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Research Basics for Junior and Senior High School Students: Getting Started - Essay Type & Topic

This guide will help Junior and Senior High School students understand the research process, identify scholarly sources, create a reference page, take notes, and more!

Research Basics for 2023

The 2023 five-week Research Workshop is finished, but look for it again in 2024. 

In this interactive workshop, ideal for 7th - 12th grade students, participants will learn steps for writing a research paper: Sessions include how to:

  • choose a topic of interest
  • gather useful print and digital information
  • find and evaluate resources, compile a bibliography, and begin note taking
  • organize information, learn sources for writing, and options for presentations

By the end of this workshop, students will have the tools, skills and confidence to write an amazing paper!  

Attendance at all 5 sessions strongly encouraged. 

Types of Essays

Narrative Essays: Telling a Story 
In a narrative essay, the writer tells a story about a real-life experience. When writing a narrative essay, writers should try to involve the reader by making the story as vivid as possible.

Descriptive Essays: Painting a Picture 
descriptive essay paints a picture with words. A writer might describe a person, place, object, or even memory of special significance. The descriptive essay strives to communicate a deeper meaning through the description. 

Expository Essays: Just the Facts 
The expository essay is an informative piece of writing that presents a balanced analysis of a topic. In an expository essay, the writer explains or defines a topic, using facts, statistics, and examples. 

Persuasive Essays: Convince Me 
While like an expository essay in its presentation of facts, the goal of the persuasive essay is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or recommendation. The writer must build a case using facts and logic, as well as examples, expert opinion, and sound reasoning. 

Source:, Types of Essays: End the Confusion. 

Check it out!

The Research Process

Chosing your topic is research

Step One: Choose a topic 

1) Choose a topic of interest as you will be spending a lot of time with it

2) Test your topic against the research: is the topic to broad (overwhelming information) or to narrow (not enough information)

3) Tweek your topic (broaden or narrow as needed)

Before choosing a topic, watch - Picking your topic is research NCSU Libraries 

Slides from 7th-12th Grade Research Skills and Writing Workshop