I am not a science major and need help to finish this paper as soon as possible!
- 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:
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 topic.
- 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 Materials, date
- 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 problem.
- “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 various kinds. 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:
- Peer-reviewed 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.)
- Mineralogy(brings up The American Mineralogist; etc.)
- Environmental geology(brings up Environmental Geology; Environmental Geology and Water Sciences; Environmental Geosciences; etc.)
- Volcanology(brings up Bulletin of Volcanology; Bulletin Volcanologique; etc.)
- Published 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.
- Textbookscan provide useful background on some topics, but these are never considered “primary” sources of information, as peer-reviewed articles and monographs are.
- 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 (10 pts.)
- Text is 5 pages or more (not counting title page, figures or references) with margins and point size as outlined above (10 pts.)
- 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.