How to Write a Research Report Template for Middle School Children

Kariss lynch.

Middle school trains students in writing techniques.

Middle school is a growing season where students begin to find their voice and gain an understanding of crafting a lengthier research report. Because these students are beginning their writing career, a simple yet educational template should be put in place to teach the basic elements of writing a paper. Providing students with a simple outline to follow as they craft their papers will give them direction to work effectively now and in the future.

State the objective and expectations at the top of the template. Assign subject material and make sure the students understand it. Provide a list of sources to help them get started, and a list of possible topics at the top of the template to help students understand how to turn the template into a paper with their particular topic. Encourage the students to choose a topic in which they are interested or want to learn more about.

Design the introductory paragraph. Introductory paragraphs need to have a strict formula until students understand their own voice and style. Assign a minimum and maximum number of sentences – four to five is realistic. Describe the thesis statement and how that should read depending on the type of research. For example, a scientific research thesis will sound different than a literary research thesis will. The students should state the thesis in the last sentence or two of the first paragraph.

Determine body length. In your outline, set expectations for the number of paragraphs you expect and the number of sentences in each paragraph. For most beginners, teachers expect three to four main paragraphs with six to seven sentences in each. The paragraphs should flow, but each paragraph should introduce a new idea or area of interest from the research to support the thesis.

Finalize the conclusion. Like the introduction, this paragraph should be roughly four to five sentences long. It should restate the thesis from the first paragraph and then summarize how the information supported that statement. This often looks like a sequential sentence – for example: "Because of the area's location, rainfall and wildlife, we can label it as a rain forest." The last sentence of the conclusion should draw the paper to a close.

Provide detailed instructions for citing sources. This is often a difficult step for beginning researchers. Along with the template, provide a separate paper with a list of sources and how each should be cited. Make sure to include the citation rules for Internet sources, books with one author and multiple authors, encyclopedias, dictionaries and magazines. These should be in alphabetical order by source author. The second line should have a hanging indention.

  • 1 Essay Town: Research Paper Template
  • 2 Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Formatting and Style Guide

About the Author

Kariss Lynch began her writing career in 2006. She has been published in the "Harbinger" journal, the Baptist Collegiate Ministry blog and she has a poetry book out through Lynch has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas Tech University.

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What Makes Up a Well-Written Essay in High School?

What Makes Up a Well-Written Essay in High School?

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Report Writing Guidelines for Middle School

American History Research Paper Topics for Eighth Grade

American History Research Paper Topics for Eighth Grade

Many students are introduced to report writing and research in middle school. Though each school will require different report components, the Common Core State Standards, a national set of standards that were developed by a consortium of states, set some specific goals that middle school students should meet by the time they move to high school, from generating questions to editing their work.

Answer a self-generated question

Middle school students should move toward independence in determining their own thoughts about a subject, as opposed to summarizing the ideas of others or answering a teacher-generated question. For example, an English teacher might ask a middle school student to write a report that analyzes characters in a story. A student might narrow the assignment and form a thesis that considers which character had the greatest impact on the plot of the story.

Generate an opinionated central point

Every report needs to have a central point, known as a thesis, claim or topic. A middle school student should be able to articulate their main point in any report, both in written and oral form. This main point must contain a perspective and not be simply a statement of fact. For example, a middle school history student might have to offer their opinion on which 20th century war was most significant. A thesis could be: "World War II was the most significant 20th century war because it enabled the rise of the two superpowers from the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States."

Use evidence to support the central point

Most teachers will suggest that middle school students use at least three reasons to prove their central point, with specific evidence to back up the perspective. This evidence could be based on research or personal observations, such as an experiment done in science class. For example, evidence to support the history thesis mentioned earlier could include the shift of power that occurred during World War II, a discussion of the partitioning of Germany after the war, and a review of the events of the Cold War. A student could use their history textbook and primary source documents as sources.

Cite sources to avoid plagiarism

Middle school students should avoid plagiarism by citing sources throughout their report. This should include paraphrasing, summarizing and using textual examples. Many students understand that it is wrong to steal someone's work, but do not understand every situation that is considered plagiarism. For example, some believe they can include a list of sources without indicating which parts of their essay came from those sources. Parents and teachers should check with students to make sure they understand what plagiarism is.

Conduct thorough revision

Reports should be edited several times before they are submitted to a teacher for critique. The Common Core State Standards suggest self, peer and adult editing before a report is graded. Editors should focus on determining if the question has been answered, the evidence is strong, sources have been correctly cited and the student has followed the standard conventions of English grammar and spelling.

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High School Writing Styles

High School Writing Styles

  • Common Core State Standards: Writing: Grade 8
  • Education World: Ways to Engage, Nurture Middle Schoolers
  • Glencoe: Research Paper and Report Writing
  • Purdue OWL: Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Indiana University: How to Write a Thesis Statement
  • Read Write Think: Editing Checklist for Self and Peer Editing

Anna Tower has a B.A. in history and journalism from Washington & Lee University and a M.A.Ed. from the College of William and Mary. She has been writing since 2003 at various publications, including the "Rockbridge Report," the "Fairfax County Times" and "USA Today." Tower is certified to teach social studies, English and journalism in grades 6-12.

Scaffolding Methods for Research Paper Writing

Scaffolding Methods for Research Paper Writing

  • Resources & Preparation
  • Instructional Plan
  • Related Resources

Students will use scaffolding to research and organize information for writing a research paper. A research paper scaffold provides students with clear support for writing expository papers that include a question (problem), literature review, analysis, methodology for original research, results, conclusion, and references. Students examine informational text, use an inquiry-based approach, and practice genre-specific strategies for expository writing. Depending on the goals of the assignment, students may work collaboratively or as individuals. A student-written paper about color psychology provides an authentic model of a scaffold and the corresponding finished paper. The research paper scaffold is designed to be completed during seven or eight sessions over the course of four to six weeks.

