. With increased demands on students these days, it’s never too early to introduce these sophisticated research skills. 

We’ve collected thirty of the best academic lessons for middle school students to learn about sophisticated research skills that they’ll use for the rest of their lives. 

1. Guiding Questions for Research

When you first give a research project to middle school students, it’s important to make sure that they really understand the research prompts. You can use this guiding questions tool with students to help them draw on existing knowledge to properly contextualize the prompt and assignment before they even pick up a pen. 

Learn More: Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

2. Teaching Research Essential Skills Bundle

This bundle touches on all the writing skills, planning strategies, and so-called soft skills that students will need to get started on their first research project. These resources are especially geared towards middle school-aged students to help them with cognitive control tasks plus engaging and active lessons. 

Learn More: Pinterest

3. How to Develop a Research Question

Before a middle school student can start their research time on task, they have to form a solid research question. This resource features activities for students that will help them identify a problem and then formulate a question that will guide their research project going first. 

Learn More: YouTube

4. Note-Taking Skills Infographic

For a strong introduction and/or systematic review of the importance of note-taking, look no further than this infographic. It covers several excellent strategies for taking the most important info from a source, and it also gives tips for using these strategies to strengthen writing skills. 

Learn More: Word Counter

5. Guide to Citing Online Sources

One of the more sophisticated research skills is learning to cite sources. These days, the internet is the most popular place to find research sources, so learning the citation styles for making detailed citations for internet sources is an excellent strategy. This is a skill that will stick with middle school students throughout their entire academic careers! 

Learn More: Educator’s Technology

6. Guided Student-Led Research Projects

This is a great way to boost communication between students while also encouraging choice and autonomy throughout the research process. This really opens up possibilities for students and boosts student activity and engagement throughout the whole project. The group setup also decreases the demands on students as individuals. 

Learn More: The Thinker Builder

7. Teaching Students to Fact-Check

Fact-checking is an important meta-analytic review skill that every student needs. This resource introduces probing questions that students can ask in order to ensure that the information they’re looking at is actually true. This can help them identify fake news, find more credible sources, and improve their overall sophisticated research skills. 

Learn More: Just Add Students

8. Fact-Checking Like a Pro

This resource features great teaching strategies (such as visualization) to help alleviate the demands on students when it comes to fact-checking their research sources. It’s perfect for middle school-aged students who want to follow the steps to make sure that they’re using credible sources in all of their research projects, for middle school and beyond!

9. Website Evaluation Activity

With this activity, you can use any website as a backdrop. This is a great way to help start the explanation of sources that will ultimately lead to helping students locate and identify credible sources (rather than fake news). With these probing questions, students will be able to evaluate websites effectively.

10. How to Take Notes in Class

This visually pleasing resource tells students everything they need to know about taking notes in a classroom setting. It goes over how to glean the most important information from the classroom teacher, and how to organize the info in real-time, and it gives tips for cognitive control tasks and other sophisticated research skills that will help students throughout the research and writing process. 

Learn More: Visualistan

11. Teaching Research Papers: Lesson Calendar

If you have no idea how you’re going to cover all the so-called soft skills, mini-lessons, and activities for students during your research unit, then don’t fret! This calendar breaks down exactly what you should be teaching, and when. It introduces planning strategies, credible sources, and all the other research topics with a logical and manageable flow. 

Learn More: Discover Hub Pages

12. Google Docs Features for Teaching Research

With this resource, you can explore all of the handy research-focused features that are already built into Google Docs! You can use it to build activities for students or to make your existing activities for students more tech-integrated. You can use this tool with students from the outset to get them interested and familiar with the Google Doc setup. 

13. Using Effective Keywords to Search the Internet

The internet is a huge place, and this vast amount of knowledge puts huge demands on students’ skills and cognition. That’s why they need to learn how to search online effectively, with the right keywords. This resource teaches middle school-aged students how to make the most of all the search features online. 

Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers

14. How to Avoid Plagiarism: “Did I Plagiarize?” 

This student activity looks at the biggest faux pas in middle school research projects: plagiarism. These days, the possibilities for students to plagiarize are endless, so it’s important for them to learn about quotation marks, paraphrasing, and citations. This resource includes information on all of those and in a handy flow chart to keep them right!

