Teaching the Research Paper - The Old Schoolhouse Family

(If you are looking for our old Teaching the Essay and Teaching the Research Paper units, they've been discontinued. All the information plus much, much more is included in season three of Beyond the Book Report!)

Swales, J. M. (1987). Utilizing the literatures in teaching the research paper. , 21, 41-68.

The Oral Book Report
- Concepts introduced:
The DOs and DON’Ts of giving an oral presentation with slides
- Activity:
Watch video lecture on PowerPoint presentations
(link to slides; kids watch a video)
- Final Product (100 pt total):
PowerPoint presentation of book

The Research Paper
- Concepts introduced:
How to write a research paper
(link to mixed-up formal outline activity)
- Activity:
Expanded version of our “Teaching the Research Paper” unit including video lectures
Students write an informative research paper on a famous author
- Final Product (100 pt total):
An argumentative research paper on the book, defending a thesis


Teaching the Essay and Teaching the Research Paper are foolproof

Strickland, James. “Just the FAQs: An Alternative to Teaching the Research Paper.” English Journal 94.1 (Sept. 2004).

I do not think I am alone when I admit to fellow English teachers that I do not look forward to teaching the research paper to my freshman high school students. Each year I taught the required research unit, which has included the I-Search as well as the traditional research paper, I was frustrated with the outcome. Plagiarism, the use of random facts, disorganization of the paper, and student apathy topped the list of problems.