Introduction To Earth Science Research Paper

Earth Science Research Assignment
Introduction to Earth Science
Fall 2020

Assignment description:

In scientific writing, researchers interpret and draw conclusions based on the research literature from scientific articles. The advantage of this literature is that it is rather objective, unbiased, and in many cases, provides directions for practical applications. For this assignment you are asked to write a 5-page research paper based on the scientific literature. Specifically, you will synthesize research from the scientific literature, and draw conclusions based on your research.  This assignment provides an opportunity for you to explore an area of interest in Earth science research in greater depth than time allows in our course.

Earth Science Research


Please use the resources available at our library. Information on College level research papers can be found here:

Start with something you are interested in, the topic is open as long as it focuses on a topic related to Earth science research. Here is a list of potential topics if you are looking for inspiration:

  • Meteorology and weather prediction
  • Climate change
  • Deep-Sea Mining: Implications and potential
  • California droughts and climate change
  • Earthquakes
  • Hydroelectricity: Limitations and potential
  • El Nino global patterns
  • Climate literacy: Essential exploration

Your job is to help create a deeper understanding of something most people engage uncritically. Your reader should understand what topic is being examined.  Your research should be supported with a minimum of 5 scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources Chose a subject that you will be excited about, maybe something that you are familiar with yet would like to know more about. For example, if you are interested in space an example topic could be the possibility of human colonization of mars, or perhaps the feasibility of mining asteroids. This is a research project so you are required to analyze a topic and develop a thesis statement which clearly presents your position based on the research conducted. Earth science research

There are several steps in the research production process, all of which must be
completed for full credit. The component parts are the Proposal, Predicted Work Cited Page,
Outline, Peer Review of Rough Draft, and Final Draft. While these writing assignments together
represent a large portion of your grade, each step is an opportunity to address your
strengths and weaknesses and help you complete this assignment on time.

1) Proposal/Abstract Thesis statement due 1/27:
For this initial part of the assignment, you will produce a thoughtful thesis statement on a
topic of your choice. Remember that you will probably modify your thesis… your
research and writing will help to guide your ideas.

Your proposal will be a page long and should detail what you hope to accomplish in your paper, outline the major themes, and identify the topic that you will be researching and how it relates to. This stage of the project provides you instructor feedback and assistance before you start drafting

Be sure to have a clear identifiable thesis. You will want to take a strong position on your topic… “The Pros and Cons of X is not sufficient. Rather, you should take a position on the merits of the scientific work being done by the topic you choose.

The proposal is not a contract. Your topic will and should change as your progress through your research journey. You will receive feedback on the appropriateness of your topic, whether the scale of the project is workable, and other practical matters.

2) Predicted Work Cited Page due 2/16:

This will be a mix of what your final work cited page will look like and an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography contains descriptive or evaluative comments on the sources you are working with in your research. Please follow correct APA formatting as
appropriate. This source list follows the same form as the regular work cited page, however your commentary follows the last period of the citation. Please provide at least three sentences of
description for at least five potential sources. You will receive feedback on the appropriateness of your sources given your topic, and an assessment of how on track your project seems to be.

Earth Science Research

Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the

1. Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main
arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone
asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will
determine how detailed your summary is.

2. Assess [Analysis]: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful
source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information
reliable? Is it this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?

3. Reflect [Context/Reflection]: Once you’ve summarized and assessed a source, you need to
ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape
your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how
you think about your topic?”

Evaluating sources: Researchers need to be concerned about the sources they use as evidence. Some material you find might be based on incorrect or outdated information, or on poor logic. You should use evaluated books, scholarly journals, academic articles, etc. Be very careful about evaluating an Internet source.

Is the author you are reading an established voice in the field? For example, are you citing an established astronomy journal to prove your point about asteroid mining or are you citing a source that has recently been on the bestseller list? Is the publisher reputable? How current is the material (if applicable)? Can you hold the author accountable for the information dispersed?

Visit this site for information on peer-reviewed sources:

Peer-review guide

Brunnscheweilier, JM, McKenzie, JF (2011) Baiting sharks for marine tourism: Comment on Clua et al. (2010). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 420: 283-284

This is a comment paper on research looking at behavioral responses of lemon sharks to underwater feeding for tourism. This paper is from a peer reviewed journal and discusses issues with previous research conducted on the subject. I believe this would be an excellent source for my paper discussing the positive role that shark ecotourism can have for an imperiled group of animals.

3) Outline due 3/6
This outline should highlight the points that you intend to include in your paper. This will be a several page assignment (minimum 2 page and a work cited page) and it should:

  • Introduce the general topic & its significance — what do “we” already know?
  • Present the major question(s) that is (are) being researched — what are you trying to learn?
  • Identify the 2-3 required graphics you will use from the sources or that you create (indicate by figure or table #). For each figure, explain 1-2 points that can be concluded from the data — What “results” should we be seeing when we look at the graphic?
  • Discuss the implications of your results — What can we infer about these conclusions? How confident are we in those results? Why or why not? What new questions arise?

4) Peer Review (4/2 for Submission and 4/12 for Completion)
Submit a rough draft of your paper. You will give and receive feedback on each other’s
papers. Getting and giving feedback on writing in progress helps develop your individual writing project as well as your overall writing skill. The better developed your rough draft, the more useful the peer review will be. Earth Science Research You will receive a grade both on your submission and on your peer-review to a fellow student. This is an important step so please provide constructive criticism.

5) Final Draft (4/10
Submit your final draft through canvas.

Assignment Schedule

What? When?
Thesis statement and prospectus 1/27
Annotated bibliography 2/16
Rough Draft 3/6
Peer Review Submission 4/2
Peer Review Completion 4/12
Finished research paper 4/20

You will be graded on adherence to APA formatting mechanics (such as spelling, punctuation, correct quotations, grammar), clear and concise writing, legitimacy of sources, use of research, depth of analysis, and ability to make your topic important under the theme of the class, 

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Assessment Rubric

Insufficient Attempt
Use of Critical
and Analysis
Chose an appropriate topic. Makes an appropriate, thorough, and
convincing argument.
Chose a workable
topic Makes an acceptable
argument that may
not be completely
appropriate, thorough, or convincing
Did not choose an
appropriate topic
Does not make a cogent argument
Research Sources are appropriate to the topic, sufficient in number, and used to properly situate the topic within a larger body of scholarly work. Sufficient number
of sources. Most
sources are appropriate to the
topic and are used
to begin situating
the topic within the
existing research.
Inappropriate or
insufficient number of
sources. Not used to situate topic within existing research.
Organization Well organized at the paper, paragraph, and sentence level Logically organized
but uneven at either
the paper, paragraph, or sentence level
Not logically organized
Provides enough details and evidence to fully support analysis Provides good
evidence but may
be lacking in detail
Does not provide
enough details or
Properly formatted (APA) and virtually error free

Some mistakes in
formatting OR a
few mechanical or
grammar errors.
Errors distract from content of the paper
Earth Science Research

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