How to Teach the Research Report

how to teach the research reportThe Research Report: Many teachers dread teaching it, and many students hate writing it. There IS a way to take the pain out of this very difficult project. This book offers a step-by-step process for teaching one of the most difficult concepts in writing.

If students cannot complete the research report on their own, without any help from the teacher or parents, they do NOT have mastery of the concept. The goal of this book is to teach the research report so methodically that the students will have the confidence to write research reports on their own with little guidance from anyone.

How It Works:

  1. Teach Mini-Research Reports: Teach the students the entire process of using multiple sources to write a report by having them write one-paragraph reports. Perfect for students as young as fourth grade. Also perfect for high school students to write short reports on less weighty topics.
  2. Teach the Five Paragraph Research Report: If the students have done the Mini-Research Report, teaching the Five Paragraph Report is a breeze. Also, the teacher has the freedom to begin instruction here if the students are ready.
  3. The 3 - 5 Page Research Report: If the students have done the shorter reports, teaching this step is relatively painless. The students have already mastered the steps. Simply show them how to repeat the same process for longer reports.

*Note: The eBook version may be purchased for $6.00 with the purchase of the soft cover edition.  Just click "Add eBook" during checkout. Added eBook will be sent when your soft cover book has shipped.

Why begin by teaching a one-paragraph research report?

Research reports are so time consuming that students often only write one or two per year. In many cases, the teacher walks the students through the steps. This does not give students the opportunity to master this skill.

This book keeps it simple. The students:

  1. Learn to combine facts from multiple sources into a single paragraph.
  2. Practice the process several times.
  3. Follow the same steps as they write longer reports.

How Would Students Master the Research Report within a Year?

Sample Year for 6th Grade

Beginning of the Year (3 Weeks)

One Paragraph Research Reports:

Teacher Directed: Sargon and Hammurabi

Independent Practice: Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus the Great

Middle of the Year (3 Weeks)

Five Paragraph Research Reports:

Teacher Directed: Ancient India

Independent Practice: Ancient China (Chin Dynasty) and Ancient China (Han Dynasty)

End of the Year (3-4 Weeks)

3 - 5 Page Research Report:

Teacher Directed (Note: Many students will not need the direction): Ancient Greece

Independent Practice: Ancient Rome

Teachers already using our books How to Teach the Paragraph and How to Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay have a big head start teaching the research report. The process used to help students master the research report is identical to the process used in these two books. The students are taught to organize their thoughts using a powerful prewriting strategy. Students who have mastered this technique will find learning the research report to be the next natural step in the process.

If you do not have these two resources, I would highly recommend that you use them along with the research report. There is a bundle option which allows you to get all three books at a reduced price. Add Writing Tricks Plus and The Complete Writing Program, and your students will have amazingly organized reports that contain highly intelligent sentences. All bundle options are listed below.

Can an average fifth grader learn to write a research report with NO help from the teacher? Absolutely!

The first year I used this technique, I had planned on teaching the students to write five short reports on the causes of the American Revolution. I collected three short resources on each topic and prepared to walk them through each report. By the time we began the third report, the students were complaining, "We can do it, Mr. Dye!"

"Prove it!" I responded.

Most of the students proceeded to write amazing one-paragraph reports. By the end of the year, they were writing three page reports on the westward movement.

Considering the number of adults that have used this system, it is easy to claim that this book is appropriate for any student who is proficient at paragraph writing.