Featured Resources

  • Research Paper Scaffold : This handout guides students in researching and organizing the information they need for writing their research paper.
  • Inquiry on the Internet: Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection : Students use Internet search engines and Web analysis checklists to evaluate online resources then write annotations that explain how and why the resources will be valuable to the class.

From Theory to Practice

  • Research paper scaffolding provides a temporary linguistic tool to assist students as they organize their expository writing. Scaffolding assists students in moving to levels of language performance they might be unable to obtain without this support.
  • An instructional scaffold essentially changes the role of the teacher from that of giver of knowledge to leader in inquiry. This relationship encourages creative intelligence on the part of both teacher and student, which in turn may broaden the notion of literacy so as to include more learning styles.
  • An instructional scaffold is useful for expository writing because of its basis in problem solving, ownership, appropriateness, support, collaboration, and internalization. It allows students to start where they are comfortable, and provides a genre-based structure for organizing creative ideas.
  • In order for students to take ownership of knowledge, they must learn to rework raw information, use details and facts, and write.
  • Teaching writing should involve direct, explicit comprehension instruction, effective instructional principles embedded in content, motivation and self-directed learning, and text-based collaborative learning to improve middle school and high school literacy.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

Computers with Internet access and printing capability

  • Research Paper Scaffold
  • Example Research Paper Scaffold
  • Example Student Research Paper
  • Internet Citation Checklist
  • Research Paper Scoring Rubric
  • Permission Form (optional)


1. Decide how you will schedule the seven or eight class sessions in the lesson to allow students time for independent research. You may wish to reserve one day each week as the “research project day.” The schedule should provide students time to plan ahead and collect materials for one section of the scaffold at a time, and allow you time to assess each section as students complete it, which is important as each section builds upon the previous one.

2. Make a copy for each student of the , the , the , the , and the . Also fill out and copy the if you will be getting parents’ permission for the research projects.

3. If necessary, reserve time in the computer lab for Sessions 2 and 8. Decide which citation website students will use to format reference citations (see Websites) and bookmark it on student computers.

4. Schedule time for research in the school media center or the computer lab between Sessions 2 and 3.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Formulate a clear thesis that conveys a perspective on the subject of their research
  • Practice research skills, including evaluation of sources, paraphrasing and summarizing relevant information, and citation of sources used
  • Logically group and sequence ideas in expository writing
  • Organize and display information on charts, maps, and graphs

Session 1: Research Question

1. Distribute copies of the and , and read the model aloud with students. Briefly discuss how this research paper works to answer the question, The example helps students clearly see how a research question leads to a literature review, which in turn leads to analysis, original research, results, and conclusion.

2. Pass out copies of the . Explain to students that the procedures involved in writing a research paper follow in order, and each section of the scaffold builds upon the previous one. Briefly describe how each section will be completed during subsequent sessions.

3. Explain that in this session the students’ task is to formulate a research question and write it on the scaffold. The most important strategy in using this model is that students be allowed, within the assigned topic framework, to ask their research questions. Allowing students to choose their own questions gives them control over their own learning, so they are motivated to “solve the case,” to persevere even when the trail runs cold or the detective work seems unexciting.

4. Introduce the characteristics of a good research question. Explain that in a broad area such as political science, psychology, geography, or economics, a good question needs to focus on a particular controversy or perspective. Some examples include:
Explain that students should take care not to formulate a research question so broad that it cannot be answered, or so narrow that it can be answered in a sentence or two.

5. Note that a good question always leads to more questions. Invite students to suggest additional questions resulting from the examples above and from the Example Research Paper Scaffold.

6. Emphasize that good research questions are open-ended. Open-ended questions can be solved in more than one way and, depending upon interpretation, often have more than one correct answer, such as the question, Closed questions have only one correct answer, such as, Open-ended questions are implicit and evaluative, while closed questions are explicit. Have students identify possible problems with these research questions
7. Instruct students to fill in the first section of the Research Paper Scaffold, the Research Question, before Session 2. This task can be completed in a subsequent class session or assigned as homework. Allowing a few days for students to refine and reflect upon their research question is best practice. Explain that the next section, the Hook, should be filled in at this time, as it will be completed using information from the literature search.

You should approve students’ final research questions before Session 2. You may also wish to send home the Permission Form with students, to make parents aware of their child’s research topic and the project due dates.

Session 2: Literature Review—Search

Prior to this session, you may want to introduce or review Internet search techniques using the lesson Inquiry on the Internet: Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection . You may also wish to consult with the school librarian regarding subscription databases designed specifically for student research, which may be available through the school or public library. Using these types of resources will help to ensure that students find relevant and appropriate information. Using Internet search engines such as Google can be overwhelming to beginning researchers.

1. Introduce this session by explaining that students will collect five articles that help to answer their research question. Once they have printed out or photocopied the articles, they will use a highlighter to mark the sections in the articles that specifically address the research question. This strategy helps students focus on the research question rather than on all the other interesting—yet irrelevant—facts that they will find in the course of their research.

2. Point out that the five different articles may offer similar answers and evidence with regard to the research question, or they may differ. The final paper will be more interesting if it explores different perspectives.

3. Demonstrate the use of any relevant subscription databases that are available to students through the school, as well as any Web directories or kid-friendly search engines (such as ) that you would like them to use.

4. Remind students that their research question can provide the keywords for a targeted Internet search. The question should also give focus to the research—without the research question to anchor them, students may go off track.

5. Explain that information found in the articles may lead students to broaden their research question. A good literature review should be a way of opening doors to new ideas, not simply a search for the data that supports a preconceived notion.

6. Make students aware that their online search results may include abstracts, which are brief summaries of research articles. In many cases the full text of the articles is available only through subscription to a scholarly database. Provide examples of abstracts and scholarly articles so students can recognize that abstracts do not contain all the information found in the article, and should not be cited unless the full article has been read.

