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ELS Guide: Writing Your Research Paper

Resource for ELS class.

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It is important to follow the directions your instructor gave you for writing your paper. When taking a class in college, your professor will also expect you to follow all directions and may take points away if you do not include what has been asked.

Here is what your instructor will expect from you when grading your research paper for Guided Research Skills:

  • Cover page
  • Outline
  • Body
  • Works Cited page
  • Times New Roman font, size 12


  • 7 pages
  • Minimum of 6 3/4 pages
  • Maximum of 7 1/4 pages


  • 10 pages
  • Minimum of 9 3/4 pages
  • Maximum of 10 1/4 pagse

Research Paper

Your instructor (and future college professors) will give you a topic to write about or may give you a type of research paper he/she expects you to form such as problem and solution, cause and effect, or argument. When you are given a topic or subject to write about, you will need to narrow down your idea so that it is easier to focus on what you write. For example, during your instruction we talked about "second hand smoke" as a main topic and narrowed it down. 

Instead of having to choose a topic to research, you may have to write a paper that has a special theme. Cause and effect, problem and solution, and argument research papers are examples of themes.

 Cause and Effect

When we talk about a "cause" we mean that something has happened to make something else happen (an "effect"). An "effect" is what happens because of the "cause". You may want to ask yourself: "Why did this happen?" or "What happened because of this?"

Cause: Global warming

Effect: Polar ice caps in the Artic are melting


Cause: Melting of polar ice caps

Effect: Rising ocean levels

Problem and Solution 

A problem is something that needs to be fixed or solved--it needs a solution. We could say that global warming is a problem that needs a solution. After you identify a problem, you will research to find ways it is being fixed or solved.

Problem: Air pollution

Solution: By not smoking cigarettes, using electrical tools instead of gas-powered tools, and riding together to work or school we can prevent air pollution.


When writing an argument paper, you will be proving to your readers why you feel so strongly for or against something. Remember to still recoginize that other people may not feel the same way you do and that it is important to be respectful. After you tell the audience why you feel some way you will need to find information that supports your side of the topic.

Argument: The fight to limit global warming by asking factories and plants to change their processes, make buildings more modern, or fine them money for releasing toxic gases will harm these businesses by causing them economic hardships.