BASIC STEPS IN A RESEARCH PROJECT (POP)
A. Select a GENERAL TOPIC: Pick a subject that interests you and that you want to learn more about. Make sure it is a subject you will be able to research using a variety of sources (books, magazine and newspaper articles, websites)
B. Make a list of KEY WORDS: Think about your topic and write down a list of words or subjects that describe your topic. You will be using these words and phrases to help you find the information you need later so brainstorm as much as you can to come up with a good list.
C. Prepare an OVERVIEW of your topic: This is a paragraph that answers in a general way, the following questions (Who? What? When and Where?). This should help you get a general understanding of your topic and will help you make sub-topics later. You will probably come up with a few more key words during this step (add them to step 2).
D. LIST YOUR SOURCES: You must make a list of authors and work you have used (book, magazine or newspaper article, on-line article). Two examples are below.
E. Begin to FOCUS THE TOPIC: You will start to narrow or broaden your topic so you can demonstrate that you have a good understanding of it. Choose an interesting angle that you will want to learn more about. You could focus in on chronology (when events happened), geography (where events happened), biography (what do we know about a person or type of person), event-based (what was going on at the time).
F. Write a STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: This is a sentence you write which helps you decide what you want to learn about. Ask yourself “what is my real interest in this subject”? And “what are two or three things I want to learn about on this subject”?
(For example, instead of writing, I want to learn about AIDS, you could write I want to know how close we are to discovering a cure for AIDS. Instead of writing, I want to learn about basketball, you could write I want to know what it takes to become a professional basketball player.
G. BRAINSTORM QUESTIONS: Write down a list of questions you want to answer about your topic. This will help keep you on track. Assume your reader knows nothing about your subject. Tell them everything they need to understand what you will say in this project. Who? What? When? Where? Ask one or two interpretive questions like how would things be different now if the past had been different? OR How will something look or be in the future based on the way it is now? OR What are the possible solutions to what problems exist today? OR Find some similarities and differences between your subject and another parallel subject. OR What is your opinion on the subject?
I. Make a list of POSSIBLE SOURCES: Write down the kind of information you are going to need and where you think you will find it. This can be books, articles, maps, interviews with people, museums, tv, radio, videos, websites...
J. Now it's time to actually FIND YOUR SOURCES: Make a list of new sources using the example from step 4 to record them.
K. Begin making SUB-TOPIC HEADINGS: Write a sub-topic heading at the top of a page and make notes underneath. A) What is the main point? (remember your statement of purpose) B) Write your key words C) Write down the quotes you have already researched (remember to use quotation marks) D) Write down some facts you have researched (you will refer to your Sources for this) and E) Write down your opinion of each sub-topic heading.
Friday Decemeber 7th
L. Prepare a THESIS STATEMENT: Take your statement of purpose and change it to a strong statement that you can prove with evidence. This will become the main idea of your project. For example, you can define a problem and state your opinion about it OR look at a topic from a different perspective. If you used the statement of purpose, I want to know how close we are to a cure for AIDS, you could now make your thesis statement, After years of research, scientists are on the verge of discovering a cure for the AIDS virus.
M. MAKE AN OUTLINE: This will help you see if you have enough (or too much) material. It will also help you figure out the best order for the information to be in. Use it like a road map to help you get to your final destination. Open this link to prepare the outline (
N. WRITE THE BODY: Using your outline and sources, you can now write the body of your paper. Each sub-topic will be introduced in a sentence or two and then you will write more information on that sub-topic giving evidence for why it supports your thesis statement. Use your notes to insert quotes and facts you have researched. Add some pictures and then write a conclusion for each sub-topic. Remember to cite all borrowed material. This part is about 10-15 pages long.
O. WRITE YOUR INTRODUCTION: This is the first paragraph of your POP project. It should include a general introduction to the topic you will be discussing as well as your thesis statement.
P. WRITE YOUR CONCLUSION: This is the last paragraph in your POP project. You want your reader to feel that you supported what you said in your thesis. You restate your thesis and summarize your main points of evidence. Your reader should learn something or have their opinion changed after reading your paper.
Q. The last page of your project should list your WORKS CITED: This is an alphabetical list of your sources (quotes, lyrics from a song, a picture, facts).
R. CREATE A TITLE PAGE: Remember this is your teacher's first impression so make sure there are no mistakes and that it is clear to read. Keep it simple and neat! It must include:
your school name
title of project
title of class (POP)
S. Before you hand in your project you should ask a friend or relative to
check and correct all your spelling
check the overall neatness of the project
make sure everything is in the right order
make sure you cited all the material used
make sure your thesis statement is supported by evidence
make all the necessary corrections before handing it in
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'RE DONE! CELEBRATE!