MLA Biography Research Paper
You will be writing a biography in your English class this year. This project should be
fun as it your choice what you choose to write about. The project will also teach you how to
research in the library and online, how to take notes on your materials, how to write a thesis
statement and organized paragraphs, how to cite sources used on a works cited page, and how
to give a speech about the topic you chose.
Topic: Since you are studying American history this year, you need to choose a deceased,
famous American who contributed something positive to society. Do not choose a topic you
have already written a paper about. All topics must be approved by Mrs. Hansen and your
parent/guardian. Make sure that the topic of your choice is something that you can actually find
substantial research about.
Research: We will be going to the library in class for one day. You must make the most of this
time. Check out a book on your topic first by looking in the computer. Then, go into the tech
lab and use the appropriate search engines to research your topics. Appropriate behavior is
always expected in the library, whether you are there with the class or if you are there on your
own time doing a project. If you do not complete your research while we are in the library,
you will need to go on your own time. The library is open during lunch and before and after
school. If you cannot find enough research on your topic, you can try the Butte County Library.
If you still cannot find enough information, you will need to change topics. As you research, be
sure to write down your sources. It’s smart to print them with your articles. If you use Groiler,
it will even cite them properly for you in MLA format.
Sources: You will need to use three sources while writing this paper.
1. A book
2. 2 Articles
Cornell Notes: After you have your three sources, you will take Cornell notes on your
information. You will need to have at least 6 subheadings and thorough notes taken in your
subheadings. This process of taking notes will be taught in class. You must take Cornell notes
and use this process. It will really help you write well written paragraphs. An example of
thorough Cornell notes is included in this packet. Save your notes and include them with your
final draft. You will receive points for each step.
Rough Draft: You will write a rough draft in class after you have finished your Cornell notes.
Mrs. Hansen will guide you through writing your introduction and how to construct your body
paragraphs with your research. You will have two peer editors before you start to type, an adult
and a classmate. As you are writing your rough draft, please skip lines as it helps the peer
editors write notes to you. You will include your rough draft behind your final draft so don’t
Paper: This paper will follow the precise MLA format. When you get into high school and
college, you will need to write all of your papers this way. Your final draft must be typed. Use
size twelve Times New Roman font. Double space your paper and have one inch margins. In
this packet, an MLA guide is provided. It is important you know how to set up your papers in
this exact way. Points will be deducted if you don’t present your paper in MLA. Please put
page numbers on all pages of your report with your last name before the number. (Insert, pages
numbers, top right). The final report must be presented in the following order:
1. MLA cover page
2. Biography Report
3. Works Cited Page
4. Rough Draft
5. Peer Edit Sheet
6. Cornell Notes
7. Facts Sheet
8. Thesis and Topic Sentence Worksheet
Cover: Do not add any pictures to your cover. It must look like the one on the front of this
packet, but with your information. Report covers can be used but are not necessary. Just
stapling your work together is fine.
Biography: Your biography will be a minimum of eight paragraphs long. The paper will have
an introduction, a conclusion, and six body paragraphs where the research is presented. Each of
these paragraphs needs to be written as shown in class. We will spend a lot of time discussing
thesis statements and topic sentences. Each paragraph in your paper will coincide with a
Cornell notes heading. If you follow instructions, this process should be very straightforward.
Please try to be in class everyday.
Typing: The final draft of your paper needs to be typed. You will also need to use the
computer to find research. If you do not have a computer at home, let Mrs. Hansen know.
There are several computers at Bidwell that are available for your use before school, after
school, and at lunch. There are also computers available at the Butte County Library. Plan your
time so you are able to type your paper.
Works Cited: The last page of your biography will contain a “Works Cited” page which is
similar to a bibliography where you cite your sources. If you do not cite your sources, this is
known as plagiarism. You must cite your sources using MLA format. As you are doing your
research, make sure you fill out all of the information about your sources on the facts sheet
included in this packet. When it is time to put your works cited page together, go to the
school’s library website. On that website is a link to something called a “citation maker”. This
site will help you put your sources into MLA format. You will just need to copy and paste the
finished citations into your report. You need to use at least three sources. If you use Groiler for
your encyclopedia and article, it has a great option in that it will show you exactly how to cite
you source in MLA. Click the link and copy.
Important Due Dates:
Topic Chosen: ________________________________
3 Sources: ____________________________________
Biography Facts Sheet:_____________________________
Cornell Notes Complete: _________________________
Thesis and Topic Sentence Worksheet:_______________
Rough Draft: ___________________________________
2 Peer Edits: ____________________________________
Final Draft: ____________________________________