Robert M. Schwartz
The drive of this curricular unit is to have students embark on the study of pictures; then, the study of pictures as a means to navigate information in modern technology; and ultimately, the use of that skill set to conduct research for and design a research project. Students are often daunted by the prospect of forming their own ideas based on research, and the hope is that making it image-based will ease that trepidation. The idea that they can design a comic book or graphic novel-style work to present researched assertions may appeal to many more artistic students, and even those who are not as artistic can utilize found images to express their ideas.
Rubrics are an effective and even imperative tool in today's classroom. Teachers may wish to include one if implementing the graphic research paper in their classrooms. For my purposes, I will be including parameters for a Visual Thesis Statement (outlined further below in "Classroom Activities"), appropriate length, number of pictures or panels that should be used as well as how words should be limited (the project is, after-all, meant to be picture-focused while still presenting the appropriate thought and research), appropriate citations (including the use of researched images if students are using images to present information rather than creating them), and any number of appropriate research considerations.
Possible activities surrounding the Graphic Research Paper are outlined further in the Classroom Activities section.