Guidelines: Writing a Personal Research Report
Open your discussion about personal research reports with a quotation from Lu Po Hua: "Where there is curiosity, a mouse may be caught." Ask students what they think the quote means and how it relates to research writing. Then provide them with some context about the form.
As the name suggests, a personal research report combines elements of personal and report writing by presenting the writer’s experience of researching a personally important topic. It is a less formal version of a traditional research paper, but that doesn't mean it is any less rigorous. Students need to use their best research skills, including exploring experiences, remembering, interviewing, and observing.
Before reviewing the writing guidelines, suggest the following strategies:
- Approach your research as a quest. The topic must be personally important, one rooted in a deep curiosity or concern.
- Strive to use primary sources for your research—experiences, memories, observations, interviews, surveys, even experiments. Secondary or tertiary research should supplement this primary research.
- Focus on the research journey, pointing out discoveries made along the way.
If you don't have a general topic idea in mind for students' reports, suggest one of the following topics:
- An illness, a fear, a disability, a social attitude, a weakness, a memory, or a loss that has affected the student's life or development
- An element of local history—the origins, development, and future of the student's neighborhood, city, or county