Formatting Guide for an I-Search Paper

I-Search papers are a type of research paper that are personal to the writer and based on a topic the writer thinks is important. Papers of this type are not usually as formal as conventional research papers. Rather, they relate the story of a piece of personal research the writer has done i.e. the writer’s personal quest for information. They additionally describe what the paper’s writer has learned or found out about their topic of research. The following format or framework is the structure that is used in a lot of I-Search papers. 

The Story of Your Search

  • Get your readers hooked as early as possible. Try and get the attention of your readers. Beginning with an attention-grabbing opener is much more likely to get readers to start caring about the topic you are telling them about. Explain to readers why you felt it was important to learn more about this topic. 

Tell readers what you previously knew of the topic

  • Let your readers know what you already knew or understood about the topic before you began researching it. Do this in relatively brief terms.  

Explain what it was you wanted to learn about the topic

  • Let readers know what you hoped to learn from your study and why you wanted to learn this. Say why this topic has special importance or significance for you, and tell readers what motivated you to start searching for information about it.    
  • Develop a thesis statement for inclusion in your paper.
  • Describe the steps you took. Create a statement out of your research question based on the investigation you did. 
  • Go back over the steps you followed during your research .
  • Retrace the steps you took. Tell your readers about the sources you used – how and where they were found and why you chose them.

The Results of Your Search

  • Describe your search experience and its significance.
  • Talk about the results of your search and support these results.Describe what your research found. Devote a single paragraph (at least) to each important research result. Use quotations, paraphrasing, and information summaries from your sources.
  • Reiterate your central thesis.

Reflect on Your Search

  • Reflect on the research you did and describe the most significant results.
  • While reflecting, you should describe what you found out or learned and discuss how the experience of this research may have altered your views, especially any long-term changes it may have had on you. Here, you should additionally recap on your essay’s thesis and remind your readers what it set out to prove/achieve.

Your findings should be supported with evidence.