I Search Paper Topic/Research Question – 1 paragraph

I Search Paper
Topic/Research Question:
Section 1: Why I Need to Know – 1 paragraph
Explain why this is an important topic to research.
How is this topic related to what you are doing in a class? (Or have ever done in a class?)
Why is this topic interesting or important to you?
Why is this an important topic in today’s society?
How might figuring out the answers to these topic questions help you, or help someone you know?
Section 2: What I Already Know or Assume- 1 to 2 paragraphs
Describe what information you think you already have about the topic.
What do you already know about the topic?
What assumptions can you make about this topic?
What do you think the answers are to the topic questions?
What questions do you hope to answer when you are finished with your research?
For example, if you decide to investigate teenage alcoholism, you may want to offer some ideas about the
causes of teens turning to alcohol, provide an estimate of the severity of the problem, and create a portrait of
the typical teen alcoholic. Tell anything and everything you know as though you were talking to your reader
about this topic. Be honest and complete with what you know. If you don't know much, let the reader know that
Section 3: The Search – 1 to 2 paragraphs
Describe your research process.
Describe the story of your search
What sequence of steps did you take to get to your research question?
Describe any problems in locating information and how you overcame those
Describe the best sources of information
Explain how you changed, revised, focused, or expanded your original research question
Describe how you narrowed down your information to create a thesis statement – you will have to come
back to this part after you create your thesis statement
Include your survey/interview questions and responses at the end of this section
Section 4: What I Discovered – 6 paragraphs
Describe what you learned, and what you think the answers to the topic questions are. This paper should be
the main section of your essay. Use in-text citations (referenced in your works cited section) to support your
Introduce your topic – give relevant background information that the reader needs to know to
understand what you are about to talk about. Provide your thesis.
Describe your survey questions and results
What information did you discover? Support your findings/conclusions with examples, details, stories
and survey/interview results that help your reader understand how you drew those conclusions
What conclusions can you draw? Connect your conclusions with your original question.
How can you apply this information in your own life? How might you be able to use this information in
the future? Describe the things that you learned that mean the most to you and why they are important.
Explain how this research will change how you work/act/think about people, places, events, etc.
Conclude your paper. Leave readers with a final thought as to what your research/answers have
brought to you and potentially to others.
Works Cited
On a separate page, alphabetize your sources by the first item. You should include your sources from your (at
least three) notes pages and your survey/interview.
Steps for I-Search Paper (or, how to use your time wisely)
■ Complete sections 1 and 2 of your I-Search paper before you even begin reading any other information.
○ Worry about getting things written down before worrying about what they look like (content v.
■ Develop a survey/mini-interview of 5 questions
○ Develop questions that will help you get information and potentially generate more research
questions for you
○ The questions can be general – not necessarily about the person you are interviewing, but
general information or opinions
○ Develop questions that people of all ages can answer (high school or older)
■ Survey at least 5 people/Conduct your interview
○ Record their responses
■ Conduct research
○ Explore different sources in an attempt to answer your research question
○ Use at least 3 sources
○ Use note sheets to both evaluate and record information
○ Use only reliable websites
○ Use a variety of sources (books, magazines, websites, etc.)
■ Write section 3 of your I-Search paper
○ Should include a copy of your survey/interview questions and results
■ Write section 4 of your I-Search paper
○ Remember – this is the “meat” of your paper
○ Develop a thesis (with a road map) and write section 4 in essay format. If done properly, this
section will be 6 paragraphs
 Introduce your topic
 Describe survey questions and results
 What information did you discover?
 What conclusions can you draw?
 How can you apply this information to your life?
 Conclude your paper
○ Use sources to back up what you have to say. Use in-text MLA citation. (See other handouts)
■ Finish up
○ Format your assignment heading and page numbers
○ Review your Works Cited page to make sure it is formatted correctly (see other handout)
○ Revise for consistency among font/style (Times New Roman, 12, only bold/italic where
absolutely necessary)
○ Go back and see if you can make more specific/vivid word choices throughout your paper
○ Vary sentence length and sentence starters
○ Proofread your paper – does it make sense? Have someone else proofread your paper too
I-Search Paper Grading Guidelines
Grades will be based on a checklist
Part 1 (15%)
● Explaining why it’s important to investigate
● Explaining how your answers/research might be helpful
Part 2 (10%)
● Explain what you knew before you started researching
● What do you want to find out during your research
Part 3 (15%)
● Survey questions and results
● Describing the story of your search
● What problems did you face as you researched?
● How did you evaluate your sources and decide they had useful information?
● How did you revise your search as you went along?
● Developing a thesis statement
Part 4 (45%) – You will NOT receive credit for this section if you do not have in-text citations
● Research from 3 sources presented as an answer to the topic question
● Each idea cited parenthetically
● 6 paragraphs containing information related to survey results, answers to research question,
conclusions, application of information, and future implications of research
● Thesis statement
Extra Bits (15%)
● Works cited page is formatted properly
● Heading and other formatting is done properly
● Word choice is vivid and precise
● Sentences vary in length and structure
● Essentially error-free (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.)
● 3 notes pages attached
MLA Style Citations – An Overview
MLA covers both citation and formatting.
● 1” margins on all sides of paper
● 12 point font (Times New Roman or Arial) - no bold or italicized font (except on Works Cited page as
● Double spaced
● Numbered in upper right corner with last name on each page
● Indent the beginning of all paragraphs
● In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and
the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text. (This is not to be done in the “heading” section. It
will not print properly if you do.)
● Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation
marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
In-Text Citations
● Author-Page Style
○ Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"
(Wordsworth 263).
○ Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).
● Internet Sources
○ Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the
citation (e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
○ You do not need to give paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browser’s
print preview function.
● When references are made to these entries, the documentation is made in parentheses immediately
after the quotation or paraphrase, e.g. (Smith, 30). This notation tells the reader that the reference
came from page 30 in the source named Smith on the Works Cited sheet. We will be using
http://www.easybib.com/ to help with your Works Cited page.
Works Cited
Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research paper.
Label the page Works Cited (do not italicize the words Works Cited or put them in quotation marks) and
center the words Works Cited at the top of the page.
Double space all citations, but do not skip spaces between entries.
Information compiled from:
Russell, Tony, Allen Brizee, and Elizabeth Angeli. "MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL.
Purdue U Writing Lab, 4 Apr. 2010. Web. 28 December 2011.