Assignments 2 & 3
Final Paper and Outline



Assignment 1

Assignments 2 & 3





The final assignment is a short research paper on a science issue related to the biodiversity crisis or global climate change. The papers should be focused on the science issue, although you can include some policy. You may choose a topic not related to biodiversity or climate change, but you have to check with me first. One topic, which although related to biodiversity, is ruled out: papers on individual species of animals.

The paper should be 4 pages in length (maximum, excluding the reference cited section and any figures or tables), double spaced, and must be typed (12 point type, 1 inch margins all sides). The paper should be based upon at least 4 primary journal or government document sources. Based upon means that the four primary sources are the main source of information for the paper - that the paper synthesizes, evaluates, compares and contrasts, etc the information from these sources. You may use additional non-primary sources, but the paper should not be based on them. By primary source I mean manuscripts written by experts who actually collected and interpreted the data, rather than secondary summaries, such as those by journalists, textbook authors, or essayists. For this assignment you are restricted to journals and government documents. You can usually tell a journal (primary source) from a magazine (non-primary) by these clues: articles start with an abstract (except Science and Nature), authors are always listed at the start, and typically there are not a lot of advertisements. Web pages, newspaper and magazine sources are fine for background information, but they are NOT primary sources. Just to make it confusing: it is possible to get journal articles from the web (e.g., some library databases have full text journal articles), but these are not "web pages" they are journal sources that just happen to be available through the web. In general, it is difficult to get primary journal pages off the www.

Format: Appropriate outline for the issue paper is:

  • Introduction - What is issue and why care? 
  • Nature of the problem 
  • Causes of problem, controversy- where scientific theories collide 
    • Many times, answers are not simple and papers may even provide conflicting results.  Discuss the conflicts and where papers agree
  • Potential Solutions - pros and cons of options 
    • What are your ideas?  Are there costs and benefits? (there always are!)
  • Conclusions 
  • Literature cited

Outline: You are required to submit a brief outline and a list of at least 2 primary sources that you plan to use (1 page maximum for the combined outline and source list).

Due dates: The outline is due April 02th at the start of class. The final paper is due April 30th at the start of class. Late assignments are down graded half a letter grade for each day late.  After 3 days, assignments will not be accepted.  I do not accept assignments by e-mail.

Citations: You must cite your references and list them in the reference section using the linked format:  Citation Format.

The general rule is that if you get an idea or piece of information from a source, then you need to cite that source - otherwise it is considered plagiarism. Clear plagiarism (to me) will result in a failing grade. Cite authors correctly and you won't have a problem. In science writing, direct quotations are used sparingly - for this assignment you can use no more than two sentences of quotes. Re-phrase, summarize and then cite the work rather than quote from it.

Attachments: Attach to the back of your paper, your original outline (with my comments) and photocopies of the abstracts of the four (or more) main journal articles you used.

AAAA 999

California State University, Sacramento
August 18, 2005