Brenda Rhyne Portfolio


Course Name

Together Step by STEP: A Collaborative Approach for Writing a Research Paper

Needs Assessment

Statement of Intent

The intention of this course, "Together Step by STEP: A Collaborative Approach for Writing a Research Paper" is to equip teachers with strategies to assist students with writing a research paper. Through personal struggles as an adult learner coupled with my encounters with those conducting scholarly research, I became aware of the seemingly insurmountable challenges that writing presents for many students.

It was often difficult for students in my class to select a topic and construct the paper. Conversing with individuals, I learned they had great ideas, but were timid about sharing them as some students had not developed their own literary voice.

According to numerous studies conducted, one of the best methods to facilitate student engagement involves assigning projects to students within the context of learning communities. So then, the intent of this mini-course is to provide teachers with strategies to use to encourage students to write and discover their literary voice by writing and constructing a research paper as a project in a collaborative environment.

Gathering Data on Teachers' and Students' Needs

Data gathered during this phase of the needs assessment was derived from two primary sources: 1) personal interviews, and 2) results obtained from graded research papers submitted by freshman college students. These preliminary findings are summarized below.

Personal Interviews

Interviews occurred across a wide geographical area ranging from Rochester, New York to Huntsville, Alabama. The primary question posed was: "What do you find challenging about writing a research paper?". Respondents provided the following answers: 1) choosing a topic, 2) concerns about grammar, 3) not finding enough information, 4) spending a significant amount of time searching for materials, 5)Writing the paper, 6) Organizing the paper.

Data Gathered From Students' Research Papers

As an adjunct college instructor, I taught a class that many students dreaded! The primary reason for this was because each student was required to write a research paper. For most students, this would be their first college writing assignment. As a new teacher, I enthusiastically taught the course. However, I soon learned that over 70% of the class would benefit by acquiring greater knowledge concerning the following: 1) transitional phrases 2)paraphrasing, and 3) grammar. In addition students needed to know how to 4) draw personal conclusions, 5) identify the parts of the research paper, 6) write a strong introduction, conclusion, and 7) construct a bibliography.

Types of Learners

The learners in this course are high school and college teachers who instruct a variety of courses. These educators are not seek alternative strategies to assist students with the process of writing a research paper.

Instructional Context

Self-paced instructional online units are utilized which may be completed individually or within a group. When possible, it is recommended to review the content in a group setting. Such an environment allows for collaboration and generation of new ideas.

Instructional Problem and Solution

Unit 1:Establishing the Learning Commmunity

  • Strategies to Formulate a Learning Community
  • Select a digital tool to build an online Learning Community

Unit 2: Grammar Builder

  • Paraphrasing

Unit 3:Search

  • Select a Topic
  • Search for Materials

Unit 4:Transpose

  • Move materials from one location to another
  • Strategies to organize the research paper project in the wiki

Unit 5:Extract

  • Identify what is meaningful and relevant
  • Pull out materials you plan to use

Unit 6:Prepare

  • Parts of the Research Paper
  • Write First Draft of Paper


  • Teachers learn to apply the strategies presented within their unique classroom environments.

Task Analysis


In this course participants will learn strategies that will help them assist students as they write their first research paper.

End of Course Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify strategies for conducting academic research.

Performance Objectives

  • Participants will identify and implement a strategy(ies) to establish a learning community.
  • Participants will identify and utilize strategies to develop their own grammar building activities.
  • Participants will identify motivational factors that affect students’ research.
  • Participants will identify search strategies and create a wiki.
  • Participants will identify text to be used in the research paper and employ computer skills to move it to another doc.
  • Participants will identify methods used to prepare the first draft of the paper.

Essential Prerequisites

  • The participant must possess basic computer literacy skills.
  • Experience using a word processing application is required
  • The ability to work independently or in a group
  • Prior teaching experience

Supportive Prerequisites

  • The ability to articulate one's thoughts clearly--both verbally and in writing
  • Demonstrated ability to lead or implement new teaching strategies

Curriculum Map

View curriculum map -- Media:brhyne_cm2.pdf


Ballenger, B. (2004). The Curious Researcher A Guide to Writing Research Papers. New York, NY: Pearson Longman.

Berry, R. (2000). Research Project: How to Write It. Florence, KY: Routledge.

Burke-Young, F., & Maley, S. (1997).The Research Guide for the Digital Age. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc.

Chastain, E. (2006). How to Write a Research Paper. New York, NY: Spark Publishing.

Coyle, W. (1990).The Macmillian Guide to Writing Research Papers, New York, NY: Macmillian Publishing Company.

Lester, J. & Lester, J., Jr. (2011). Principles of Writing Research Papers. Boston, MA: Longman.

Pearl, A. (1976). Research Papers: A Beginner's Manual. Cambridge, MA: Winthrop Publishers, Inc.

Pecorari, D. (2010). Academic Writing and Plagiarism: A Linguistic Analysis. London, GBR: Continuum International Publishing.

West J. & West M. (2009). Using Wikis for Online Collaboration The Power of the Read-Write Web. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.