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East Rochester MLA/Senior High Library: English 12 Research Paper

Paper Organization

  The Research Process in a Nutshell

1) Find Sources

Look for at least five reliable sources (more is fine). You can use the recommended resources on this page, but you will also need to find other websites. If you are unsure of a source, be sure you Google the organization to find out more about it. When applicable, use the Wikipedia trick. 

2) Take Notes -  Note Taking Packet

Click on the above link to get an electronic note taking packet. Ms. Hankins will not be grading your notes.  However, you still need some method to keep track of the information you find.  This is a great opportunity to figure out what works best for you.

3) Create Citations - NoodleTools

Use NoodleTools to help with your citations.  NoodleTools will generate your references page for you (the list of citations at the end of your paper) and your parenthetical citations (the citation within the paper.)

4) Organize your paper - Paper Outline

Click on the link above to see how to organize your paper.  Remember that this is only a guide. You have the flexibility to organize it differently as needed.

5) Check for Plagiarism -

Use to check for plagiarism before submitting your final copy. It is really important that you write information in your own words.  The punishment for plagiarism (either intentional or unintentional) can be severe in college. 


Using Websites for Research

Look for: 

1) Credible news organizations such as:

ABC News
NBC News
Washington Post
New York Times

2) Studies conducted by researchers at universities & research organizations

Avoid: advocacy websites, personal websites, blogs


3) Use the Wikipedia Trick


Wikipedia Trick

   Wikipedia Trick

One of the best ways to evaluate a source is to read what OTHERS say about the organization. Search Google to find out the reputation, bias, or past activities of a group. Are there any red flags? Do you think this organization is an expert on this topic?
One way to do this is to try the Wikipedia trick on a website:
Step One: Delete everything after the domain name and add “wikipedia”
Step Two: Look at the Wikipedia entry and evaluate the source.


Wikipedia trick: wikipedia

APA Guide

Guide to APA Format

Visit the Guide to APA Format page for help creating APA citations and the References page.
This is an excellent source to begin your research. These articles may be very useful:

Opposing Viewpoints

Gale in Context: High School

Gale in Context: High School

Password: bombers

Try searching "value of a college degree"

Issues and Controversies

Username: erhigh
Password: bombers

Many of these articles are older. While they may help you with your arguments, the information needs to be verified by more current sources.
Look under College Tuition Costs for a variety of articles on:
  • For-Profit Colleges
  • Is College a Sound Investment?
  • Are the Benefits of College Worth the Cost?
  • Online Education


Use NoodleTools to create APA citations and the References page.