3.7. Research Essay For each module, a designated group of students (ranging from 1 to 3 members) will be assigned to write a research essay related to that module’s topic. This will be required only once per semester per student. A listing of group members and assigned dates will be posted at the beginning of the second week of class in the Announcements section of the Forums. If there is more than one student assigned to your group these tips on group writing may be helpful. The essay should demonstrate your understanding of concepts and information presented in this course through a focused research essay. The purpose of the essay is to formulate a thesis and supportive arguments; identify, interpret, and evaluate sources; and effectively communicate in written form. Please post this to the appropriate forum using copy/paste. You must post it as text, as no attachments will be accepted. Pick one of the following questions for your research essay, relating this to one of the assigned module’s readings (be creative). A. To what extent have natural environments been shaped by human action? B. To what extent is it possible to restore the environment to its natural state? The focus MUST be on your assigned module, and on a particular society and culture. The more narrow your focus, the better. For example, an essay on Ecosystems might address the disappearance of Lake Victoria cichilid fish due to the introduction of Nile Perch in the 1980s. If you selected question A you would detail how the problem was caused by humans; if you selected question B you might show what interventions might have been undertaken, and how successful these have been. Your essay should have a minimum 750 words not including header, tables, quotations, or references. It should contain a clear THESIS STATEMENT as the LAST SENTENCE OF THE FIRST PARAGRAPH, followed by three or more paragraphs of supporting evidence from readings, discussions, and your own research. Each paragraph of supporting evidence must begin with a TOPIC SENTENCE. Complete your essay with a conclusion summarizing the results and significance of your research. Include a table of relevant numerical data demonstrating an understanding of scientific systems of measurement. Don’t forget to include titles and sources for tables. Please note: You will be graded on research, content, and how well you present your information. The essay should begin with a title and the names of all group participants. A single grade will be assigned for all members of a group. In-text citations need to be in parentheses by author. References need to be listed alphabetically by author in a Works Cited list, in accordance with MLA format. Laulima’s word counter is not always reliable. To be sure you’ve met the minimum length requirement you are advised to exceed the minimum by several words. You cannot edit a submitted essay. If you need to make a correction or add a reference resubmit the ENTIRE essay including references using Reply to your original post and I’ll grade the latest one. The works cited list must be in the same file as your essay. If submitted as a separate file it will not be accepted. It is best to copy and paste from a plain text editor such as notepad (depending on your operating system). If you want to paste from MS Word use the special MS Word icon above the posting box. Use Laulima’s Table button to create your table (rows and columns of numerical data, NOT a graph). Do NOT include photos, maps, or other attachments. You can use the Sandbox (where you are allowed to edit and delete after posting) to experiment with posting. Submissions that are less than the minimum length requirement do not “combine” to meet the minimum length requirement. You are advised to exceeed the minimum by several words just to make sure you met the minimum length requirement. Students can only receive credit for a maximum of 1 essay per semester. 3.8. Referencing Essays A minimum of three references is required, at least one of which is an academic journal article obtained from an online database, using EBSCO Academic Search Premier, accessible via your campus library webpage using the ID number on your campus ID or library card (you may need to contact a librarian if you have trouble logging in, so please don’t wait until the last moment to do this). Please note: EBSCO is just the “portal” for academic journal articles. You should reference the journal article details, rather than the EBSCO url. Do NOT include information from online (or other) sources of doubtful reliability. Useful guidelines on online source reliability can be found here. Online sources should be used sparingly, and are most likely to be reliable if they have a url ending in .edu. Avoid sources that do not list an author. Wikipedia may be used as a source, if you do so with appropriate caution. Wikipedia articles are written by a variety of authors, often anonymous, and vary in quality and reliability. If you do cite Wikipedia make sure to explain why you feel the information you cite is reliable. You can do this by crosschecking with published sources, evaluating the discussion (if present) within the “talk” tab, and cited references. You should not base your entire essay on any single source. A well written essay is based on a variety of sources. In-text citations and a works cited list are required, following MLA format. Do not list references that are not cited in the text.

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