7. Emphasize that students need to find articles from at least five different reliable sources that provide “clues” to answering their research question. Internet articles need to be printed out, and articles from print sources need to be photocopied. Each article used on the Research Paper Scaffold needs to yield several relevant facts, so students may need to collect more than five articles to have adequate sources.

8. Remind students to gather complete reference information for each of their sources. They may wish to photocopy the title page of books where they find information, and print out the homepage or contact page of websites.

9. Allow students at least a week for research. Schedule time in the school media center or the computer lab so you can supervise and assist students as they search for relevant articles. Students can also complete their research as homework.

Session 3: Literature Review—Notes

Students need to bring their articles to this session. For large classes, have students highlight relevant information (as described below) and submit the articles for assessment before beginning the session.

1. Have students find the specific information in each article that helps answer their research question, and highlight the relevant passages. Check that students have correctly identified and marked relevant information before allowing them to proceed to the Literature Review section on the .

2. Instruct students to complete the Literature Review section of the Research Paper Scaffold, including the last name of the author and the publication date for each article (to prepare for using APA citation style).

3. Have students list the important facts they found in each article on the lines numbered 1–5, as shown on the . Additional facts can be listed on the back of the handout. Remind students that if they copy directly from a text they need to put the copied material in quotation marks and note the page number of the source. Students may need more research time following this session to find additional information relevant to their research question.

4. Explain that interesting facts that are not relevant for the literature review section can be listed in the section labeled Hook. All good writers, whether they are writing narrative, persuasive, or expository text, need to engage or “hook” the reader’s interest. Facts listed in the Hook section can be valuable for introducing the research paper.

5. Use the Example Research Paper Scaffold to illustrate how to fill in the first and last lines of the Literature Review entry, which represent topic and concluding sentences. These should be filled in only all the relevant facts from the source have been listed, to ensure that students are basing their research on facts that are found in the data, rather than making the facts fit a preconceived idea.

6. Check students’ scaffolds as they complete their first literature review entry, to make sure they are on track. Then have students complete the other four sections of the Literature Review Section in the same manner.

Checking Literature Review entries on the same day is best practice, as it gives both you and the student time to plan and address any problems before proceeding. Note that in the finished product this literature review section will be about six paragraphs, so students need to gather enough facts to fit this format.

Session 4: Analysis

1. Explain that in this session students will compare the information they have gathered from various sources to identify themes.

2. Explain the process of analysis using the . Show how making a numbered list of possible themes, drawn from the different perspectives proposed in the literature, can be useful for analysis. In the Example Research Paper Scaffold, there are four possible explanations given for the effects of color on mood. Remind students that they can refer to the for a model of how the analysis will be used in the final research paper.

3. Have students identify common themes and possible answers to their own research question by reviewing the topic and concluding sentences in their literature review. Students may identify only one main idea in each source, or they may find several. Instruct students to list the ideas and summarize their similarities and differences in the space provided for Analysis on the scaffold.

4. Check students’ Analysis section entries to make sure they have included theories that are consistent with their literature review. Return the Research Paper Scaffolds to students with comments and corrections. In the finished research paper, the analysis section will be about one paragraph.

Session 5: Original Research

Students should design some form of original research appropriate to their topics, but they do not necessarily have to conduct the experiments or surveys they propose. Depending on the appropriateness of the original research proposals, the time involved, and the resources available, you may prefer to omit the actual research or use it as an extension activity.

1. During this session, students formulate one or more possible answers to the research question (based upon their analysis) for possible testing. Invite students to consider and briefly discuss the following questions:
2. Explain the difference between and research. Quantitative methods involve the collection of numeric data, while qualitative methods focus primarily on the collection of observable data. Quantitative studies have large numbers of participants and produce a large collection of data (such as results from 100 people taking a 10-question survey). Qualitative methods involve few participants and rely upon the researcher to serve as a “reporter” who records direct observations of a specific population. Qualitative methods involve more detailed interviews and artifact collection.

3. Point out that each student’s research question and analysis will determine which method is more appropriate. Show how the research question in the Example Research Paper Scaffold goes beyond what is reported in a literature review and adds new information to what is already known.

4. Outline criteria for acceptable research studies, and explain that you will need to approve each student’s plan before the research is done. The following criteria should be included:

5. Inform students of the schedule for submitting their research plans for approval and completing their original research. Students need to conduct their tests and collect all data prior to Session 6. Normally it takes one day to complete research plans and one to two weeks to conduct the test.

Session 6: Results (optional)

1. If students have conducted original research, instruct them to report the results from their experiments or surveys. Quantitative results can be reported on a chart, graph, or table. Qualitative studies may include data in the form of pictures, artifacts, notes, and interviews. Study results can be displayed in any kind of visual medium, such as a poster, PowerPoint presentation, or brochure.

2. Check the Results section of the scaffold and any visuals provided for consistency, accuracy, and effectiveness.

Session 7: Conclusion

1. Explain that the Conclusion to the research paper is the student’s answer to the research question. This section may be one to two paragraphs. Remind students that it should include supporting facts from both the literature review and the test results (if applicable).

2. Encourage students to use the Conclusion section to point out discrepancies and similarities in their findings, and to propose further studies. Discuss the Conclusion section of the from the standpoint of these guidelines.

3. Check the Conclusion section after students have completed it, to see that it contains a logical summary and is consistent with the study results.

Session 8: References and Writing Final Draft

1. Show students how to create a reference list of cited material, using a model such as American Psychological Association (APA) style, on the Reference section of the scaffold.

2. Distribute copies of the and have students refer to the handout as they list their reference information in the Reference section of the scaffold. Check students’ entries as they are working to make sure they understand the format correctly.

