6th Grade Research Paper Assignment Description

Research Paper Guidelines & Schedule

 HMS Research Calendar 
6th Grade Due Dates7th Grade Due Dates8th Grade Due Dates


Research Paper Guidelines for Hilldale Middle School

Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at Hilldale Middle School will be required to write a research paper in their English class, as well as do other various research projects in other subjects.  These are the standard guidelines for the Middle School.

  1. Sources – All sources must be primary sources.  The requirements for each grade are:
    • 6th grade – 1 book and 2 online sources
    • 7th grade - 2 books and 3 online sources
    • 8th grade – 2 books and 3 online sources
  2. Research – Each grade will have 2 days in the Middle School library and 2 days in the Middle School computer lab.  After that, all research will have to be done on student’s own time either at home or school.
  3. Notecards – Notecards will be 3x5, and students will create 2 per source.  Students must follow the notecard format provided by their teachers.
  4. Writing – Students will have 2 days in class to write their papers after all the research and notecards have been completed.  All other writing will be done on students’ own time.  
  5. CitingSources – Students will create a Works Cited page following the MLA standards for citing sources.  This must be completed in the correct MLA format provided by the teachers and handed in with the research paper.
  6. Typing – Students will have 2 days in the Middle School computer lab to type their research papers.  It would be very beneficial for students to own a flash drive on which to save their research.  Any other typing will have to be done on the students’ own time.
  7. Formatting – All papers must be typed in 12 font, black ink, Times New Roman, and must be double spaced.  Failure to do this will result in reduction of points on the overall research paper grade.
  8. TotalPageRequirements:  
    • 6th grade – 2 typed pages, plus a cover page and the Works Cited page
    • 7th grade – 2 ½ typed pages, plus a cover page and the Works Cited page
    • 8th grade – 3 typed pages, plus a cover page and the Works Cited page
    • Honors Class Requirements: 
      • Honors 7th grade – 3 typed pages, plus a cover page and the Works Cited page
      • Honors 8th grade – 4 typed pages, plus a cover page and the Works Cited page
  9. DueDates - All parts of the research papers must be turned in by the due dates assigned by the teachers.  Students will receive a calendar of due dates from their teachers at the beginning of the research assignment.  This will also be posted on the school website. 
  10. Grades – The research paper assignment will be worth 300 points.  Students will receive a grade sheet at the beginning of the research assignment detailing what each section is worth.  This will also be posted on the school website.
  • We will use the MLA format for all sections of the research paper. You can find how-to help for all research paper sections at mlaformat.org

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From Theory to Practice



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.

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O'Day, S. (2006) Setting the stage for creative writing: Plot scaffolds for beginning and intermediate writers. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • 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.


Biancarosa, G., and Snow, C. E. (2004.) Reading next-A vision for action and research in middle and high school literacy: A report from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.

  • 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.

  • Expository writing, because its organizational structure is rooted in classical rhetoric, needs to be taught.

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