Learn More: Twitter

15. 7 Tips for Recognizing Bias

This is a resource to help middle school-aged students recognize the differences between untrustworthy and credible sources. It gives a nice explanation of sources that are trustworthy and also offers a source of activities that students can use to test and practice identifying credible sources. 

Learn More: We Are Teachers

16. UNESCO’s Laws for Media Literacy

This is one of those great online resources that truly focuses on the students in question, and it serves a larger, global goal. It offers probing questions that can help middle school-aged children determine whether or not they’re looking at credible online resources. It also helps to strengthen the so-called soft skills that are necessary for completing research. 

Learn More: SLJ Blogs

17. Guide for Evaluating a News Article

Here are active lessons that students can use to learn more about evaluating a news article, whether it’s on a paper or online resource. It’s also a great tool to help solidify the concept of fake news and help students build an excellent strategy for identifying and utilizing credible online sources. 

Learn More: Valencia College

18. Middle School Research Projects Middle School Students Will Love

Here is a list of 30 great research projects for middle schoolers, along with cool examples of each one. It also goes through planning strategies and other so-called soft skills that your middle school-aged students will need in order to complete such projects.

Learn More: Madly Learning

19. Teaching Analysis with Body Biographies

This is a student activity and teaching strategy all rolled into one! It looks at the importance of research and biographies, which brings a human element to the research process. It also helps communication between students and helps them practice those so-called soft skills that come in handy while researching. 

Learn More: Study All Knight

20. Top Tips for Teaching Research in Middle School

When it comes to teaching middle school research, there are wrong answers and there are correct answers. You can learn all the correct answers and teaching strategies with this resource, which debunks several myths about teaching the writing process at the middle school level. 

Learn More: Teaching ELA with Joy

21. Teaching Students to Research Online: Lesson Plan

This is a ready-made lesson plan that is ready to present. You don’t have to do tons of preparation, and you’ll be able to explain the basic and foundational topics related to research. Plus, it includes a couple of activities to keep students engaged throughout this introductory lesson.

Learn More: Kathleen Morris

22. Project-Based Learning: Acceptance and Tolerance

This is a series of research projects that look at specific problems regarding acceptance and tolerance. It offers prompts for middle school-aged students that will get them to ask big questions about themselves and others in the world around them. 

Learn More: Sandy Cangelosi

23. 50 Tiny Lessons for Teaching Research Skills in Middle School

These fifty mini-lessons and activities for students will have middle school-aged students learning and applying research skills in small chunks. The mini-lessons approach allows students to get bite-sized information and focus on mastering and applying each step of the research process in turn. This way, with mini-lessons, students don’t get overwhelmed with the whole research process at once. In this way, mini-lessons are a great way to teach the whole research process!

24. Benefits of Research Projects for Middle School Students

Whenever you feel like it’s just not worth it to go to the trouble to teach your middle school-aged students about research, let this list motivate you! It’s a great reminder of all the great things that come with learning to do good research at an early age. 

Learn More: Thrive in Grade Five

25. Top 5 Study and Research Skills for Middle Schoolers

This is a great resource for a quick and easy overview of the top skills that middle schoolers will need before they dive into research. It outlines the most effective tools to help your students study and research well, throughout their academic careers. 

Learn More: Meagan Gets Real

26. Research with Informational Text: World Travelers

This travel-themed research project will have kids exploring the whole world with their questions and queries. It is a fun way to bring new destinations into the research-oriented classroom. 

Learn More: The Superhero Teacher

27. Project-Based Learning: Plan a Road Trip

If you want your middle school-aged students to get into the researching mood, have them plan a road trip! They’ll have to examine the prompt from several angles and collect data from several sources before they can put together a plan for an epic road trip. 

Learn More: Appletastic Learning

28. Methods for Motivating Writing Skills

When your students just are feeling up to the task of research-based writing, it’s time to break out these motivational methods. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to get your kids in the mood to research, question, and write!

29. How to Set Up a Student Research Station

This article tells you everything you need to know about a student center focused on sophisticated research skills. These student center activities are engaging and fun, and they touch on important topics in the research process, such as planning strategies, fact-checking skills, citation styles, and some so-called soft skills.