3. Have students access the citation site you have bookmarked on their computers. Demonstrate how to use the template or follow the guidelines provided, and have students create and print out a reference list to attach to their final research paper.

4. Explain to students that they will now use the completed scaffold to write the final research paper using the following genre-specific strategies for expository writing:
and (unless the research method was qualitative).

5. Distribute copies of the and go over the criteria so that students understand how their final written work will be evaluated.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Observe students’ participation in the initial stages of the Research Paper Scaffold and promptly address any errors or misconceptions about the research process.
  • Observe students and provide feedback as they complete each section of the Research Paper Scaffold.
  • Provide a safe environment where students will want to take risks in exploring ideas. During collaborative work, offer feedback and guidance to those who need encouragement or require assistance in learning cooperation and tolerance.
  • Involve students in using the Research Paper Scoring Rubric for final evaluation of the research paper. Go over this rubric during Session 8, before they write their final drafts.
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Free, Downloadable Educational Templates for Students

Published on June 16, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 23, 2023.

We have designed several free templates to help you get started on a variety of academic topics. These range from formatting your thesis   or   dissertation to writing a table of contents or a list of abbreviations .

We also have templates for various citation styles , including APA (6 and 7), MLA , and Chicago .

The templates are loosely grouped by topic below.

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Write a Winning Research Report

Keep big assignments from becoming overwhelming..

Let's face it: writing a research report can feel like wrestling a big, hairy monster into 5 pages with footnotes. But if you make and follow a plan from the beginning, you'll write a paper to make yourself proud.

Divide your time

As tempting as it may seem to dive right in and start writing (so you can get it done) a good research paper starts before you start crafting stellar sentences. First, you'll need to  brainstorm a topic , then move on to  researching .

To keep yourself from getting totally overwhelmed, you'll need to make time for each step. On the day your paper is assigned, use a calendar to plan backwards from the day it's due.

Divide your time into mini assignments, print the calendar, and hang it someplace you'll see it often. Use your judgment based on the assignment and how you do your best work, but a good rough estimate for how to divide up your time is:

10% Brainstorming 25% Researching and taking notes 20% Making an outline 25% Writing 15% Revising and polishing

So, if you have a month to write a paper, you might spend about 3 days brainstorming, a full week each for researching and writing, and 5 to 6 days each on your outline and revision.

Make an outline

An outline is a roadmap to keep you from getting lost when you start to write. It's where you organize the questions you'll answer and the information and subtopics you'll cover in your paper. It's a tool to help you, not another assignment to check off the list. There are lots of ways to make an outline and it makes sense to try out different versions to see what works for you. Here are some examples:

  • Term Paper Terrence  likes to spend lots of time on his outline to make it really specific, down to noting what quotes he'll use where. Terrence finds the more detail he puts into the outline, the easier the paper is to write. For his paper on Sally Ride, the first American woman in outer space, his outline includes a note to discuss the specifics of what she did on her first mission — used the mechanical arm she designed to capture and deploy satellites, completed over 40 experiments — and to follow the specifics with a quote from Ride saying that what she remembers most about her first flight "is that it was fun." Terrence's outline is so detailed that writing the paper is almost like filling in the blanks.
  • Research Project Rachel  feels differently about outlines. She looks through her research and makes a list of broad subtopics she'll cover. For her paper on rhinoceri (you know, more than one rhinoceros) she'll list things like: where they live and what they like to eat — mostly vegetables, they're vegetarians — but she generally doesn't break it down into smaller details. Rachel likes to structure her paper as she writes and revises. She looks back at what she has as she goes and decides on what to write about next. She often changes the structure of earlier parts based on what she's writing later on. Compared to Terrence, she spends a lot more time writing and revising, but not nearly as much on the outline itself.

Write your intro… for now

Once you've got your topic, research, and outline in hand, it's time to start writing. In your introduction, sometimes called your thesis statement or lead paragraph, you'll outline exactly what someone reading this paper can expect to learn from it. It's a tantalizing look at all the neat stuff the reader can look forward to finding out about.

Don't worry about getting the first sentences absolutely perfect on your first try. Sometimes it's better to keep writing and adjust later. Your introduction will usually be between one and three paragraphs long and will act almost like a summary of the topics to come.

Give each paragraph the meaning it deserves

Every paragraph tells a story, or at least it should. There should be a point to it, a piece of information you're explaining. Often the first sentence of the paragraph will serve as a bridge or link from the previous paragraph and as an introduction to what the new paragraph is about. The next few sentences will provide examples or information to back up the first sentence.

You have time specifically put aside for revision, but as you write do keep in mind that every sentence should have a reason for being and that reason is to support the paragraph as a whole. Likewise, every paragraph should have information that helps give meaning to the topic. Extra words and ideas are sure to sneak in there and clutter up your writing. It's your job to keep those words and sentences out of your paper. There's a fine balance between providing enough explanation and examples and making your paper unclear with extra words and thoughts.

Wrap it all up in the end

A good conclusion is related to a good introduction. They're like cousins, not entirely the same, but with many of the same qualities. At the end of the paper, you're wrapping up all your ideas and reminding the reader of what he learned. There usually isn't new information; it's more about revisiting the big ideas. A conclusion is often just a paragraph long or it might be two or three. Imagine saying to your reader, "As you can see from reading my paper…" The rest of that statement is the end of your paper.

Revision is your friend

Here's a secret: writing is hard, but revising effectively might be even harder. But it's worth the effort because this is the step that takes your okay, pretty good paper and transforms it into an assignment that really shines.

