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.
Research Implications



























The following examples and activities 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 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 section(s) of your paper.

Activity 1: Analyze videos and news examples
Scientists, educators, business leaders, artists, and other professionals must have the ability to solve problems or create something new.  The video clips and news items 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, take informal notes to answer these questions, and then discuss responses with the class:
  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?

Video Clips:

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

Pay Attention - "Digital Learners" (Darren Draper, Director of Technology - Canyons School District)

News Examples:

"Inventors Demonstrate Their Sand-Cleaning Ideas" - (CBS News/Tech - Pensacola Beach, July 2, 2010)
"MIT Student Invention Deployed in Haiti to Save Lives" - (PopSci, March 19, 2010) 

Activity 2: Practice "thinking outside of the box"
It helps to "think outside of the box" when you are developing an idea, innovation, or new product, 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.  Use these activities to exercise your creativity and abstract thinking. 

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.
Arts  | Science | Mathematics  | History | Social Sciences | Inventions, Innovations and Engineering

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 the note-taking tool you used during your research in Step 5, or a brainstorming or mind mapping tool. 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
Prior Knowledge & Discussion | Student Activity & Resources | Self-Assessment | Plagiarism Detection Tools















Student Resources





Before you begin writing your research paper, ensure that you 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.

Student Activity: You already have some prior knowledge about plagiarism. Use your prior knowledge and new information, examples, and strategies from the resources below to create an Avoiding Plagiarism Guide for future 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 ideas, making sure that their sources are acknowledged and that their own voice is heard.

Self-Assessment: Use this fun interactive tutorial to check your understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.
Consult these additional resources if you need clarification or more examples:

rism FAQ's | Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism Detection Tools: Preview these online plagiarism detection tools, which you can use to identify and correct unintentional plagiarism in your writing when you start drafting your paper.

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

STHS Library

Center for Academic Integrity

Purdue OWL logo

You Quote It, You Note It

Back to TopUsing a Style Guide and Citing Sources
Citing Sources | Style Guides & Sample Papers | Online Citation Tools




Student Resources




Cite Sources

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.   

Student Activity: Use the resources below to complete this Style and Citation Guide for future 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?
  5. Which online citation generator should I use to format citations for my list of Works Cited, Bibliography, Notes, or References?

Citing Sources:

Style Guides and Sample Papers:

MIT LibrariesPurdue OWL logo

STHS Library

Bedford St. Martins

Online Citation Tools:

  • EasyBib - MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian
    Every BCPS high school has an EasyBib School Edition account with enhanced features not available in the "free" edition; see your school library media specialist to set up your EasyBib student account
  • Other online citation generators:

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.




Son of Citation Machine


Back to TopWriting the Research Paper
Prewriting | Writing | Revising and Editing | Publishing | Assessments


Student Resources








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 Plagiarism Guide and Style and Citation Guide that you created in the previous lessons as you are writing. If questions arise as you are following these steps, consult your course instructor, mentor, or English teacher.

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

Writing a Research Report: Refer to the 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.

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

  • PQP: A group revision strategy that works - PowerPoint on the revision step in the writing process, including ideas for using the PQP peer review strategy in class.
    • 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.
  • Try using a plagiarism detection tool to check your complete draft for unintentional plagiarism before finalizing your paper.

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.
Research Project Rubric | Research Paper (Writing) Rubric

Back to TopPlagiarism Detection Tools

Student Resources






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.
  • Grammarly - Automated proofreader checks your text for plagiarism and grammar errors. Fee-based subscription service, but offers a 7-day free trial.
  • WriteCheck - Tool for students to check their own writing for improperly used content, inadvertent plagiarism, or quotation errors. Fee-based subscription only, no free trial offered.
  • Other free plagiarism checkers which do not store submitted papers: Plagium |


University of Maryland

No Plagiarism



Please note: Many other free 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.


Back to Top

Glossary of terms related to academic integrity
Glossary of research terms
Definitions for important research-related terms
Writing and research glossary

Teacher Resources




Back to Top Unit Overview and Lessons are available in BCPSOne.

Note to teacher:  Class meetings for Lessons 1-4 should be scheduled beginning 6 weeks before the final paper is due.  Students will be expected to bring all completed research notes and a list of all sources used during research.  Face to face instruction will include introduction to concepts, resources, and student activities and discussion for each of the lessons in this unit. Students may complete many of these activities independently.  Students may complete exercises, notes, and journal entries on paper, on the course wiki, or using another digital tool. An additional face-to-face class should be held approximately 2 weeks before the final paper is due, for a PQP peer revision activity and submission of rough draft.

Additional Instructional Resources

Teacher Background Resources

Articles about Teaching for Understanding

Safari Montage

Brain Pop


Center for Academic Integrity