Teaching Research Writing

5 Methods to Teach Students How to do Research Papers

A scaffolding method is a great option for teaching students how to create research papers. This allows students to organize and research their information. This scaffold is a useful tool for writing expository papers. Students are greatly helped by having the structure and research completed before they start writing.

Students can learn from well-prepared references.

  • Learn informational text
  • Expository writing requires practice strategies that are specific to each genre
  • Make use of an inquiry-based approach
  • Individually work
  • Work collaboratively

These tips and methods build on the initial preparation.

  1. Students create a logical thesis to express their perspective on the subject they are researching.
  2. Students are expected to practice their research skills. Students must be able to evaluate their sources, summarize and paraphrase important information, and correctly cite their sources.
  3. Students organize and sequence their ideas in expository writing.
  4. They should organize and display their data on charts, graphs, and maps.
  5. An exposition that is well-written and focused on the topic lists events chronologically.

Forming a research question

Students should receive a sample research paper scaffold as well as a student research paper. These should be reviewed with students by the teacher, who should read them aloud.

Use the example research paper to explain how a research article answers a question. Students will be able to see how a question can lead them to a literature review. This then leads to analysis, research and results, and finally to a conclusion.

Students will be given a blank copy the Research Paper Scaffold. Explain to them that research papers are written according to each section. Each section builds upon the previous one; explain how each section will be dealt with in future sessions.

To help students learn how to use the internet to search, you might consider using Internet research lessons.


Students should collect at least five articles and have them printed to answer their research question. To mark the sections that are relevant to their research question, students can use a highlighter. This allows students to remain focused on their research questions.

Each article could provide different options for students’ research questions. Inform students that a paper that examines multiple perspectives will be more engaging than one.


Students should bring their articles to class. Teachers should ask students to highlight important information and submit it for evaluation before a class begins.

After identification has been confirmed, students will need to complete the Literature Review section. This section allows them to list the most important facts in their articles on lines 1 through 5.


To find common themes, students need to evaluate the information they have found.

Explain how a numbered list can be created from the various aspects of literature to identify potential themes that could be used for analysis.


The conclusion of the research paper is the student’s response to the research question. This section should be no more than a few sentences. The literature review should be used to support the students’ answers.

Students might use the conclusion section to highlight the differences and similarities in their findings. Students may also suggest further research on the topic.