Revision or editing is not    the same as re-writing the whole thing from scratch. You're not starting from square one here and you most likely don't need to scrap everything. What you are doing is taking a close and careful look at each word, sentence, and paragraph to make sure you've made the best choices. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you revise:

  • Is everything spelled correctly?
  • Are there any extra words, sentences, or paragraphs that don't add to the paper and should be deleted?
  • Are all the ideas explained with description or examples so they'd make sense to someone who doesn't know anything about the topic?
  • Do the ideas build so that by the end of the paper, the reader understands more than at the beginning?
  • Does the paper deliver what it promises in the introduction and conclusion? Does it make a point?

Often revising works best if you take it in two or three passes rather than one big editing session. You're working to balance your paper, so you'll probably make changes at the end that will affect the beginning and vice versa.

It's very helpful to have someone else read your work to check if anything is unclear, confusing, or in need of better explanation. Ask a classmate, a friend, or a parent to mark places that could use improvement. Even the best professional writers benefit from using editors — and you can too.

Record your sources

Your assignment will probably instruct you on how to record and present all the sources you used for information:

  • Endnotes  are found within the body of the paper. They include the author and page numbers in parentheses to show where you got your information.
  • Footnotes  give similar information to endnotes, but they are placed at the bottom of the page, usually in a smaller typeface.
  • A  bibliography  is a list of all the books, articles, and Web sites you used for information. It's sometimes paired with endnotes or footnotes, or it can stand alone.

Recording and using sources responsibly will prevent you from  plagiarizing  — a serious offense whether intentional or by accident. When in doubt, record a source rather than leaving it out.

Follow through on the final details

When it's time to hand in your assignment, make sure you have a clean copy that hasn't been crushed in your backpack or stained by yesterday's lunch. Include a title page with your name and the date. You've already done the work, so why not make it look as good as it can?

Now, take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Writing a good research paper is a huge deal and you deserve to feel proud for a job well done.

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Printable Research Writing Worksheets

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CommonLit 360 How to Teach a CommonLit 360 Research Unit

Olivia Franklin

Olivia Franklin

Engage students with interesting research topics, teach them skills to become adept independent researchers, and help them craft their end-of-unit research papers.

CommonLit 360 is a comprehensive ELA curriculum for grades 6-12. Our standards-aligned units are highly engaging and develop core reading and writing skills.

Want to engage students in independent research? Looking to hook students with interesting research questions and informational texts? CommonLit has your back.

CommonLit’s 360 curriculum provides research units for grades 6-10 that will help students complete independent research and craft evidence-based research papers.

Get students excited about their research with Essential Questions designed around timely topics

Each research unit has an Essential Question that students analyze and discuss throughout the unit. The topics for each research unit are designed to be interesting, timely, and relevant to students’ lives.

Students will learn about the status of the world’s oceans, discuss if social media is beneficial or risky, argue if contact sports are worth the risk, research how branding influences purchasing behavior, and learn about the human costs of clothing.

Here are the research units and their Essential Questions:


Unit Title

Essential Question


Our Changing Oceans

How are changes in the world’s oceans affecting people and animals? How can we be better stewards of our oceans and waterways?


Social Media: Risks and Rewards

Is social media more beneficial or more risky for teens? How can we promote the benefits of social media over the drawbacks?


Contact Sports: Worth the Risk? 

Are contact sports worth the risks? How can we provide a clearer picture of the benefits and risks of contact sports to prospective players and their parents?


The Science of Branding: Why We Buy

How do brands use different tactics to influence our purchasing behavior? How can we make branding tactics and messaging more visible to potential consumers?


The Fashion Industry: Past to Present

What are the true human costs of the clothes we buy?

Get students excited about the research topic with introductory slide decks

Each unit comes with introductory slide decks that preview what students will be learning about over the course of the unit. The slide decks spark classroom discussion, hooking students from the very first lesson.

In Our Changing Oceans (6th grade), students discuss what it would be like to be an oceanographer, preview the texts they will be reading about issues facing our oceans, and hear about the key skills they will be learning throughout the unit.

middle school research report template

Informational texts anchor each research unit

CommonLit’s research units are centered around informational texts that provide students with key background information and research to eventually support their end-of-unit essay.

Four core texts make up the Essential Reading Lessons for 6th grade. These texts teach students about the need to protect Antarctica and how plastic debris, sea level rise, and overfishing are affecting the world’s oceans. These texts teach students important facts they will need to cite in their end-of-unit research papers.

A list of the unit texts for 6th Grade Unit 4.

Supplemental texts allow students to dig deeply into independent research

Each unit comes with a large selection of supplemental texts to provide students with more facts and information to use in their research paper.

In middle school, students use the provided supplemental texts to further inform their research. In high school, students learn about finding reliable sources and can use both provided supplemental texts on CommonLit and texts from additional sources in their research.

For example, in Our Changing Oceans, 6th graders choose to research one of three topics related to ocean changes.

A list of the supplemental texts 6th graders are given.

In high school, students are taught about the beginning of the research process, including developing a research question, finding reliable sources, and reading and taking notes. Students in 9th and 10th grade can use the supplemental texts as well as texts found in books or on other online learning platforms.

A screenshot of an independent research lesson for 9th graders.

Students learn about the research process and how to craft research papers throughout the unit

Each unit includes lessons about conducting research so students can be prepared for the end-of-unit research paper. Scaffolded supports help students move through the research process. In lower grades, certain steps in the process, like developing a research question and finding reliable sources, are provided for students.

Students learn about writing research papers during writing lessons. In 8th Grade, students learn how to discuss and outline research papers. Then, they learn how to write a counterclaim, format a Works Cited page, and use in-text citations properly. Each of these research-paper focused writing lessons will prepare students to answer the end-of-unit essay.

A screenshot of the arc of writing instruction for 8th grade.

Students also explore how to conduct independent research in research-specific lessons. In 8th Grade, teachers explain that they have provided the first two steps of the research process for students: developing a research question and finding reliable sources.

