Writing the Research Paper

From: $90.00 / month for 5 months

Grades: 10th–12th (others by permission of instructor)

Live Class:  Thurs 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET

Dates:  Jan 2–Apr 28

Price: $399

Instructor: Debra Bell

Enrollment in this class is currently closed.

Course Description

(Seating is limited. Students need to be able to attend the live classes, be willing to keep their cameras on during class, and want to contribute to a community of scholars who support one another. It also helps to have a sense of humor or to at least be willing to pretend that they find the teacher funny.)

Learn to write a research paper in this sixteen-week live course taught by Aim Academy executive director, Dr. Debra Bell. Students will also learn about their amazing teenage brain as I model each step of the research writing process using this topic. (Please see the Required Texts tab for course resources.)

Students are welcome to then write their research paper based on the amazing teenage brain, making use of the resources provided. Or, students are welcome to use the model research paper as a springboard for their own research on another topic of interest.

An added benefit of this class is that students will learn to think more deeply and critically about what they read and hear.

This course is personalized. Students without any research writing experience and those who have completed a research paper in the past will find this course highly engaging and challenging. Together, Dr. Bell and the student will agree on the scope and standards of the final project: A research paper on a topic of deep personal interest to them. Some might write a simple paper of less than 10 pages, while others may produce a 20 page paper to include in their college application portfolio.

Research writing is a necessary skill for the collegebound student–students will be ready to hit the ground running in their future college courses with this superpower at their command.

Here are some of the skills students will develop:

  • How to engage in thoughtful, respectful academic debate.
  • How to craft a killer thesis statement.
  • How to find credible sources and detect bias.
  • How to summarize, analyze, and synthesize research.
  • How to add their own critical thinking, insights, and personal experiences to their writing.
  • How to organize their thoughts and the writing of others into a paper readers want to read!
  • How to choose and write for an audience.
  • How to present research at a mock academic conference (friends and families invited!)

Course Structure

The weekly 1 hr. live class will be lively, interactive, and valuable. I count on students to actively engage and participate in helping everyone in their cohort achieve a successful outcome.   The live class is supported by resources and assignments posted in Canvas. Students will need to sign into the course website regularly to participate in discussions, download reading material, and interact with me on their progress toward their personal goals for the course.

Who should enroll?

This class is designed for 10th-12th grade students who are collegebound, able to attend the live classes, and willing to learn. Others by permission of the instructor. Students do not have to be accomplished writers–I am up for students at all levels as long as they want to learn how to write and think better. Some of the reading in this course will be challenging because it will be academic research. I will show students how to take this kind of writing apart and make sense of things.

Students should be willing to commit at least 4 hrs a week to their success in this course in the early stages and up to 6 hrs a week during the drafting, revising, and finalizing stages.

Technology Requirements

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Web cam, sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures

Evaluation and Feedback

I will be available for video calls on request during the course. Students who engage me will find me highly engaged with them–but I want students to take the initiative. I respond quickly to emails, with the exception of Sundays. (I need at least one day a week away from the digital world!)

Students will receive individualized feedback on each step of the research writing process prior to submitting a final paper, as well as a grade and feedback on the final product. They will also practice presenting, discussing, and answering questions about their research in a digital academic conference on the last day of class.

Students will receive feedback via Canvas, and each student will have at least one session of one-on-one, face-to-face feedback in advance of the final submission.


Parent support is essential to success in this class, and I welcome any questions parents have throughout the class. Parents and families are welcome to contact me before registering at [email protected] and new registrants will receive a welcome email with additional startup information.

Required Texts

Attack of the Teenage Brain! by John Medina (required)

MLA Handbook, 9th edition (recommended)



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