How To Write An 8th Grade Science Research Paper: A Step-By-Step Guide

The first thing you should do when you write an 8th-grade science research paper (and the first thing you should do when you write anything else as well) is Know Thy Topic. Your teacher probably gave you a prompt of some sort - keep this in mind throughout the writing process, so that you can make sure your paper answers the question or meets all the requirements of your assignment. After you’re sure of your topic, you should do the following:

  1. Make a list of questions that you will answer in your paper; these are the questions that you will be researching.
  2. When you start your searching for information, write down the name of your source (Title of a book, URL, the name of the encyclopedia/ magazine, etc.) and take notes underneath the title. This ensures that if you need to refer to your source or cite them, you’ll know where each piece of information comes from.
  3. After you rake up a good amount of general information on your subject, start working on an outline. No matter how time-consuming and unhelpful outlines may seem, they can make your life a lot easier because they help you structure the information you found. Your paper, and, therefore, your outline too, should have an introduction, some body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In your introduction, you should include a thesis, which is kind of like a topic sentence. Tell your audience what your paper is going to be about. If the introduction is hard to write at first, it might help to skip to the body paragraphs and then go back after you have a good idea of what you include in your essay. Your body paragraphs are where your research comes in; try to organize all of the information you have into a bunch of smaller “main ideas” that all support your thesis. You should take a paragraph to explain each of these. For example, if you’re researching, say, the wild Thingamajigger, the notes you took might look something like this:
  4. Source X

    • eat leaves and berries
    • sometimes hunts small mammals

    Source Y

    • long legs w/ powerful muscles to run fast
    • colorful plumage
    • six-inch claws

    Source Z

    • burrows into the ground
    • lives in forests of North America

    You might then organize this information into paragraphs on Diet, Habitat, Physical Description, and Natural Defenses. In each of these paragraphs, you’ll want to elaborate more on the information you found relevant to the topic. After you do this, you’ll need to outline your conclusion. Your conclusion is like a summary of your essay, including your opinion on your topic.

  5. After you’ve completed your outline, you may find that you’re missing a little bit of information or would like to include more details. If this is the case, go back and do more research, and try to find the specific pieces of information that you’re looking for. Remember to record your sources.
  6. Once you’ve done all of that, you can begin to write. Follow your outline, but add more details and thoroughly explain your research. For an 8th-grade science paper, you’ll probably be using MLA format, which means you should type it up in double-spaced 12-Point Times New Roman font. You’ll also need a title, which should be centered and capitalized - not italicized or in bold or underlined - at the top of your page, between your writing and your heading. Or, if your teacher wants you to include a title page, you should print out the title on a separate page, with your name, your class, and your teacher’s name underneath it.
  7. After you write your essay, create a bibliography using the sources you wrote down (you did write them down, didn’t you?). This usually goes on a separate page instead of continuing off where your essay ends. You should see your science teacher for specific formatting requirements.

Good luck! Have fun!

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