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Secondary Students: Invention for Research Writing


This page provides resources for grades 7-12 instructors and students

Contributors:Lauren Huebsch, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2014-11-21 02:52:05

Invention For Research Writing

Writing a research paper is different than creative writing. Research involves looking beyond of what you already know in order to find answers to a question or questions.  Therefore, the inventing process for a research paper will look different from the invention process for creative writing.

The First Steps of Research Invention

Identifying your research topic is usually the most difficult part of writing a research paper. The topic is the general idea that the research paper will focus on.

You can begin by reviewing the information contained in the Invention for Secondary Students: Introduction resource. 

However, research invention strategies are different than more general writing invention strategies. As you work on your research writing, you should do the following things:

For more information on choosing a topic, please see the Choosing a Topic resource on the Purdue OWL. 

When You Begin to Find Sources for Research

There are a lot of articles, encyclopedias, and books in existence. Where can you begin to find the material you need for your topic?

Tracing Backward to Find Sources

Once you find a source that works well for your topic, see if you can find a “Works Cited” page or information about what sources influenced the author of your particular source. Tracing backward like this can give you a wealth of information. Think of it as someone handing you a list of sources that might work very well with your paper topic.

Evaluating Sources 

Be sure that the sources you use are credible. This means that you must find good sources with information you can trust. But how do you know if you can trust a source? Here are some things to look for:

Date of Source

For more information about evaluating sources and finding credible sources, see the Purdue OWL’s resources on Evaluation During Reading and Using Research and Evidence. 

Citing Your Sources

As you use other people’s writings, thoughts, and opinions in your writing, always remember to cite your sources. This means that every time you use a quotation, opinion, or though of another person, you must give credit to that person and the text that they wrote their thoughts in.

For information about citations according to MLA (Modern Language Association), see the MLA Formatting and Style Guide, or see the APA Formatting and Style Guide for APA’s  (American Psychological Association) guidelines, available through the Purdue OWL.

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