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Research Writing for Beginners


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Research Writing for Beginners – (A to Z for Research Papers) – SPRING


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Writing papers is an inevitable part of academia, and mastery of the form is critical for success regardless of intended field of study. It is not sufficient to be able to write a thesis statement and have strong topic sentences; students must also be able to use outside sources to develop ideas. Many students cringe when they hear the words “research paper,” but there is no need to fear!

In this introductory course, your student will practice and develop the skills necessary for conducting, managing, and presenting research. This course uses an incremental approach by beginning with guided research and gradually increasing skills and concepts to the final extended research paper. The teacher serves as a writing coach, guiding students every step of the way.

Skills learned in this class include choosing a topic, writing a thesis, conducting research through both primary and secondary sources, evaluating sources, using notecards, editing drafts, and compiling documentation. Students will also gain a solid understanding of plagiarism, including its ramifications and how to avoid it. Finally, they will learn to properly employ the most up-to-date MLA style, will practice APA style, and will have a brief introduction to Chicago style. Over the course of the semester, students will complete three different types of research papers (informative, persuasive, and comparative) and one annotated bibliography.

Please view prerequisites and required supplies below.

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MLA Handbook (9th edition) by The Modern Language Association (ISBN-13 : ‎978-1603293518)

Teacher will provide all other materials for this course from online sources such as OWL Purdue.

Dawn Burnette​ is truly excited to be part of the Excelsior family as an English teacher! Dawn holds a B.A. in English Education/Journalism from Lenoir-Rhyne University and an M.A. in English Education from Georgia State University. She has also earned National Board Certification and gifted endorsement. While teaching English at a public high school for 15 years, Dawn served as English department chair, coached a nationally ranked dance team, and won a few local, state, and national teaching awards. Dawn loves sharing her passion for reading and writing, and she works tirelessly to help students reach their academic potential and to glorify God in all pursuits. Soli Deo Gloria!

When it was time for their children to start school, Dawn and her husband Rod moved the family from an Atlanta suburb to the North Georgia mountains, acquired way too many animals, and spent the next 12 years homeschooling. Their daughter Ansley graduated from Samford University in 2022 and works at Sight & Sound Theater in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and their son Beck graduated from and played collegiate golf at Lee University and the University of Georgia and began playing professional golf in 2024.

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1 review for Research Writing for Beginners – (A to Z for Research Papers) – SPRING (5/5 stars)

  1. Erika G.

    Dawn was excellent at teaching the material and taking the students step by step through the coursework. The expectations were communicated well to both parents and students. My son was well prepared for college research assignments after taking this course. She got to know each of her students and connected with them on their level. I highly recommend this course and Dawn as a teacher.

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