Graphic for Step 6 Apply New Understanding In this step of the research process, you will synthesize the information you have gathered and apply your new understanding by:
  • Considering the implications of your research to draw conclusions.
  • Avoiding plagiarism and documenting sources to demonstrate ethical scholarship.
  • Using the writing process and an appropriate style guide to compose and publish a formal research paper
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Lesson 6.1 - Research Implications
Avoiding Plagiarism | Using a Style Guide & Citing Sources

Lesson 6.2 - Writing the Research Paper
Lesson 6.1 - Research Implications
The following activities and examples will help you to engage in some critical and creative thinking about the significance or implications of your research. This type of thinking will enable you to draw conclusions and answer the essential question "So what?" about your research findings. You can apply these insights as you write your research paper, and particularly in the Conclusions/Discussion sections of your paper.

Activity 1: "Thinking outside of the box"
It helps to "think outside of the box" when you are developing an idea. You need to take what is known and apply it to a new situation or in a new way. This is how many of the great inventions, discoveries, and innovations are made. Try these strategies for "thinking outside of the box" to consider your own research findings. What new insights emerge? Document your thinking/conclusions in a journal entry.

Activity 2: Analyze examples
Scientists, educators, business leaders, artists, and other professionals must have the ability to solve problems or create something new.  The video clips below are examples of talented people  "thinking outside of the box" by synthesizing information, thinking critically and creatively, and applying known concepts in a new way. As you view and listen to the video clips and read the news items below, take informal notes to answer these questions, and then discuss responses with classmates/instructor:

  1. What were the problems or issues being faced?
  2. Why was it important to confront those problems/issues? What were the implications?
  3. How did the problem-solvers "think outside the box?"
  4. How are these problems similar to your own research problem or issue?

Apollo 13 - "Fitting a square plug into a round hole" (YouTube video must be screened by instructor)
Apollo 13 [VHS]. Dir. Ron Howard. Perf. Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon. Universal Studios, 1995. VHS.

NBC Learn video  Boy Invents Low-Cost Braille Printer Made of Legos for Blind

NBC Learn Video - Science of Innovation: Using Viruses to Make Batteries

Activity 3: Analyze a sample research paper
Examine a sample research paper (particularly the Conclusions section) from a field related to your own project. How did the researcher synthesize information and "think outside of the box" to draw conclusions about the implications of the research findings? Share your analysis with the class.

Activity 4: Analyze your own research notes to draw conclusions
Review and analyze your research notes to "think outside of the box" and draw conclusions about the implications of your own research findings. Record your ideas using a note-taking, brainstorming or mind mapping tool of your choice. Use these questions to jump-start your thinking:

  1. What do my research results mean or my findings demonstrate?
  2. How do my results compare to similar projects?
  3. So what? What are the implications of my research findings-- for other people, clinicians, researchers, teachers, students, future studies, or the real world?

Application: Incorporate these new insights and conclusions when you begin writing your own research paper.

Back to Top Avoiding Plagiarism (Refer to this section as needed or review as directed by instructor)
Before you begin writing your research paper, ensure that you fully understand what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.
The activities and resources below will help you to apply strategies for distinguishing between your own original ideas and information taken from source materials.

Prior Knowledge and Discussion: Academic integrity and ethical use mean that a scholar respects the ideas and works of others, gives proper attribution for the intellectual property of others, and adheres to their institution’s rules and codes of conduct. Ethical scholarship entails researching, understanding, and building upon the work of others, but also requires that students do original thinking and writing and give proper credit for any “borrowed” material. This presents some real challenges for students at all levels.

Optional Student Activity: Use your prior knowledge and new information, examples, and strategies from the resources below to create an Avoiding Plagiarism Guide for reference as write your research paper.

  1. Why should I care about avoiding plagiarism?
  2. What are the different types of plagiarism I should avoid?
  3. How do I properly quote, paraphrase and summarize to avoid plagiarism in my research paper?


Good writers use three strategies—quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing— to blend source materials in with their own points, claims and ideas, making sure that their sources are acknowledged while their own voice is heard.

