How to Write a High School Research Paper?

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love


One of the most challenging requirements in high school is writing a research paper. As much as you want to avoid it, you can’t because you will not graduate without submitting your research paper. Instead of getting disappointed about it, you can learn the steps in writing a research paper. In this manner, you will not only finish high school, but it will also prepare you for a more complicated and advanced research paper in college.

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered because, at the end of this article, you will be able to learn how to write a high school research paper.

What is a Research Paper in High School?What is a Research Paper in High School?

First, let us determine what a research paper in high school is and what makes it essential. A research paper requires you to thoroughly investigate a particular issue or problem using a scientific method. It is like writing an essay with four parts: Introduction, Body, Conclusion, and References.

There are many purposes as to why research papers are required in high school. Primarily, it teaches the high school students to:

  • apply the different styles in writing
  • be prepared for colleges’ more complicated research papers
  • analyze the issue or problem
  • determine the validity of source/s
  • gather important and relevant information that may support the paper
  • be trained about the importance of not plagiarizing any other research papers
  • organized the ideas through a systematic method

What are the Parts of a Research Paper?

What are the Parts of a Research Paper?

A research paper usually begins with a hypothetical guess or a thesis statement. From there, you will conduct your research or investigate your chosen topic. Since it is done in a systematic method, a high school research paper format comes with the following parts:


The first part of your paper is the title or topic. Some teachers may assign a topic to you. However, other teachers let you choose the topic that you find interesting.

Example: Combating Air Pollution


In the introduction, you will elaborate on the problem you want to study and identify the gaps that make this study significant. Specifically, you may begin with the definition of your topic, the significance of the study, the definition of terms, and the scope and limitations.


  • Definition of combating air pollution
  • Significance of the study
  • Scope and limitation


The body is the part where you prove your thesis statement by explaining the findings of your study and your literature readings. To support your statement, you can cite other research sources and present the data you have gathered.


  • Causes of air pollution
  • Effects of air pollution
  • World’s condition with air pollution
  • Ways of combating air pollution


In this section, you will discuss your findings and their significance to society or the relevant field. Thus, this part will help you evaluate the study’s results and whether there is still a need for further research on this topic.


This part is where you can place your sources and other related works of literature. It will guide the readers on where they can check your citations. Your teacher may explain what reference style you will use in your research paper. The several reference styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

31 Common Research Paper Topics for High School

31 Common Research Paper Topics for High School

Choosing the right research topic can be challenging. As mentioned above, your teacher may assign you a specific topic to research on. However, other teachers may let you choose the topic of your choice. Here’s a list of high school research paper topics:

Current World Issues

  • COVID-19
  • Global warming and Climate change
  • Poverty
  • International conflicts (war)
  • Gender equality
  • The Dos and Don’ts of social media usage


  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Mental Health (e.g., Suicide and Depression)
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Physical Health (e.g., Diabetes and Hypertension)
  • Substance abuse


  • Ecotourism and biodiversity
  • Pollution and waste management
  • Water purification and treatment
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Sound pollution and its effects


  • Development of vaccines
  • Cloning
  • Atomic energy
  • Biomedical products and engineering
  • Drug discovery and development


  • Standardized testing
  • Mandatory vaccination for high school students
  • Online learning versus classroom instructions
  • The effects of video games on studying
  • Self-esteem of high school students
  • School Bullying
  • Digital literacy
  • Foreign language in school

8 Easy Steps to Write a Well Structured Research Paper

8 Easy Steps to Write a Well Structured Research Paper

Do not let the requirement of writing a research paper ruin your good day. There are easy steps you can follow in coming up with a good research paper, and they are enumerated below:

Do all the necessary preparation

A successful high school research paper depends on your preparation. You may follow the checklist below on how and what to prepare:

Have good time managementAs soon as you receive the instructions from your teacher, start immediately. The research paper is probably not the only requirement you need to accomplish, so you must not waste your time.

It is not advisable to start late because you may not develop a good research paper. Some teachers will not accept your output unless you revise it. As a result, you may either get a failure or a low score.

Know the instructions. Before you start, make sure you jot down all the guidelines from your teacher regarding how you should write your paper.

For example, you must know if you need to write your references in MLA or APA style and what specific edition.

You must also find the layout instructions, such as the font size, font style, paper size, margin, number of pages, and the submission deadline.

Knowing all this information guides you on what to do and how to do it.

Choose the best topic for you. If you can choose the topic, you may select it according to several factors.

Is it the topic you want to study? If you love your topic, research may be an exciting task instead of a burden.

