Creative writing made easier with the Research task pane

Creative writing

Applies to
Microsoft Office Word 2003

From the new Research task pane in Microsoft Office 2003, students can search for information, tools, and other services to develop a paper. In the case of nonfiction creative writing, for example, students in the fourth through sixth grades can choose a subject such as dinosaurs and then research it to develop a 200-word paper.

Students can stay productive without leaving their open documents as they quickly look up definitions, synonyms, and translations and then insert or copy the information into their documents (citing sources as appropriate).

And that's not all. In a classroom in which English is not the native language of many students, that same fourth, fifth, or sixth grader can get a quick document translation to facilitate learning across the classroom.

Here are the steps for how a paper on dinosaurs might unfold.

First things first: Get a definition

Two hundred words, double-spaced, runs about one page in Microsoft Office Word 2003. A page can fill up quickly. Each word must count, and it's a good idea for your students to start with a definition from the Microsoft Encarta® Dictionary.

To find a definition in the Encarta Dictionary
  1. On the Tools menu in Word, click Research. The Research task pane appears.
  2. In the Search for list in the Research task pane, select a dictionary. For example, click Encarta Dictionary: English (North America).
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To look up a single word in the document, press and hold ALT and click a word to look up.
    • To look up a phrase in the document, select the words and then press ALT and click the selection.
    • Type a word or phrase in the Search for box, and then click Start Searching Button image.

Results appear in the Research task pane.

Get the history: Know those dinosaurs

Next, students can use the Research task pane to look for key facts and especially interesting information to fill the body of the paper. In the Search for list, they can set the search scope to All Research Sites and search for "dinosaurs," or they can narrow it to look up information on one site.

The following example procedure shows how to research dinosaurs in the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia.

To research a topic in the Encarta Encyclopedia
  1. On the Tools menu, click Research. The Research task pane appears.
  2. In the Search for list in the Research task pane, select Encarta Encyclopedia: English (North America).
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To research a single word, press and hold ALT and click the word to look up.
    • To research a phrase, select the words, and then press ALT and click the selection.
    • Type a word or phrase in the Search for box, and then click Start Searching Button image.

Results appear in the Research task pane.

Finish, polish, and translate for maximum results

It's here — at the very end of the paper — that students can leave a lasting impression of their research skills and the paper as a whole. Students can summarize the information discussed, be humorous, or add a personal statement about how the facts affect them, which helps to explain their choice of subject.

Completing the final paragraph means that the first draft is done. But they're not finished — it's time to polish. Besides pressing F7 on the keyboard to check spelling and grammar, students can improve their papers by finding synonyms to replace words that they used more than twice.

To look up words in the thesaurus
  1. On the Tools menu, click Research.
  2. In the Search for list in the Research task pane, select Thesaurus.
  3. Press ALT and click the word to look up.

Results appear in the Research task pane.

  1. To use one of the words in the list of results, or to search for more words, do one of the following:
    • To use one of the words, point to it, click the arrow, and then click Insert or Copy.
    • To look up additional related words, click a word in the list of results.

Machine translations can be a terrific learning tool, both for the student who is writing the paper and for classmates who speak English as a second language.

To translate a paper into another language
  1. On the Tools menu, click Research.
  2. In the Search for list, select Translation.
  3. If this is the first time that translation services are being used on a given computer, click OK to install the bilingual dictionaries and to turn on the translation service through the Research task pane.
  4. To change the languages used for translation, in the Research task pane, under Translation, select the languages you want to translate from and to. For example, to translate English to French, click English (U.S.) in the From list and French (France) in the To list.

 Note   To customize which resources are used for translation, click Translation options, and then select the look-up options you want.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To translate a whole document, in the Research task pane, under Translation, click Translate whole document Button image. A translation of your document appears in your Web browser.
    • To translate a specific word, press ALT and click a word. The results appear under Translation in the Research task pane.
    • To translate a short sentence, select the words, and then press ALT and click the selection. The results appear in the Research task pane under Translation.
    • To translate a word or phrase, type the word or phrase in the Search for box, and then click Start Searching Button image.

More research links

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003