This quarter you will write a term paper. To help you work through that at a healthy pace, we will break the whole process into individual steps.
Term Paper Topics for 2021
You **must** pick ONE OPTION among the following to write your essay:
- Identify a river reach any where around the world that was "rehabilitated" more than 5 years ago. State the biological goals, list design hypotheses by which rehabilitation was thought to achieve those goals, and then evaluate available evidence about project outcomes. Include an analysis of relevant scientific literature supporting or critiquing the restoration approach used. If there is no post-project information available, then you'll have to find a different case study. If you need a suggested site, ask the professor.
- Identify a dam removal any where around the world more than 5 years ago. State the biological goals, list design hypotheses by which dam removal was thought to achieve those goals, and then evaluate available evidence about project outcomes. Include an analysis of relevant scientific literature supporting or critiquing the restoration approach used. If there is no post-project information available, then you'll have to find a different case study. If you need a suggested site, ask the professor
Part 1: Paper Topic Summary
The first thing you need to do is brainstorm what you want to write your term paper on, based on the options available.that involves thinking through what topic might interest you, what questin to can pose formally about the topic, what you think the answer might be to that quesiton, and then finding sufficient sources to research the topic to be confident that it is tractable.
This assignment has four deliverables:
- Write a paragraph describing the topic of your term paper. (5 points)
- On a new line, write 1 sentence stating the question you term paper will seek to answer (5 points)
- On a new line, write 1 sentence conjecturing what you think the answer will be that you will find. Do not try to pre-research the answer, just use your own thinking to reflect on it. Your conjecture does not have to be correct, just do your best to make a goo effort at it and write down what you think. (5 points)
- Provide a list of 5 high-quality specific sources of information you have found that you can use to research your term paper. They could include government documents, case reports about real projects, scholarly journal articles, telephone interviews you conduct with experts, case project videos, and case project websites (if they are detailed and technical). You can change these later to add or remove items, but this is where you show you have made a meaningful effort to find enough information that you can demonstrate to yourself that the topic is tractable for use in a term paper. (5 points)
These deliverables shall be written into the textbox in Canvas assignments for submission.
Part 2: Researching Your Topic
Once you select among the above topics and lay out a summary of it, then it is time to start your research and go about it in an organized, structured way
It is very important that you read several sources of information before you start writing your essay. As you can see from the readings by González et al. (2015) and Webb et al. (2011), it helps to have a systematic approach for how you carry out your search for information, how your extract and organize bits from each source, and then how you analyze those bits to answer the quetion you posed in your term paper.
For a case study, you are encouraged to consider finding a local expert familiar with the project/site and interview them to learn their perspective, including thoughts on project outcomes. Project videos and websites may also be available and informative, though sometimes they are just marketing or advocacy with little substance or critical evaluation.
Written sources could include a combination of books, journal articles, newspaper articles, and web pages. In some case, printed books and journal articles may be available on the web or else you can find them in the library. There should be a minimum of 6 references listed in your bibliography at the end of your essay, and at least 2 sources must be a scholarly source from an independent technical expert. An independent scholarly source could be a technical book from the library, a scientific journal article, or a technical report from a non-advocacy governmental agency. Reports by partisan advocates are not independent or scholarly, even if they use expository writing. Wikipedia is acceptable to use as one source among many, but may not be your primary source. Two good on-line reference databases you can use are Google Scholar and the Science Citation Index, which can be found on the Web of Science web page. Be sure to critically read each source and take notes to help you remember the key points from each item you read.
After you have done a broad search and have a good perspective of the diverse ideas out there, then it is time to use critical thinking to focus your understanding of the subject into a manageable size to cover in one essay. This is the hard part. You need to synthesize the information into your own viewpoint with convincing reasoning and supporting evidence.
The assignment associated with Part 2 has 2 deliverables:
- An organized, systematic list of research subtopics. For exmaple, if my research topic was human fitness and the effectiveness of a particular system of getting fit, I might have subtopics like cardio, strength, power, flexibility, range of motion, and metabolism. (5 points)
- Under each subtopic, provide the bits of information and ideas you have brainstrmed so far that you think you will use help you write your term paper. For exmaple, you can copy/paste a direct quote from an article you read (use quotes and provide referencing to the source), you can write a couple sentences summarizing what you got out of a website/article/interview/video, etc. (15 points)
Overall, this assignment engages you in the process of searching for information about your topic, consuming it, and extracting out the essential bits of informaiton that you find valuable for aiding your term paper.
Part 3: Term Paper
DUE Monday, March 15, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Submit online in Canvas in the assignments section.
Working alone, write a new 1200-word expository essay in your own words using third-person voice (i.e. do not use "I", "we", or "you") consisting of a central idea supported by your own analysis and examples in which you address one of the topics provided below. Must not go over 1400 words or under 1100 words
Assignments turned in late will be penalized by 10% per day. Assignments late by more than 1 week will not be graded. Exceptions require either prior approval or doctor-validated medical excuse.
If yu need more guidance about writing an expository essay, then please do a web search on that key phrase using your favorite web search engine. One explanation is given HERE. You are encouraged visit the UCD Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers so you can have your essay reviewed by a writing specialist.
This assignment is due at the beginning of class on the date stated above.
No copying, collaboration, or paying others to write your essay (!) is permitted. All submissions will be reviewed by TurnItIn for plagiarism and also checked for evidence of having been written by anyone else.
Additional information on how to avoid plagiarism is available HERE.
- Submit via Canvas' assignments page. It provides you a text box you can paste your essay into. I advise you to write it in a word processing program first so you have a copy of your essay saved in your files before submission. Then just paste your text from your file to the Canvas text box.
- You can add images and tables throughout your essay as you wish using Canvas' text entry toolbar.
- On the first line type the title of your paper.
- On the second line write your name and the essay word count.
- Leave the third line blank.
- Begin your essay on the fourth line.
- The reference list at the end will not count toward your 1200 words.
- All essays will be run through online plagiarism software.
- This report constitutes 20% of your grade, so the more time you put into it, the better your grade will be.
Writing Your Essay
Begin your essay with an introduction paragraph that identifies the theme of your essay. This theme, also called a "thesis", is a generalization that you have gleaned from reading the variety of sources that you have researched. The introduction paragraph needs to be fairly short to leave space for the main arguments and evidence to follow. With an essay like this, avoid the use of personal stories for the introduction, because they take too long to unfold. The following paragraphs should provide supporting claims and specific facts, quotations, and other forms of evidence backing up your claims. End your essay with a conclusion paragraph that summarizes what you have explained to substantiate your thesis.
In your essay, use citations from your sources to back up facts and examples you state based on your sources. Citations in the body of the text should be in the format of (Author, Year, page #). In the reference list, use a format such as "Author. Year. Title. Publishing information. Page number". Essays lacking adequate citations and citation formatting will be penalized. Writing the exact words from a source is not permitted. Avoid using long quotes as well, as you need to integrate the information into your own ideas.
What Makes a Superior Essay?
An excellent essay is one that addresses the topic clearly, demonstrates a thorough critical understanding of the material, explores the issue thoughtfully and in depth within the allotted space, is coherently organized with ideas supported by apt reasons and well-chosen examples, has an effective, fluent style marked by syntactic variety and a clear command of language, and is generally free from errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics.
Extra credit is possible for additional supporting materials (not words, simple photos, or additional citations) that improve the quality of the paper, at the discretion of the professor. Extra content should be explained in the text; avoid peppering random photos into the essay. The sources of any additional materials should be properly cited.