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The Research Paper

Because you don't need an M.A. to whip up a great research paper.

At some point in life, a teacher or employer will tell you to go out into the world, gather information, and come up with your own ideas in the form of a research paper. Rather than run, hide in a closet, and bawl your eyes out in fear of coming up with your own ideas, Shmoop's a fan of proudly researching information, interpreting it, and forging your own brilliant thoughts.

This course is meant to elevate you to new heights of research glory. Writing a good research paper isn't something that just magically comes naturally to anybody—no kid learns their first letters and says, "Hmm, I think I'll analyze the use of dialogue in The Count of Monte Cristo." Instead, writing research papers is a skill that has to be learned, like everything else in school (or life).

We've broken this process down into easy, bite-size chunks. We'll be brainstorming for ideas, learning how to use the power of Google more effectively, and then crafting the most clearest thesis statements the world has ever seen. And that's only the beginning. Shmoop will hold your hands every step of the way, and in the end—you'll have a short, sweet, real-live-bona-fide research paper. More importantly, you'll have the ability to write a research paper without panicking, for the rest of your (long, glorious) career.

This course is designed to be a general introduction to the process of researching and writing a research paper, asking students to choose their own topics and take them from brainstorming to finished product. If you're a teacher assigning a specific research paper to a class, this course is a also a great and flexible companion for guiding students through that process, especially if it's their first time delving into the depths of research. 

Course Breakdown

*Purchasing by unit includes course material only.

Unit 1. Writing a Research Paper

Specific topics covered include:

  • Brainstorming and developing research questions
  • How to research
  • Evaluating sources
  • Developing a thesis
  • Organizing information
  • Citations and plagiarism
  • Outlining
  • The writing process
  • Editing and revising


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  • Course Length: 2 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, College
  • Course Type: Short Course
  • Category:
    • Writing
    • History and Social Science
    • Life Skills

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