Plagiarism Detection Tools: Teachers often use free or fee-based digital tools designed to detect plagiarism in student writing. You can use these tools to detect unintentional plagiarism in your own writing before finalizing your research paper. Check any phrase or chunk of text which you may have neglected to properly quote or paraphrase. Some tools will allow you to check your entire draft.

  • You can use a search engine like Google to check phrases or strings of text in your paper that may have originated from an online source; use quotation marks to enclose the phrase or text string in the search box.
  • The Plagiarism Checker - Free tool allows you to check for plagiarized text by copying and pasting excerpts into the window, or uploading an entire Microsoft Word document. This educational software was designed as a project for the University of Maryland at College Park Department of Education.
  • - Free tool allows you to search Google for several phrases from a paper at the same time, without adding quotation marks or special operators; created by a teacher.

Please note: Many other plagiarism detection tools are available on the Internet. However, be careful about submitting your papers or essays to free sites which may not be reputable, as they may store student papers and then harvest students' work for resale in global paper mills. Check the site's terms and conditions for a statement indicating that they do not store, retain, share, or resell student papers, and check outside evaluations or reviews of the service and publisher.

Self-Assessment: Do you know everything you need to know about academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism? Take this interactive quiz to check your understanding.

Application: Use your completed Avoiding Plagiarism Guide as a reference to apply strategies during the writing process.

Back to TopUsing a Style Guide and Citing Sources (Refer to ths section as needed or review as directed by instructor)
Academic organizations and some disciplines have developed their own styles of how to cite sources and format research papers. These styles are outlined in style guides published in print and online. You may have heard of or used some of these styles before. Before you begin the writing process, you need to determine which style guide to follow for your research topic/subject area, and how to use that style guide to document your sources and organize your research paper.   

Optional Student Activity: Use the resources below to complete this Style and Citation Guide for reference during the writing process.

  1. Why should I cite my sources?
  2. What is an in-text (parenthetical) citation? When should I use in-text citations in my paper?
  3. Which style guide should I use to format my research paper and citations?
  4. How is a research paper organized and published according to this style guide?

Citing Sources:

  • Citing Sources - Brief video on citing sources and writing style.
  • Is it Plagiarism Yet? - Explains when giving credit is or is not required.
  • In-text Citation Guide (YouTube video must be screened by instructor)
  • Online Citation Tools: EasyBib EDU - MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian
    Every BCPS high school has an EasyBib EDU account; see your school library media specialist to set up your EasyBib EDU student account if you have not already done so.

Style Guides and Sample Papers:

Application: Use your Style and Citation Guide to organize your paper and document your sources as you write your draft, including properly-formatted in-text citations and list of Works Cited, Bibliography, Notes, or References. Use the online citation tool you selected to format citations for your list according to your selected style guide.

Back to Top Lesson 6.2 - Writing the Research Paper

Use the resources, strategies, tools, and examples below each step for guidance as you follow the steps in the writing process to compose your research paper. Refer to the Avoiding Plagiarisn and Using a Style Guide and Citing Sources sections on this page as needed. If questions arise during the writing process, consult your course instructor, mentor, or English teacher.

Preview this Research Paper Guide and success criteria on the Research Paper/Writing Rubric to understand the expectations for this research paper.

Prewriting: Use your research notes and these prewriting strategies and tools to plan and organize your paper:

Writing a Research Report: Refer to the Research Paper Guide and resources below to write a first draft of your research paper. These will help you to synthesize your research findings and insights into a cohesive and original report. Many sections of your research paper can be pulled from your previous work/Literature review.

Revising and Editing: Use these strategies and tools to improve your first draft.

  • Use this PQP worksheet to have a peer and/or your course instructor, mentor, or English teacher review your draft; revise as needed based on feedback.
  • Proofreading - Visit the subsections on the left sidebar for proofreading and revising strategies.

Publishing: Consult your school's Style and Citation Guide for details about proper manuscript form.

Assessments: Self-evaluate your work based on these scoring criteria, as directed by your instructor.