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The Steps to Writing a Research Paper Review by Brandy Brockhausen

Beth Hempton and Dana S. Wilson
Train Up a Child Publishing, LLC

Did you dread writing research papers in high school? Although I enjoyed writing very much, research papers were my nemesis. So much note-taking, citing, etc. It sucked the fun right out of writing for me. Fast forward quite a few years, and here I am, faced with teaching my own child to write a research paper. It’s like high school anxiety all over again. Naturally, I was eager to try out any resource that might make this process just a little bit easier.

The Steps to Writing a Research Paper is a high-school level writing program designed to guide your students through the paper-writing process. This course is designed to take about 18 weeks, so you could easily complete it in one semester if you wanted. However, for struggling writers like my son, you could also break it down into smaller chunks and spread the course out over a full year. I appreciate the flexibility the program offers so we can customize it to meet our needs.

The book itself comes in a spiral-bound edition, kind of like a notebook and it contains everything you need to complete the course, including instructions for teachers, several appendices with helpful resources, grading rubrics and more. You can choose to pursue the regular course for credit or take things a step further and complete the Honors course instead. Total cost for the program is $43.97.

Implementing this program is fairly simple, as most of the lessons are written directly to the student and pretty easy to follow. There is a section for teachers that includes tips for grading papers with sample rubrics and everything. I found this section helpful, although I would have liked some more explicit instructions on how to actually teach your child the material. I felt like it was assumed students already had a strong background in writing, which is not the case for my son, so he needs extra hand-holding.

The Steps to Writing a Research Paper does a good job of explaining all the parts of a research paper concisely. It takes students all the way through the planning process, to writing the paper itself, to creating all their citations and everything (which is the main part I really needed some support in). It also offers samples of written papers with footnotes and sample bibliographies, which is great if you have a kid like mine, who does much better with concrete examples than abstract instruction.

Overall, I felt this was a very strong high school writing program. In fact, I would call it a little advanced. This would be great for students who have already mastered most high school writing skills, and an excellent way to challenge high-level students. Just know that if writing is not your child’s strong suit, you will need to give them some extra support along the way.

-Product review by Brandy Brockhausen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2017