In the lesson, students are taught how to use a graphic organizer to take notes on each text they read in preparation for their research paper. Students also engage in an Introduction to Independent Research lesson, where they learn about steps of the research process and begin reading and taking notes on supplemental texts. Later, students engage in a discussion lesson that will help them synthesize all the information they have learned throughout the unit by discussing the research question with classmates.

Related Media Explorations provide even more background information for students

Related Media Explorations are a unique cornerstone of our ELA curriculum. These interactive tasks bring our research units to life and provide background information for students to use in their research.

In 8th Grade,  students learn about the way football culture has changed over the past few decades as scientists learn more about the long-term effects of repeated concussions. Students watch three videos that explain the culture of football in the past and present, and analyze statistics about concussions before discussing the question: “Who is most responsible for shaping mindsets about tackling in football: players, coaches, parents, or fans?”

middle school research report template

Discussion lessons help students synthesize information in preparation for their research paper

Discussion lessons in each research unit provide students with the opportunity to practice citing evidence from sources, explain their evidence to classmates, and practice synthesizing information. These conversations give students the chance to gain new perspectives, receive feedback on their ideas, and boost their confidence before delving into the research paper.

In 8th Grade, students synthesize their ideas about the research question through a class discussion. After the discussion, students have an opportunity to outline their research paper using both their discussion notes and the note-taking graphic organizer they have used throughout the unit.

middle school research report template

Participate in an optional final project that fosters creative thinking and collaboration

Each research unit comes with an optional end-of-unit project to further engage students through project based learning. These optional projects help foster student creativity and collaboration. Students can work with a partner or group to complete the task.

In 8th grade, students must make a brochure providing prospective parents and student athletes with factual information about the benefits and risks about contact sports so families can make an informed decision about participating. Students must work with a peer with an opposing view on the topic so the brochure is factual and unbiased. This task encourages teamwork and collaboration between peers with differing views.


Unit Title

Optional Final Project 


Our Changing Oceans

Create 1-3 mock social media posts about ocean conservation


Social Media: Risks and Rewards

Create 2-3 mock social media posts that promote positive usage of social media 


Contact Sports: Worth the Risk? 

Create a brochure to provide prospective parents and student athletes with factual information about the benefits and risks of contact sports 


The Science of Branding: Why We Buy

Make a Brand Strategy and Messaging Video Blog to help prospective buyers of a brand make informed decisions about the company they are putting their money behind 


The Fashion Industry: Past to Present

Put together a presentation about the humaneness of a chosen clothing brand for an audience of potential consumers 

Vocabulary and grammar lessons build student comprehension and writing skills

Each 360 unit comes with vocabulary and grammar lessons. Vocabulary activities help students internalize high-impact academic vocabulary words they will see in the texts they are reading. Grammar activities help students improve their writing skills, teaching students valuable skills to construct carefully crafted, grammatically correct paragraphs.

middle school research report template

Want to learn more about research units and CommonLit 360? Register for a free, 30-minute webinar today!

Interested in learning about our affordable support packages? For just $6,500 per school, School Essentials PRO Plus provides teachers with three  benchmark assessments, two unit skill assessments per 360 unit, personalized professional development, school-wide data reports, LMS integrations, and more.

middle school research report template

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iRubric: Middle School Research Paper rubric

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Rubric Code: By Ready to use Public Rubric Subject:    Type:    Grade Levels: 6-8

Research Paper

  • Research paper - emphasis on relevance of research
  • Presentation

middle school research report template

Writing instruction is difficult without the added stress of distance learning.  A step-by-step structured approach is really the only way to make it manageable. The only problem with developing a structured lesson plan that guides students through the writing process is that it takes time, something we don’t have a lot of these days.  The free biography report template provided below can be used as a jumping off point. The websites listed to accompany the research template are student friendly and filled with tons of options for researching an influential figure. If your students do well with the template, it can be used as an outline for an expository writing assignment. 

Free Printable and Digital Biography Report Template

Find hundreds of interactive biographies at Each biography includes an image, voice reader, and related articles and activities. All of the biographies can be filtered by grade level, making it easy for students to find text that aligns with their reading abilities. is a great place for students to find concise biographies on hundreds of influential figures. Each biography is broken down into short paragraphs and includes a voice reading of the text. Some of the featured biographies also include a list of interesting facts and/or a ten-question quiz. biographies include statesmen, leaders, political thinkers, inventors, scientists, artists, writers, actors, athletes, and achievers. Plus, each biography includes a word count and Flesch-Kincaid readability score.

Want to extend the biography report template into a full research and writing project? Click here to get everything you need for a comprehensive step-by-step research and writing unit.  A printable and digital version is included!!

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Book reports are an essential curriculum for middle school students. The book report activity is meant to polish up the analyzing and creative senses in students and hence a must done. Does your child too need to submit a middle school book report templates in his class soon? Well, in case he does not know how to compile an effective middle school book report, you can advise him to look for a middle school book report templates . These templates are offered by a lot of sites over the internet.

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Free Animal Report Printables and Notebooking Pages

Published: June 8, 2018

Sarah Shelton

Contributor: Sarah Shelton

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Do you  have a child that loves learning about animals but may struggle with writing? If so, then having them write a report on their favorite animal may be a great way to get them out of their writing funk and help them to get excited about writing. These free animal report templates and printables can help them organize their thoughts for a fun writing assignment.

Get Kids Excited to Learn About Animals

I have two daughters that are struggling learners. They are also amazing animal lovers and will soak up all of the information and facts on animals that they can. 

My favorite part of homeschooling is how we can tailor our learning experiences to our children’s interests and to things that are important to them. If you have an animal lover that struggles with reading and writing, try having them do some research and write a report about their favorite animal.

Writing an Animal Report

You may find that children get excited about what they are learning and want to share it in their report. When working on their report, they won’t even realize that they are doing “school” and that real learning is getting done! This is a great alternative to a textbook and works wonderfully for struggling learners that don’t like feeling “pushed”. 

