Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Biographical Research Paper

Cynthia Youngblood
Santa Rosa District Schools


Using resource materials, students write a biographical research paper.


The student uses strategies to clarify meaning, such as rereading, note taking, summarizing, outlining, and writing a grade level-appropriate report.

The student locates, organizes, and interprets written information for a variety of purposes, including classroom research, collaborative decision making, and performing a school or real-world task.

The student uses a variety of reference materials, including indexes, magazines, newspapers, and journals, and tools, including card catalogs and computer catalogs, to gather information for research topics.

The student synthesizes and separates collected information into useful components using a variety of techniques, such as source cards, note cards, spreadsheets, and outlines.

The student checks the validity and accuracy of information obtained from research, in such ways as differentiating fact and opinion, identifying strong vs. weak arguments, recognizing that personal values influence the conclusions an author draws.

The student drafts and revises writing that -is focused, purposeful, reflects insight into the writing situation;-conveys a sense of completeness and wholeness with adherence to the main idea;-has an organizational pattern that provide for a logical progression of ideas;-has support that is substantial, specific, revelant, concrete, and/or illustrative;-demonstrates a commitment to and an involvement with the subject;-has clarity in presentation of ideas;uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the purpose of the paper;demonstrates a command of language (word choice) with freshness of expression;has varied sentence structure and sentences that are complete except when fragments are used and purposefully; andhas few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, and punctuation.

The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling;-correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and semicolons;-correct common usage, including subject/verb agreement, common noun/pronoun agreement, common possessive forms, and with a variety of sentence structures,including parallel structure; and-correct formatting.


-A biography or autobiography
-Grammar book
-Modern Language Association Guidelines (MLA)
-Research Paper Guidelines (see associated file)
-Research Paper Evaluation Form (see associated file)


1. Schedule research time in the media center.
2. Duplicate copies of handouts to distribute to students.
3. Review the MLA Guidelines for research papers. (This type of documentation is in most grammar books.)


1. Take students to the media center to check out a biography or an autobiography. Teacher informs students that in two weeks they will write a biographical research paper about the person selected. (Students have two weeks to read the book.)

2. Explain handout on Research Paper Guidelines which provides instruction on writing a thesis statement, preparing an outline, taking notes, writing a rough draft and a final paper. (See attachment.)

3. Review Research Paper Evaluation Form with students. (See attachment.)

4. Review writing rules for the Modern Language Association (MLA). (MLA guidelines are in most updated grammar texts.)

5. Take students to the media center for additional research for other sources of information, such as magazine or newspaper articles, encyclopedias, the Internet, and other books. Students take notes.

6. Have students write rough draft.

7. Have students write final research report.

8. Evaluate final research report. (See attachment.)


Student papers are assessed using the evaluation form in the attached file.

Attached Files

Research Evaluation Form.     File Extension: pdf

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