Learn More: Upper Elementary Snapshots

30. Learn to Skim and Scan to Make Research Easier

These activities for students are geared towards encouraging reading skills that will ultimately lead to better and easier research. The skills in question? Skimming and scanning. This will help students read more efficiently and effectively as they research from a variety of sources.


  1. Mini Research Making with Example

    research paper mini lessons

  2. Mini Research Paper rubric by Life Skills for Middle Schoolers

    research paper mini lessons

  3. Mini Research Paper by The English Teacher's Pet

    research paper mini lessons

  4. Reading Workshop Mini-Lesson Template

    research paper mini lessons

  5. 31+ Research Paper Templates in PDF

    research paper mini lessons

  6. Mini-Research Paper ~ Interactive Research Papers, Lesson 1 ~Common

    research paper mini lessons


  1. Mini Research Making with Example


  3. How To Write A Research Paper: Introduction (Complete Tutorial)


  5. Step by Step Guide to write a Research Paper (For Beginners)

  6. How to write a research paper? Learn step by step from the scratch


  1. 50 Mini-Lessons For Teaching Students Research Skills

    It outlines a five-step approach to break down the research process into manageable chunks. This post shares ideas for mini-lessons that could be carried out in the classroom throughout the year to help build students' skills in the five areas of: clarify, search, delve, evaluate, and cite. It also includes ideas for learning about staying ...

  2. The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching Research for Kids

    Here are my exact steps to teaching research in elementary. As a school librarian, I am committed to teaching kids how to form a plan for research. In this blog post, I show you the videos, slides presentations, and worksheets that I used to teach research for kids. Students can start to learn how to research starting as early as kindergarten.

  3. 50 Mini-Lessons For Teaching Students Research Skills

    This post shares ideas for mini-lessons that could be carried out in the classroom throughout the year to help build students' skills in the five areas of: clarify, search, delve, evaluate, and cite. It also includes ideas for learning about staying organised throughout the research process. Today's students have more information at their ...

  4. Teaching a Research Unit

    Olivia Franklin. Engage students with interesting research topics, teach them skills to become adept independent researchers, and help them craft their end-of-unit research papers. CommonLit 360 is a comprehensive ELA curriculum for grades 6-12. Our standards-aligned units are highly engaging and develop core reading and writing skills.

  5. PDF 50 Mini-Lessons For Teaching Students Research Skills

    50 Mini-Lessons For Teaching Students Research Skills www.kathleenamorris.com S t a y i n g O r g a n i s e d List and discuss ways you can take notes while researching (e.g. Google Docs, Google Keep, paper etc.). Discuss pros and cons for each. 6 How can you keep the valuable information you find

  6. Scaffolding Methods for Research Paper Writing

    Research Paper Scaffold: This handout guides students in researching and organizing the information they need for writing their research paper.; Inquiry on the Internet: Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection: Students use Internet search engines and Web analysis checklists to evaluate online resources then write annotations that explain how and why the resources will be valuable to the ...

  7. Research Building Blocks: "Organize This!"

    Teaching research skills can help students find answers for themselves. In this minilesson, students organize the information they have compiled through the research process by using sentence strips. Students first walk through the process using information on Beluga whales as a model. Students match facts written on sentence strips to one of ...

  8. Research Minilessons Teaching Resources

    This bundle of research writing mini lessons utilize MLA 8 citation format and provide quick, differentiated or whole-class practice for common areas of struggle with research or synthesis writing. These three mini lessons are designed for older or more advanced high school students. This discounted bundle contains these three individually-sold products:In Text Citation MinilessonCounterclaim ...

  9. How to Write a Research Paper

    Develop a thesis statement. Create a research paper outline. Write a first draft of the research paper. Write the introduction. Write a compelling body of text. Write the conclusion. The second draft. The revision process. Research paper checklist.

  10. Mini Research Paper Writing Teaching Resources

    Browse mini research paper writing resources on Teachers Pay Teachers, a marketplace trusted by millions of teachers for original educational resources. ... This lesson is part of my Interactive Research Papers product. Please do not unintentionally duplicate your purchase. Grades 3-8 Lesson 2: Students will watch 2 videos and read a comic ...