What to Include in an Animal Report

Of course your student will cover the basics about each individual animal in his report, but here’s an idea of some of the topics your child can write about:

  • Geography – where is the animal found in the world?
  • Habitat – what is the habitat like for your animal?
  • Lifespan – what is the animal’s lifespan?
  • Lifecycle – what does the lifecycle look like for the animal?
  • Animal Kingdom – where in the animal kingdom is your topic animal?
  • Diet – what does your animal eat?
  • Appearance – what does your animal look like?
  • Food chain – where does the animal fit on the food chain?
  • Animal tracks – what does the animals tracks look like? You can grab our free unit study on identifying animal tracks to learn more and incorporate into your report. 

Those are just some basic ideas – you can really take it however far you’d like when writing a report about animals. 

Observing Live Animals

Obviously you are not likely able to travel the world viewing animals live in their habitats, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out! Watching animals via live animal cams is a fun way to get a glimpse into every day life for animals. 

Travel the World Through Live Animals Cams text with image examples collage of various animals

Free Animal Report Templates and Notebooking Pages

I have compiled a list of some great free animal reports and notebooking pages that you can use without a curriculum, and for extra learning fun:

Animal Report Forms

Animal Report Form – This is a great form if your student wants to outline facts on zoo animals.

Rainforest Animal Research Report Form  – If you are researching animals specific to the rainforest, then this free printable animal report is perfect for your early elementary or beginning writer as it uses primary lines. 

Ocean Animal Mini Reports – Studying the animals of the ocean? These ocean animals report pages would be a perfect companion to your study of the ocean .

Animal Report Pages

Animal Report Writing Printable and Rubric – I like that this printable animal report also contains a rubric so that you can determine if your child put enough effort into their animal research project.

Animal Research Booklet – This 9-page animal report printable pack has blank templates that you can make your own.

Printable Animal Report Page – This animal report sheet has some decorative boxes and lines and a world map.

Animal Report Outlines

Animal Report Outline for Grades 3 – 5 – This freebie contains cute card prompts that will assist your elementary students in outlining their animal facts into categories.

Animal Report Printable – These free animal report pages are my favorite. I think even a middle school student could have fun researching a particular animal and then writing a paper using these sheets.

Animal Research for Kids with Zoey and Sassafrass Printable – Do your kids enjoy reading the Zoey and Sassafras series? If so, these animal research pages printable will be sure to delight them to no end. 

Animal Report Worksheets

Zoo Field trip Worksheets – Going on a field trip to the zoo? Take along these free zoo field trip worksheets so your kids can report on the animals they saw and learned about.

Animal Report Worksheet with Geography Map – This free animal report worksheet is simple. but contains all the spaces for the animal facts that your kids gather. 

ABC Animal Report 26 Printables – Young children can practice the alphabet and learn about animals at the same time with this freebie. 

Animal Research Websites

Kids National Geographic: Animals – is a great animal research site. You can quickly search for animals by type and there are facts and amazing photographs and videos.  San Diego Zoo Kids has amazing photos and easy to read simple facts on the different animals. Science Kids Animal Facts has simple animal facts for each animal as well as fun facts.

Animal Fact Guide has photos of each animal that you click on. It will give you very detailed facts of the animal and it’s scientific name, as well as geographical location, and conservation status.

More Free Animal Printables and Downloads

Animal Behavior Copywork Pack – Discover some terminology related to how animals act and behave in the wild. 

Animal Families Notebook Journal – Learn more about animal families using this printable research journal. This set of animal family worksheets would make a great addition to your report.

Animal Parts Vocabulary Copywork – Help your kids learn the meanings of 25 animal-related words with this Free Animal Parts Vocabulary Copywork.

Animals Science Notebook Journals   – Check out our free series of research notebooks on various animals and habitats.

Curriculum & Unit Studies About Animals

Discovering Plants and Animals Volume One: Africa and Asia –  Your elementary and middle school students can have fun learning about some of the many animals and plants that live in more than 100 countries with  Discovering Plants and Animals of the World, Volume One . It’s  perfect for students in 3th-6th grade , but it can easily be adapted for younger or older students.

middle school research report template

Migration – Explore the Amazing Journeys of Animals –  This unit study   is a fun way to introduce your kids to migration and help them discover how 18 different animals migrate. It’s perfect for students in 4 th -8 th  grade, but it can easily be adapted for younger or older students.

From birds to mammals, insects to reptiles, your students will learn about pilchards, penguins, wildebeests, butterflies, and much more.

middle school research report template

Sarah Shelton

Sarah is a wife, daughter of the King and Mama to 4 children (two homeschool graduates) She is a an eclectic, Charlotte Mason style homeschooler that has been homeschooling for over 20 years.. She is still trying to find the balance between work and keeping a home and gardens. She can only do it by the Grace of God, coffee and green juice

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  1. PDF 8th Grade Research Packet

    In 8th grade, we will conduct THEMATIC RESEARCH - that is research that is based on an overarching theme. Your goal is to create a 2 - 3 "magazine-type- page" academic essay that presents information and illustrations (pictures, charts, graphs, etc.) that supports your group's theme by exploring a specific topic within the theme.

  2. PDF Research Paper Manual Middle Township School District

    The purpose of this research guide is to offer a standard format for the teaching and writing of research papers in courses at the Middle Township schools. The guide outlines the process of research, explains devices for organization of research and sources, gives examples of methods for documenting research sources within the paper, explains ...

  3. Middle School Research Report

    Middle School Research Report. Prepared by: Student Name: [YOUR NAME] School: Green Valley Middle School Grade: 8th Grade Teacher: Mr. David Mayfield Date of Submission: June 15, 2050 I. Introduction. Coral reefs are vibrant underwater ecosystems that support a quarter of all marine life despite covering less than 1% of the ocean floor.

