Research essay

Topic: Students will identify a topic they intend to investigate in some detail.

Citations: You are to discuss an environmental issue by examining AND citing at least FIVE (5) academic (scholarly) journal articles or books on the subject. Scholarly journals and books almost always feature references (notes or literature cited) at the end of the article or bottom of each page. You may use newspapers or magazine articles to help provide crucial facts and you may cite them in your paper—but you must cite 5 additional scholarly journal articles or books. Ten newspapers or magazine articles will not cut it! Web sites will NOT be counted toward the minimum requirement of 5 scholarly citations. If you are not sure if a source will count toward the minimum requirement of 5 scholarly sources, please ask!

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Feel free to quote from your sources, but do not get carried away. As a general rule, do not attempt to weave in more than two quotes per page. Quotes are NOT required, but if you do quote, cite the page number in your text as authors do for quotations in the journal you are using as your model. Furthermore, you should give credit to other authors for all ideas that are not common knowledge—even if you do not quote them directly. For example, it is acceptable to say that Marjory Stoneman Douglas pushed tirelessly for Everglades conservation after the publication of her 1947 book Everglades: River of Grass. This is widely understood and you need not cite an author on this idea. But if you mention details associated with Marjory’s work with her father at the Miami Herald, you should cite the author who called attention to these details in the first place. If you fail to give credit to other writers for what they have discovered, you are likely guilty of plagiarism, a serious academic offense that can lead to a failing grade on this assignment AND for the entire course. When in doubt, please ask!

Due Date: Your final paper should be submitted in Canvas as a word document (double spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font), by 6:00 pm on Tuesday, 24 Nov. (There will be a penalty of 10 points for each day, after the deadline, that your paper is late. Papers submitted five (5) days after the deadline will not be accepted.)

Format and Content: Your paper should consist of the following:

1) Cover sheet with your name, the title of your paper, and date (you may use larger font).

2) Introduction to your topic (about one full page) in which you spell out your thesis and what you intend to examine in your paper. Generalize about what you have learned as a result of this exercise and tell me why it matters—why is this topic important? Why should I keep reading? Convince me that I should keep reading and not just give up.

3) Next, prepare an analysis section in which you use your cited materials to help me understand what you have learned and why you now have the perspective you have. This cannot be a simple listing of facts (although facts probably should be woven into your narrative). Nor is this supposed to be merely an opinion piece (although feel free to support your perspective on issues with facts). How solid are your sources? Are your sources making claims without providing much evidence? If so, I’d be careful about leaning on them too heavily. This section should be no less than 5 full pages (not 4 pages plus one line on the 5th page!). If you are going on for more than 10 pages in this section, you are going overboard for this assignment.

4) Write a summary of your major findings (roughly one page). In this section, tell the most important things to know about this topic.

5) Finally, use the APA style citation. Please list in references cited page (or two) all of the sources you reference in the text of your paper (scholarly journal articles and otherwise). List only those references cited in your text (not just “interesting things you read”).

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