- Provide students with an opportunity to write
professionally in the way that geologists, environmental scientists, engineers
etc. write when they prepare a report, grant proposal, etc. that will be
read primarily by other professionals.
This implies using more than just web-search information, although
a growing amount of research is being made available through primarily
on-line sources. Students enrolled
in the class from other science or engineering majors, such as Civil &
Environmental Engineering, can use the style of referencing etc. that you
may already know about in your own major.
- Provide an opportunity for revision and improvement
of the document.
- Practice avoiding plagiarism and citing references
appropriately. It is permissible to
include short quotes from a reference if you set if off with quotations
and cite the reference (“dinosaurs are really out there”, R. Bailey, 2006,
personal communication) in the body of the text. If you use a detail from a reference
source in your paper, you usually will want to cite the source of the
information within the sentence, as in: The highest gold values in the
placer gravels occur in the material that rests directly on the bedrock
(Kral, 1951). I would cite Kral’s
reference in the Bibliography as follows:
Kral, V.E., 1951, Mineral resources of
Nye County, Nevada: Nevada Univ. Bull., v.45, no.3, Geology and Mining Ser. No.
Scope of project.
- 5 pages or more of double-spaced text with normal
margins and (say) 12-point typeface.
“Text” does not include a mostly blank title page, or the reference
list, or any figures. You may
include as many figures and/or data tables as makes sense to the project;
refer to each one as Table 1, Table 2… and Figure 1, Figure 2… and cite
the reference for each one.
Due Date. Hand in no later
than April 15, 2014
- Most students will probably prefer to use this as an
opportunity to explore an area of interest by doing background reading on
a concept relating to the Earth Materials concepts we’ve discussed as a
way to approach this project. This
involves picking a topic (see end of handout for some examples that might
get you started); doing some easy-background surveying on-line; going to
the library to consult peer-reviewed research reports in journals or “gov
docs” – EPA reports, US Geological Survey Bulletins, etc.; and writing a
10-page summary of what you think are important points relating to the
- Some students might like to write a 10-page (what-if)
grant proposal, by downloading a blank form from the National Science
Foundation or other funding agency, instead.
Sections to include for
Research Paper and/or Grant Proposal format (in order).
- Title page with title, your name, ENVR 2310 Earth
- Abstract – you write this last, as a short (1
paragraph is fine) synopsis of what you’ve found out and what points you
want the audience to take away.
- Introduction – background information on the
- “Main body” consisting of organized section(s)
summarizing specific aspects of the problem you’re focusing on, with
appropriate headings that will vary depending on the project’s
focus. In a typical science
article in a peer-reviewed journal, you will find a “Data” section in
this spot – people try to separate the data they obtain/observations
they’ve made, from a following section called “Interpretation” or “Conclusions”,
which represents the author’s attempt to interpret the
data/observations. That structure
won’t apply to all or perhaps many papers for Earth Materials (you will
probably not be obtaining your own data, for example), but watch for it
in the articles you read in peer-reviewed journals and “gov docs” of
Figures/Tables: You can
either put figures and tables into the body of the text as you go along,
or keep them separate at the end in sections headed “Figures” and/or
“Tables”. Put citations to
specific reference sources into the body of your text.
- Summary – your opportunity to remind the audience
what (you hope) they should be taking away from the report; your view of
the overall significance, etc.
- Bibliography or Reference List – use the Geological
Society of America style of reference citation unless you have another
system (Engineering?) in mind. Although you may accumulate dozens of
references, only list in the Bibliography ones that you actually refer to
in the body of the text somewhere.
- Budget and plan of research section (if you are
doing a grant proposal approach).
Your organization may be different if doing a grant proposal –
follow guidelines of the grant agency in organizing your work.
References. Your reference list must include two
or more peer-reviewed references:
references – “Peer review” is a
process in which researchers write a draft copy of a paper summarizing the
results of an investigation, and submit it to a journal that forwards the
draft copy to other scholars to review and criticize. Often, the journal’s reviewers will
recommend a few or many changes, and the editor forwards these to the
person who wrote the article, summarizing the feedback while protecting
the privacy of the people who did the reviews. Assuming that none of the reviews
identified fatal flaws in the approach, the scholar responds by revising
the paper, and resubmits a revised copy to the editor. This approach is intended to ensure that
articles that are published have a high probability of not containing
errors in logic or method of approach.
- Petrology (brings up Journal of Sedimentary
Petrology; Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology; Journal of
Petrology; Elements; Journal of Sedimentary Research; etc.)
up The American Mineralogist; etc.)
geology(brings up Environmental Geology; Environmental Geology and
Water Sciences; Environmental Geosciences; etc.)
up Bulletin of Volcanology; Bulletin Volcanologique; etc.)
monographs (books) on minerals groups or
igneous-sedimentary-metamorphic processes such as feldspars, granite,
gemstones, etc. Use the library’s on-line
catalog to do keyword searches on topics you are interested in. Often, books will have gone through a
peer-review process that may be as rigorous as the one for peer-reviewed
journal articles, but there are “vanity presses” that will publish
anything as long as the author can afford to pay the printing costs.
provide useful background on some topics, but these are never considered
“primary” sources of information, as peer-reviewed articles and monographs
- On-line sources
include information that are fairly or completely accurate, as well as
some things that are clearly (to me) untrue - there is some very quirky
information out there about how old the earliest plutons are in the Sierra
Nevada batholith, for example. Most
scholars tend to distrust information from on-line references because
there is nothing like the peer-review mechanism (usually) that weeds out
the most egregious misinformation, and while people with a lot of
experience can spot errors, people with less experience can’t tell as
easily what is accurate and what is not.
You may include some on-line references, but any textbooks or
on-line sources should be out-numbered by peer-reviewed journal articles
or monographs, as outlined above.
Grading rubric for the paper: A “rubric” is an outline showing where the
points will be coming from; if you want to start with a 90 instead of 100%,
turn in less than 5 text pages – see the second bullet below. Some of the points are trivial – hit 5 pages
or more and you get all 10 of the “5 pages or more” points; leave out the
abstract and you lose 2 points; but other categories are substantive.
- Topic and scope of paper appropriate to the course
- Text is 5 pages or more (not counting title page,
figures or references) with margins and point size as outlined above (10
- There is a cover page with the required information,
abstract, “main body” with discussion, a conclusion, and a reference list
or bibliography (2 pts. each = 10 pts.).
- The reference list/bibliography contains some
peer-reviewed references, and the total number of peer-reviewed journal
references + monograph references (if any) outnumbers the total number of
non-peer-reviewed references (10 pts.)
- All references in your reference list are referred to
in the body of the paper (i.e., no padding of the bibliography). (10 pts.)
- Figures and Tables (if used) are each referred to in
the body of your text, and are numbered sequentially starting at Figure 1,
or Table 1. (OK to leave on the
original figure numbers or table numbers, just number them in sequence for
your paper.) You can either scan
figures or tables in and insert them into your paper as jpegs, or attach
separate Xeroxed copy that you have neatly handwritten the figure or table
numbers on. (5 pts.)
- Neatness, grammar points (15 pts.)
- Your paper makes geologic/earth-science “sense” – you
have made a clear point in your paper, that is well supported by evidence
appropriate to the course. (30 pts.)
- Total = 100 pts.