Over the last years I have begun to really encourage the integration of quantitative information into the research paper. I believe that, by considering the numeric side of a topic, it really rounds out the information that is provided to the reader.
First, we teach students how and where to locate statistics. During this process, we have begun to ask most classes to create an Infographic that aligns with their research. (here is the InfographicsRubric) We decided to do this after being inspired by Allison Burley
Second, we teach the students formally how to write with statistics. My writing rules are basically to turn a graph/chart into text which, in a formula, would consist of three sentences (and synthesize naturally and properly into the flow and transition of the information provided in the body of the text):
Sentence 1: Write a sentence which makes the reader care about the statistic (develop the human aspect/story of the number which you will present)
2. Provide the number in a digestible format to allow for seamless reading/comprehension (ideally two ways: example 8.3 million, or 76% of the population)
3. Offer your reader context to compare the number to either another number (statistic from previous year) or to something that they are familiar with (the country is the size of Texas OR the death toll was similar to the death toll during 9/11)
By asking students to intentionally locate quantitative information which supports their thesis statement, students who are researching will begin to lay the groundwork in preparation for college –level writing. It also helps broaden the research process making them more intentional than haphazard.
Here is the page for statistics on our Google Site
Geralt. “Statistics Chart Graphic Bar Symbol Arrow.” Pixabay. N.p., 29 Jan. 2013. Web. 7 Apr. 2014. <http://pixabay.com/en/