  11. Focus Students with the Mini Research Project

    A mini research project can help students focus on the most important central theme of the lesson. The goal of the mini research project is for students to invest in learning about a new topic, and then sharing with their classmates what they learned. The project is meant to support and reinforce a specific central idea of the lesson or unit.

  12. Easy Research Paper Lesson Plan

    ELA Common Core Standards for Writing a Research Paper Lesson Plan ... Here's how I assess the mini-research paper. *MLA Works Cited Page: 40 pts. The works cited page must be absolutely perfect to get 40 points. Take off a point or two for typos and other minor errors. Errors in overall quality-excluding a source, not double spacing, wrong ...

  13. Teach research writing in smaller mini-units

    Focus on facts. Within each smaller research project, target a couple of informative writing skills at a time. For example, the first mini-unit might include a focus on narrowing a topic/thesis and collecting facts. Let students hone their ability to search the Internet and identify credible sites and sources.

  14. PDF How to Write a Research Paper Lesson Plan

    Step 1: Begin the lesson plan with an image [3 minutes] Show the third slide of the PowerPoint presentation with a picture of stacked books and an apple on the top of the book that is titled "Education.". Begin to discuss the significance of the apple as. a very powerful fruit.

  15. 11 Research Project Strategies for Second Graders

    7. Break down the skills and teach them as mini-lessons. "Teach the steps as individual lessons the culminate in a research paper or presentation." —Hayley B. "Give your students graphic organizers to help them keep organized." —Helene E. 8. Do it all in the classroom. Structure the project so it can be done completely in school.

  16. Project-Based Learning and the Research Paper

    In 11th grade, students in my county are expected to generate a research paper or product. In the past, I stuck to the traditional paper, mostly because doing so was comfortable for me as an English teacher. I can do papers. ... I gave a mini-lesson on how to write a formal email, and then the students composed their emails. Before they sent ...

  17. PDF Lesson Plan 1: Research paper Writing: An Overview

    -PowerPoint lecture (Research Paper Writing: An Overview) -an example of a completed research paper from internet . Procedure: PowerPoint Lecture--Research Paper Writing: An Overview . 1) The parts of a research paper are: title page, abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, references. 2) Conducting Research: Where to start?

  18. 30 Captivating Research Activities for Middle School

    The mini-lessons approach allows students to get bite-sized information and focus on mastering and applying each step of the research process in turn. This way, with mini-lessons, students don't get overwhelmed with the whole research process at once. In this way, mini-lessons are a great way to teach the whole research process! Learn More ...

  19. Results for research mini lesson

    This lesson is part of my Interactive Research Papers product. Please do not unintentionally duplicate your purchase. Grades 3-8 Lesson 1: Mini-Research Paper Students participate in a simulated research paper on Hurricanes. They are introduced to the concept of using note cards for details. and practice sorting the note cards into categories in order to organize details in a research paper.

  20. How To Research Mini Lesson Teaching Resources

    Reagan Tunstall. 4.9. (302) $9.00. PDF. The January mini-lessons focus on information and research while reviewing sequence and opinion writing from previous units. Some lessons are over extended days with revision, editing, and an art or craft component. There are enough lessons to cover the writer's workshop lessons for the month.

  21. 18 Simple Mini-Lessons in this Clever Unit Example for Expository Writing

    The goal of expository writing is to deepen the reader's understanding of the topic. Expository writing is fact-based and presented in a logically organized way. The writer is objective, meaning they keep their opinion out of the writing. Expository writing is also called: informational writing. informative writing.

  22. Research Mini Lesson Teaching Resources

    This lesson is part of my Interactive Research Papers product. Please do not unintentionally duplicate your purchase. Grades 3-8 Lesson 1: Mini-Research Paper Students participate

  23. Mini Lesson On How To Research Teaching Resources

    This self-management unit for K-2 is teacher-approved and includes 5 detailed lessons filled with hands-on and mindful activities that teach children how to self-regulate, calm down, be mindful, and develop self-control and self-esteem. ♥♥The mind+heart Social Emotional Learning Curriculum for K-2 is available for a SPECIAL LOW PRICE DISCOUNT.