how to write a research paper
Growth Mindset Assignment: Spring â€™19 Midterm
Pre-Assignment Reflection: What do the ideas in the box below tell you about yourself as a student? Which ones do you believe about yourself? How will believing these things help you at NOVA, how will they help you beyond NOVA?
There are three parts to this midterm assignment (A, B, and, on p. 4, C), and the larger outcome of all parts is to allow you to practice the research process, so that when you build up to writing your final research paper at the end of the semester, you will have developed the skills to do excellent work.
Your work in the library with Mr. Kevin Simons showed you the bigger picture about research. But before you do actual research, you will dip your mind into the research process by learning about three important concepts in education â€“ growth mindset, grit, and brain-based learning â€“ all of which should show you that you have more in you than you might be aware of, and that you can reach higher than you might think you can. Thatâ€™s partially my goal in this assignment, to have you learn how real education works, and how you are the most important teacher in this class. The other part is to have you write a paper using evidence from what you learned.
This first part of the assignment is intended to show you the value of metacognitive thinking (thinking about thinking) and how using a graphic organizer like the KWL sheet can help you note down and organize your thinking to produce results that will help you in the actual research you will be doing for this class and for many other classes in college.
(A) Using the KWL sheet to prepare for researching
- Before looking anything up, first look at the terms in the first column on the KWL sheet below. Write down what you know about any of the terms. Itâ€™s okay to not know anything. If you think you have an idea, write down your guess.
- Also before you look up anything, in the second column, write down what you want to learn about the topic and terms. What raises your curiosity about some of the ideas? Which terms would you like to learn about and why would you? What related terms come to mind when you start thinking about the words in column 1? Is there something that intrigues you more about one or more terms? What is it? Write it down.
- Then use the final column to record the most important points about what you have learned about the growth mindset. These points will help you outline your â€œresearch reportâ€ on how these three concepts relate to your learning.
(B) Doing your searching:
- Now, using the terms I have listed below in column 1 and going to the suggested websites I have provided on p. 3, look up all the relevant terms from column 1, but also look up and read about the names all three of the researchers whose work will give you evidence for your paper. (I have noted them on the KWL sheet and ask you to write about them on p. 3. Take notes that you believe will help you for the last part of this assignment (â€œWriting Your Paperâ€)
- As you read, use the â€œVocabularyâ€ column to note down any unfamiliar words from your reading.
KWL Sheet on Growth Mindset
K â€“ What do you already know about growth mindset and the other terms below? (If you donâ€™t know anything, fine, but these are ideas that you will need to research.)
W â€“ What do you want or need to know about the terms? Which interest you and why? (Donâ€™t dismiss this column by saying â€œnothing.â€ What related terms, other than those here, do you think you can use to search for information)
(Vocabulary) As you read, write down any unfamiliar words you find and give their definitions.
L â€“ (After you have done your â€œresearchâ€) What have you learned about growth mindset? What do you think is important to know? Briefly list those things in this column. These will help you develop your evidence in the paper you will write.
Terms to know or look up
(Also see p. 3 for people to learn about)
Researchers to learn about (Be sure to learn about ALL THREE RESEARCHERS and connect all of their ideas). Take notes here or elsewhere about them as you read.
Websites to search (live links in the electronic version of this assignment on Blackboard)
[Use the ideas in column 1 of the KWL sheet as search terms; you can also use the last names of the researchers as search terms. Take notes as you read or watch.] Not every site will give you all the information you need, so donâ€™t give up.
You can also just try Googleâ€¦
Post-Reading Questions (after you have read the articles at the websites but before you write your paper):
- What are the common factors across the ideas of these three researchers? How are their ideas similar?
- How are their ideas helpful for students?
- How has your reading changed your way of thinking about the value of mistakes?
- Which of the ideas appeal to you the most? Why?
- Which websites were most helpful? Why?
- Which ones gave the most detailed examples? What was good about the examples?
- Which websites do you think would be useful in a college class about growth mindset? Why?
- What did you learn about your own mindset? How do you think you may change because of what you learned?
(C) Writing your paper
I want you to use the information you learned about growth mindset, grit, and brain-based learning (and dendrites). Based on your research into the ideas, write a 2-3 page paper that explains:
- Who the three experts are and what they say about growth mindset, fixed mindset, grit, and brain-based learning. (Quote them where appropriate and be sure to give them credit for their ideas.)
- What growth mindset is and how it differs from fixed mindset.
- The concept of grit. (not â€œgrits,â€ which is food)
- What dendrites are and how knowing about them relates to growth mindset.
- How growth mindset can help students. How grit is important to learning.
- In what ways all of the ideas are similar.
You can use your own learning styles and personal experience (for instance, are you a fixed-mindset or a growth-mindset person?) as evidence, especially in your conclusion.
You will need to organize your paper around the concepts and refer to them throughout your essay. Be sure to use specific details that you learned from your reading and explain the concepts as if your reader did not know anything about them.
Post-Assignment Questions (After youâ€™ve written your paper)
Based on what you now know about growth mindset, how does it relate to successful outcomes in college?
How will this assignment help you with other assignments, in this class, and in other classes?
What levels of Bloomâ€™s taxonomy did you use to complete the parts of this assignment?
What you will turn in:
a) These four pages completed, including the KWL sheet (p. 2) and the questions on pages 3 & 4.
b) A 2-3 page paper explaining clearly and completely and in an organized manner what you learned from this pre-research project. Remember to include information about all three researchers.
Did you complete the background work with clear and complete responses? (KWL sheet, questions) (10 points)
Research paper on the three researchers and their ideas about learning (80 points)
- Did you adequately address the concepts in your paper, using as evidence quotes or paraphrases to clearly show the similarities and differences across their ideas?
- Did you use good organization in your paper?
- Does it start with a catchy introduction and a clear thesis statement (your position on the idea of growth mindset, grit, and brain-based learning, based on your research),
- Does it have separate paragraphs on each researcher using evidence to make your point,
- And does it finish with a conclusion that summarizes the overall connection to education?
Completed work brought to class for conferences. (10 points)
Due date: Wednesday, 3/20 (for F02N and F05N) and Thursday 3/21 (for F08N) â€“ You will need to bring a paper copy of all parts of your completed assignment to class on those days (and for 10 points), when we will have a midterm conference. I will talk with you about your paper and give you a chance to revise it afterwards.