Grades 11-12: Writing Research Papers

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COMMON CORE STANDARDS

English Language Arts and Literacy

Writing

W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

W.11-12.1(a) Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

W.11-12.1(b) Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

W.11-12.1(c) Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

W.11-12.1(d) Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

W.11-12.1(e) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

W.11-12.2 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.11-12.2(a) Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

W.11-12.2(b) Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

W.11-12.2(c) Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

W.11-12.2(d) Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques, such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.

W.11-12.2(e) Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

W.11-12.2(f) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

W.11-12.3 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.11-12.4 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.

W.11-12.5 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

W.11-12.6 Conduct short and 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.11-12.7 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

W.11-12.8 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

W.11-12.8 (a) Apply grades 11–12 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics”).

W.11-12.8 (b) Apply grades 11–12 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning [e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court Case majority opinions and dissents] and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy [e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses]”).

Writing Standards for History/Social Studies/Science and Technical Subjects

WHST.11-12.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

WHST.11-12.1(a) Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

WHST.11-12.1(b) Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

WHST.11-12.1(c) Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

WHST.11-12.1(d) Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

WHST.11-12.1(e) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.

WHST.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

WHST.11-12.2 (a) Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

WHST.11-12.2 (b) Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

WHST.11-12.2 (c) Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

WHST.11-12.2 (d) Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic; convey a knowledgeable stance in a style that responds to the discipline and context as well as to the expertise of likely readers.

WHST.11-12.2 (e) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation provided (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

WHST.11-12.3 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

WHST.11-12.4. 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.

WHST.11-12.5 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

WHST.11-12.6 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.

WHST.11-12.7. Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

WHST.11-12.8. Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

DESCRIPTION OF UNIT

This Grades 11-12 unit titled “Writing Research Papers” from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education contains 6 lessons of varying lengths ranging from 60 minutes to 180 minutes. This unit focuses on the process of writing research papers. The lessons in this unit guide students through the processes of selecting a topic, developing a thesis, and cultivating sources to provide support for their claims. The unit is designed to extend over a period of time to allow for developing, drafting, editing, revising and completing a research paper. The culminating authentic performance task is the creation of a well-crafted and properly cited research paper.

CAUTIONS

Connecticut teachers are cautioned that teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. Prior to beginning this unit, it will be important to select or develop a timeline for completion of the research paper, since some of the steps require considerable time for students to accomplish. Depending on the intent of the unit and the variability of student learners, three time options are provided. While some accommodations and supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities and/or read below the grade level are provided, it will be important to make adaptations as necessary. The primary resource for information on research papers and the handouts used in this unit is titled, “Teacher and Student Guide for Writing Research Papers.” It is available for download in the curriculum units listing once you sign in. The standards listed above have been selected as the targeted standards for discipline specific courses of study. Teachers will select which set of standards apply to their course of study. Individual teachers will need to add standards relevant to their own subject areas and that are addressed by the curriculum of the course for which research papers are being written. Since this unit aligns with the Grades 9-12 Social Studies Frameworks for Inquiry in the Social Studies, these social studies standards could be added and/or replace some of the targeted standards listed above. For a direct link to this source, see the Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks

RATIONALE FOR SELECTION

The unit is an exemplary example of how to take students through the steps of writing a research paper. It includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time. Lessons are designed to gradually remove supports, requiring students to demonstrate their independent capacities. Lessons include formative assessments with aligned rubrics to inform instruction for each step of the research process. The unit’s performance task elicits direct observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the major targeted grade level CCSS standards and includes an aligned rubric. Because the unit is designed to be flexible with strong individual lessons, all content areas in grades 11-12 could use the unit by changing the topic of the research paper.