Complete the KWL Forme for Argumental Research Paper

This is the start of your collection of data and analysis of data that will lead toward answering the research questions (reaching a thesis) and the development of the evidence (the analysis of the data collected). As you can see, writing the essay shows your thinking backward. In other words, the essay begins with the introduction of the thesis, which you arrived at last from the research. The evidence, which you arrived at from the first step — observation (the collection of data and analysis) then follows. The order of the evidence is nothing like the order it was collected. Some of the data you collected from your research may not make it to the final version of your research paper. The research paper is a journey in which the data reveals new insights the determine what you will include and exclude in your paper.

The KWL chart is part of the research methodology to help you make sense of that data. Some of you may be familiar with the KWL, but may not have used it as a research tool. Please follow the guidelines for collecting and analyzing your data so that you will have a completed research paper by the end of the course.

  • Topic: You must state your topic. For example, Immigration or Police Brutality (a topic is one word or a short phrase)
  • Research Question: What is the big question that you are asking about your topic? This narrows the scope of the topic.
  • “K”: What do you know about your topic already as it relates to your big question? Example: Think in your mind, [I know that] You then write: Recent events in the news have made the public more aware of police brutality toward black men.
  • W”: After you have written several statements about what you already know about your topic as it relates to your question, you are ready to question each of those statements for proof (evidence) of their validity. Example: Why do most police officers feel justified in using excessive force toward black men? Notice how this question relates to the “K” statement shown in the example. You might have several questions that pertain to that one statement.
  • “L”: This is the collection of data based on the questions. You are searching for evidence to respond to the questions asked. You will write a summary of the argument and/or evidence of the source and your analysis of the argument and/or evidence. You will document the source information following MLA style, and you will embed the links to the author’s name so that you can revisit the article and I can verify the source.
See the sample provided:

Steps Toward the Research Paper

Make sure to follow the lessons provided in this module and the following ones toward the completion of your research paper. This is merely an overview of the steps toward the research paper.

  • Arrive at a topic and research question
  • Use the KWL chart to brainstorm research, arrive at sub-questions, and collect researched sources
    • KWL Template (
    • KWL Sample Chart (
  • Collect data by using the SMC Library and Google Advanced Search 
  • Use the KWL chart to arrive at a thesis statement and outline for the research paper
  • Draft the research paper
  • Present a part of your research to the class


This is the data collection for your research paper. You will have several statements that lead into questions that lead into your research, as explained in the overview for this assignment.


        1. Complete the “L”  portion of the KWL Chart Template ( (In Google Docs, click on “File” and choose “Make a Copy” so that you have an editable copy of the template.)
        2. Arrive at “K” statements: Brainstorming what you know. You may also use the first, two articles you located that may have led you to some “What I know” statements. and arrive at “W” questions based on your “K” statements.
        3. Locate TWO (2) full text and Peer-Reviewed Scholarly articles.1 Use the SMC library database Academic Search Complete ( to locate the two articles.
        4. Use note-making strategies.
        5. Write a summary (“they say”) and analysis (“I say”) for each article (You’ve been practicing this the past two weeks).
        6. Include the parenthetical citation
        7. Proofread and edit
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