How to Quickly Write a Research Paper

by | Nov 1, 2018 | Writing | 0 comments

Writing is a tricky subject to teach. Students are often comfortable with certain parts of writing but may struggle in others. Some students enjoy researching and taking notes but struggle to put the essay together. Others love to write but have difficulty organizing their information. How can teachers help all students write a research paper?

Preparation is Key

The key to avoiding procrastination is preparation. As I discussed in the previous post, outlining helps all students by organizing their information into paragraphs. Once the outline is written, the writer simply uses the notes on the outline to create full sentences and paragraphs. This is the easiest way to quickly write a research paper (in my experience.)

Modeling a Research Paper

It is important for teachers to model the writing process. Students need to both see and practice writing directly from an outline. A few students usually catch on right away, but others need the teacher to model multiple paragraphs.

Before starting this lesson, I prepare an outline. (I have a sample outline available in the previous post.) Once students settle down, I tell them they will learn to write their essay in just a few minutes – you want to really grab their attention.

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I write down my start time, then begin to write. As I write, I discuss what I am thinking. I talk about how I know that each new topic means a new paragraph. I mention that the main ideas and details support the topic, so they should be in one paragraph.

I usually finish in 5 – 10 minutes. For your reluctant writers, this is a powerful moment because they start to realize writing doesn’t have to be hard. (Students will not finish that fast, but I explain how I am able to finish quickly because I have had a lot of practice writing essays from an outline. As with any skill, the more you practice, the better you get!)

Make a point of explaining that your first draft is just that: a draft. Students can easily go back and revise and edit after they have the main paragraphs written. For example, I don’t worry too much about connecting words or using different adjectives in the first draft – I just want to get the main ideas down.

Note: It is definitely helpful to skip lines if you are writing the drafts by hand. Otherwise, it is difficult to add in words or make changes during the editing process. I have also seen teachers fold the paper in half vertically for editing. Students write the draft on the left and make changes on the right. (I would allow left-handers to flip sides.)

Writing the draft from an outline really is this simple. I always emphasize that preparation and organization make the final process more manageable. When I cook, I always pull out my ingredients and have them open before I start trying to mix them together. Organizing my thoughts into an outline is the same idea – I am not scrambling to find what I need when I am working on my final product!

This is a great writing skill to practice in your classroom. With practice, students will be able to quickly write a research paper!

Tools for Teaching Research Skills

Are you looking for print and go research units for your classroom?

Over twenty plus years, my educational career has spanned four continents and two states, as well as eight grade levels!

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