EDF 6215: Research Paper Guidelines

Step 1: Identify three topics related to human learning that you would be interested in researching for this course. Mail your list of topics to the instructor no later than September 4 at 5pm. 

Step 2: Identify a minimum of 6 primary research articles in professional journals on a specific topic related to human learning. A primary research article is one in which the author(s) present their original research findings for the first time. For each article, photocopy the article abstract and clearly mark with a complete citation (e.g. author, date, title, journal title, volume, page numbers) and forward to the course instructor. This material may be faxed, mailed, or sent electronically, but must be received no later than October 9 at 5pm. 

Step 3: Complete a research paper using APA style guidelines. It is anticipated that papers will be 8-12 pages in length including cover page, abstract, and bibliography. The paper should be an integration of the research read, not simply a summary. As appropriate, the use of additional materials is strongly encouraged.  

Step 4: Develop a presentation based on the written research paper. The presentation may be developed in the form of HTML files that will be uploaded to the University server (or placed elsewhere and linked to from the class site) or in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. If HTML files are created, a minimum of 6 separate pages that are fully functional are required. If a PowerPoint presentation is selected, a minimum of 9 slides should be included. HTML or PowerPoint files will be submitted to the instructor, and if they are not previously posted on the web, will be uploaded to the University server so that the entire class can review all materials. Please note that minimums are provided as minimums. Assignments that do not meet these minimum criteria will not pass. However, these are minimums, and assignments that simply meet these minimum criteria likely will not be assigned full credit.  

Step 5: Submit electronic files of both the final research paper and the html files or PowerPoint files to the instructor no later than November 13.


The following criteria will be used in evaluating the research paper and presentation.  

First- because we are a graduate level class in a University- it is appropriate that whatever discussion we have occurs at a reasonable level of intellectual engagement. To me, this means we go beyond our own experience and attempt to understand information from a "scientific perspective." Therefore, this project will require students to undertake some scholarly exploration to increase their own knowledge level. This will be demonstrated to the instructor by the completion of a research paper on a subject of your choice that is related to learning. To promote quality content, the paper must be the outgrowth of your reading and must cite at least 6 primary research articles published in reputable journals. Each paper should be between 8-12 pages in length and must conform to APA style. Assume that the paper is being submitted for publication, and follow the style guidelines for submitted manuscripts.  

Second- these papers will be presented on-line either as html files or PowerPoint presentations. Research suggests that simply re-presenting written materials on-line for learners to read as if they were reading an article or textbook is not efficient, and does not capitalize on the strengths of the Internet. Therefore, while I will receive a standard written paper, the on-line presentation will not simply be a conversion of the written text to html. Rather, your task in preparing the on-line presentation is to create a learning opportunity for your peers. Based on a solid piece of writing, this learning opportunity may go well beyond the written work by providing access to on-line materials, digitized multimedia, self-exams, or whatever materials or presentation format you believe will enhance the learning opportunity of others. In addition to the most salient points from your paper, I would encourage you to present additional materials that will aid your peers in using the information presented in their own professional lives as teaching professionals.  

If you choose, you may create a link between your on-line materials and a downloadable text file allowing peers access to your complete paper.  

Of the total 40 available points, up to 10 points will be assigned for the html/PowerPoint presentation. These points will be based on the assessed quality of the material presented. Of the remaining 30 points, 5 points will be assigned based upon the adherence to APA style as well as general editing. The remaining 25 points will be assigned based upon the quality of the writing, including development of ideas, integration of materials, balance of viewpoints presented, and reliance upon research.


Question: What if I work on this with another student in the class?

Answer: If the project is completed by a pair of students, than the completed project should clearly reflect the efforts of 2 people. One way to demonstrate this is to think about the amount of research materials used. If one person is expected to read a minimum of 6 research articles, than it may reasonably be assumed that 2 people will read 12 articles. Other parts of the project (overall length of the paper) may not double (there still will be only 1 title page, 1 abstract page, perhaps 1 bibliography page) but the bulk of the writing can reasonably be expected to contain more text.

Question: How much work should I really invest in this project?

Answer: This project is worth 40 points, which equals the total points achievable for 4 out of 9 weekly homework assignments. This strikes me as a substantial comparison and suggests the instructor has an expectation of some genuine effort in this area.