  4. How to Write a Research Report Template for Middle School ...

    Middle school is a growing season where students begin to find their voice and gain an understanding of crafting a lengthier research report. Because these students are beginning their writing career, a simple yet educational template should be put in place to teach the basic elements of writing a paper. Providing ...

  5. PDF Middle School Science Lab Report Guidelines

    Conclusion: (written in paragraph form) 1. Restate your hypothesis and tell whether or not your data supports it. 2. Answer the question to the problem using your data. Include specific data with your. answer. (ex. average heights of plants in cm) 3. Share any problems you encountered while conducting the experiment.

  6. Report Writing Guidelines for Middle School

    Every report needs to have a central point, known as a thesis, claim or topic. A middle school student should be able to articulate their main point in any report, both in written and oral form. This main point must contain a perspective and not be simply a statement of fact. For example, a middle school history student might have to offer ...

  7. Scaffolding Methods for Research Paper Writing

    Research Paper Scaffold: This handout guides students in researching and organizing the information they need for writing their research paper.; Inquiry on the Internet: Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection: Students use Internet search engines and Web analysis checklists to evaluate online resources then write annotations that explain how and why the resources will be valuable to the ...

  8. Free, Downloadable Educational Templates for Students

    Revised on July 23, 2023. We have designed several free templates to help you get started on a variety of academic topics. These range from formatting your thesis or dissertation to writing a table of contents or a list of abbreviations. We also have templates for various citation styles, including APA (6 and 7), MLA, and Chicago.

  9. Research Paper Steps

    The research and writing process at Sunapee Middle High School is guided by the following steps. 1. KNOW THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A RESEARCH PAPER. The sample middle school research paper and the sample high school paper can be used to learn about the basic characteristics of a research paper. 2.

  10. Middle School Research Template

    Our Middle School Research Template is a versatile resource that you can use in any classroom. This template is a great way to assess students' understanding of class topics or to create a research paper on a given topic. This Middle School Research Template has four separate grids to allow for different ideas and the inclusion of drawings or images, which makes the research process easier ...

  11. Write a Winning Research Report

    Use your judgment based on the assignment and how you do your best work, but a good rough estimate for how to divide up your time is: 10% Brainstorming. 25% Researching and taking notes. 20% Making an outline. 25% Writing. 15% Revising and polishing.

  12. PDF Sophomore Research Packet

    Research Project Overview Project Overview: Students will develop writing that demonstrates a command of standard American English as well as research, organization, and drafting strategies. Students should select a specific topic that has a "provable" component to it. Do not create a report that solely gives information on a topic.

  13. Printable Research Writing Worksheets

    Research writing worksheets help children build the skills necessary to succeed at all levels of schooling. Designed by educators for children from first to fifth grade, research writing worksheets combine whimsical themes with real assignments to make learning enjoyable. Your child can write an animal report on camels, discover information ...

  14. Quick Tips for Teaching the Middle School Biography Writing Project

    Take notes on your person using the 5 Ws or Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Use the writing frames to start writing your paragraphs. Type up your writing frames into one complete draft. Participate in a peer review with a checklist. Submit a completed type 3 writing draft.

  15. Teaching a Research Unit

    Olivia Franklin. Engage students with interesting research topics, teach them skills to become adept independent researchers, and help them craft their end-of-unit research papers. CommonLit 360 is a comprehensive ELA curriculum for grades 6-12. Our standards-aligned units are highly engaging and develop core reading and writing skills.

  16. FREE Research Report Templates & Examples

    FREE Research Report Templates. Find your ideal Research Report template from's wide selection of professional designs. Impress your audience with customizable templates, perfect for business, market research, psychology, science, and more. Get Access to All Reports Templates. Instant Download.

  17. iRubric: Middle School Research Paper rubric

    Submit double spaced, 14 point TNR font following MLA guidelines. Include a bibliography citing resources used researching the paper. Paper will be graded on quality of research to support the topic, effective use of information gained through research, credibility of sources, content, grammar and mechanics, and bibliography. Rubric Code: JX6W62B.

  18. Biography Research for Kids {Facts, Templates & Printables}

    Step One: Choose Who to Write About. There are loads of famous, historical, or note-worthy people your young readers can explore for their biography research project. Parents can task a specific genre study of biographies or specific categories for students to research, or students can choose their own.

  19. Free printable middle school report card templates

    Create one in no time with free middle school report card templates from Canva. Canva's middle school or homeschool report card templates range from simple, monochromatic designs to bright and cheery layouts. While they vary in color scheme and typography, these middle school report card samples are all designed to be comprehensible.

  20. Free Biography Report Template and Resources for Distance Learning

    The free biography report template provided below can be used as a jumping off point. The websites listed to accompany the research template are student friendly and filled with tons of options for researching an influential figure. If your students do well with the template, it can be used as an outline for an expository writing assignment.

  21. 7+ Middle School Book Report Templates & Samples

    Middle School Biography Book Report Template. In middle school, students are encouraged to read storybooks and novels. This activity is followed by an assignment to prepare a book report amplifying certain aspects of the book in a few lines. ... 12+ Equity Research Report Templates in PDF | MS Word | XLS: 10+ Action ...

  22. Free State Report Templates for U.S. Geography

    Free State Report Templates Download. Our free State Report Templates pack includes 8 different geography templates that can be used in writing a report on a state. Each is focused on geography, and the 8 templates range from simple templates for younger elementary students to more in-depth templates for middle school students.

  23. Free Animal Report Printables and Notebooking Pages

    Animal Report Pages. Animal Report Writing Printable and Rubric - I like that this printable animal report also contains a rubric so that you can determine if your child put enough effort into their animal research project. Animal Research Booklet - This 9-page animal report printable pack has blank templates that you can make your own.