Is it relevant to today’s issues and concerns? It is interesting if the topic is about the modern problems humanity faces.

Does it come with a lot of related works of literature? When your topic has a lot of associated studies, you will find it easy to support your thesis statement.

Do the research

After all the necessary preparation, you can start with your research.

Read, read, and read. When you do your research, you must read a lot. That’s why if you are already a reader, you may not find it difficult to do the research.

Use good sources. Although you may search online for related studies, make sure it comes from a reliable source. Do not trust websites with articles that are not evidence-based or research-based, such as blog sites.

You may refer to Google scholarly and other reliable research articles and journal websites such as Research gate, PubMed, JSTOR, Sage, Proquest, Elsevier, and many more.

It would also be best to visit your library, look, and read books related to your study. Just be sure to keep track of them so that you can include them in your references.

Conduct an interview. You can also create a good research paper if you interview and gather information from real people. For example, if your topic is about teenage pregnancy, you can collect helpful information about the life experience of a young lady, a teenage mom. Just make sure to properly cite and explain your findings in the body of the paper.

Make your thesis statement

Writing a thesis statement is vital because it gives an idea to the reader of what the topic is all about. However, many high school students often commit mistakes in writing the thesis statement.

Writing your thesis statement must be brief, concise, and direct to the point. It must instantly capture the main argument and provide supporting statements.


  • It is difficult for a teenager to become a mother because she will have limited choices in her life. Thus, there should be strong information dissemination about sex education, the consequences of teenage pregnancy, and why abstinence is necessary.

Make an outline

It would be easy for you if you created an outline of your research paper after making your thesis statement. You may follow the example high school research paper outline:

Title: Teenage Pregnancy


  • Definition of teenage pregnancy
  • Worldwide and local statistics of the incidence
  • Significance of the study
  • Scope and limitation


  • Effects of teenage pregnancy
  • Teenage pregnancy risks
  • Teenage pregnancy diagnosis
  • Teenage pregnancy health risk prevention
  • Teenage pregnancy prevention



Write your discussion comprehensively

Now you know what to write; you can begin your discussion. When writing, do not forget to always support your findings by citing related references. Avoid using “I,” “Me,” and “My” unless it is a personal experience or opinion. Make your work easy to read and understand. Use appropriate words. You may refer to many tools online to have complete sentences and paragraphs. Most importantly, always state facts only. That’s why you ensure that your citations are credible.

Most importantly, do not plagiarize your work. You must write unique content. There is a lot of software online that can check if you have just copied your sentences or not.

Make your conclusion brief and concise

Your conclusion should summarize your findings and discussions. You may also include relevant and significant results. It must be direct to the point but something your reader will not forget.

Include all the references and follow the specific format

Writing your references can be a daunting task, mainly if you will manually list your references. However, some websites can help you generate your citations. Make sure to list your references alphabetically. Do not forget to document everything so your output will not plagiarize.

Proofread your paper

A reliable paper is also grammar error-free. You may use tools online, such as Grammarly, to check your article for grammar. However, it would help if you also had a strong foundation for writing an error-free grammar paper. You may keep on reading your paper to ensure that everything is correct.

How Long Should a Research Paper Be for High School?

How Long Should a Research Paper Be for High School?

Do you have a question about how long a research paper should be for high school? If you are unaware, you may bombard your teachers with a very long research paper.

Ideally, the research paper for high school should be 5-10 pages long. However, this is determined based instruction of your teacher. The length of your research paper can also be based on the following factors:

  • Research topic
  • The complexity of the topic and subtopic
  • Depth of findings
  • The profoundness of discussion and conclusion
  • The number of cited references or sources

If you are dedicated to working on your paper, you will finish in less than a week. Just make sure to submit it on time or before the deadline set by your teacher.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Write a High School Research Paper?

Indeed, writing a research paper is not a bed of roses. It is challenging, especially for a high school student like you. However, you will make it with hard work and commitment to achieve your goals and graduate from high school.

Just follow the steps in writing a research paper, which is the following:

  • Do all the necessary preparation.
  • Do the research.
  • Make your thesis statement.
  • Make an outline.
  • Write your discussion comprehensively.
  • Make your conclusion brief and concise.
  • Include all the references and follow the specific format.
  • Proofread your paper.

Lastly, it would be best if you consider writing a research paper a positive way to learn and be ready for college!

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!


Readers of this post also read...

A Guide to Effective Study Group Strategies

A Guide to Effective Study Group Strategies

Perhaps you have exams coming up and you’re considering studying with your friends but aren’t sure how to kick things off. Crafting the ultimate study group involves making sure that the time you spend together...

Read More