Writing Question


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Many issues affect the environment such as pollution, global warming, disease, and resource availability. These issues are not isolated or stopped by some boundaries drawn on a map and all can have a direct effect on human health. For this assignment, you will write your paper based on topics that look at environmental issues and their impact on human health with a global scope (developed vs developing nation).


The topic of your research paper should be of interest to you and of scientific relevance to the course. You want to synthesize ideas that are in the literature, not “rehash” the information. Your essay should be focused on a central point. Keep in mind that the more focused your research topic or question is, the easier it will be to identify relevant information to present in your paper.

Your essay should be:

• 5-7 typed, double-spaced pages (excluding cover page and references) on standard-sized paper (8.5”x11”) with 1” margins on all sides; be sure to number the pages.

o minimum 1500 words – maximum 2000 words.

o Under the minimum and over the maximum word count will result in point deductions.

• Use a clear font that is highly readable; we recommend using 12 pt. Times New Roman or Calibri font.

• You must include a minimum of 5 primary sources published 2008 or later (more recent).

o You may use a combination of reputable web sites (e.g. .gov, .org), reviews, and other sources, but must meet the minimum primary research source requirement first.

? A primary research source means that the authors conducted the research experiment, gathered the data and wrote a research article. (You can use other resources as stated above, however, please make sure that 5 of your sources are these primary sources.)

o There is no min/max for books or reputable web site sources, but you must meet the minimum of 5 primary sources.

• Include a cover page that lists a unique and original title of your essay, your name and class.

• Your writing should be in complete sentences, written clearly and concisely, and easily understood.

• No direct quotes. Paraphrase all information and be sure to cite your sources.

• Do not use personal bias – do not include “I”, “Me”, or “My” statements. You can use “We” as in the research community.

• Write in a scientific, professional tone. Do not use slang and do not use a conversational or argumentative tone.

• Use research facts and data to support all of your main points. Do not include information that can’t be supported by scientific facts/data.

• Standard grammar and spelling rules apply.

• Make sure that every paragraph has a clear topic sentence and that the paragraph content supports the topic.

• No images (pictures, graphs, or tables), unless you create these yourself.

• Use APA format for in-text citations and reference page only.

o Some examples are provided in Part B near the end of this document.

o You can also find instructions and examples at the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL): https://owl.english.purdue.edu/

Your ideas will have little impact, no matter how good the research, if they are not communicated well. Remember that scientific terminology very often has precise meaning. Be certain you choose your words correctly and wisely. (The dictionary and thesaurus will be your best friends)

NOTE: You will be penalized for departing from the length, format, and referencing style requested (see grading rubric at the end of these instructions). Note that the penalties assessed for inappropriate topic, length, format, grammar, referencing, etc., are substantial and there is no reason for anyone to lose any of those points.

LATE PAPERS: papers received on Canvas up to three days after the due date will be penalized 10 points per day. Papers received more than 3 days after the due date will not be accepted and will receive a zero for the grade.


An essay should introduce the topic, discuss it, and lead to a conclusion. Your paper will be a review of scientific literature. Scientific essays may conveniently be divided into four parts to aid the logical communication of facts and ideas. These four parts may be separated as follows: (Note: do not list the headings in your essay)

1. Introduction

An introduction is used to define the scope of the essay and to give backgroundinformation necessary for the discussion of the topic. It should be brief (no more than about one-tenth of the essay length). It should include the following.

(A) Background: – A brief overview of relevant introductory information to a topic which serves to place that topic in context for the reader. Depending on the topic, it may also be necessary to define important technical terms, or special uses of words.

(B) Thesis statement: – A statement of your interpretation of the topic (that explains how you intend to cover it).MAKE SURE TO UNDERLINE YOUR THESIS STATEMENT IN YOUR PAPER.

2. Body

This should be the bulk of your paper. In this section, the logical development of the subject matter must be made apparent to the reader. It should include a description of a research study undertaken on your topic, including what question the researchers were asking, what was done, and what the researchers discovered. We do not want long descriptions of a topic, but youranalysis of the topic. This means that we expect you to read widely about the topic, and to select the best references.

Developed vs Developing Country

Make sure that you give examples of both nations and relate your topic/subtopic to these nations. For example, if you chose a topic of sexual reproduction and a subtopic of plastics, then you should look for evidence that there is a correlation in your developed nation as well as your developing nation.

List of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) per the United Nations: https://unctad.org/topic/least-developed-countries…


List of developed nation according to the United Nations (go down to page 154):


Be sure to include in-text citations to give credit for any facts or ideas that are not your own (unless of course they are commonly used and accepted). Make sure you understand the tutorial on plagiarism. If you knowingly OR unknowingly plagiarize, you will receive a score of zero for the assignment and be reported to the Office of Judicial Affairs for violating the University Academic Integrity Policy.

3. Conclusion

The conclusion should:

(1) Integrate the major points presented in the body of the essay.

(2) Provide a summary.

It may also suggest additional questions or research areas that might provide the answers to unsolved problems. The conclusion is usually around one-tenth of the essay’s length.

4. References

For the purpose of this assignment, we will use the standard APA format. The following examples should guide you through most referencing situations.


How to use in-text citations:

In other disciplines, foot-notes are often used. However, this is less common in biology and should be avoided in work submitted in this course. A one author paper should be cited in the text as (last name, date), a two author paper as (last name & last name, date) and a paper with three or more authors should be cited as (first author last name et al., date). If the information comes from more than one paper each citation is divided with a semicolon. Here are some examples of how references can be cited in the text of your essay:

Exposing the leaf surfaces of shaded understory plants to sunlight without giving them a sufficient period for acclimation can result in a reduced rate of photosynthesis (Levitt, 1980).

Furthermore, the easiest way to justify land ownership is by converting the forest to agriculture uses, mainly pasture that is less costly than by establishing cash crops (Hecht, 1993; Margulis, 2004). Thus, extensive cattle ranching is the most common livestock production system under cheaply available land and scarcity of capital and labor (Kaimowitz, 1995). In this context, the government has not been able to enforce environmental law that mandates that 80% of each property be set aside as legal forest reserves (Alencar et al., 2004; Mueller & Alston, 2007).

In a previous report we described the various forms of leaf anatomy found in theChenopodiaceae (Carolin et al., 1975).

Note that the citations are in the sentence. They are not after the sentence, that is, not after the period. If similar information comes from multiple papers, they should all be cited in chronological order. If multiple papers are cited from the same year put them in alphabetical order.

How to write your reference list:

Your reference list should appear at the end of your paper. It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate any source you cite in the body of the paper. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.

Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page “References” centered at the top of the page (DO NOT bold, underline, or use quotation marks for the title). All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.

For proper formatting, see “Basic Rules” for APA style on the Purdue OWL website.

For a paper:

One author: cited in text as (author last name, date)

Reis, P.J. (1978) Effectiveness of intravenous and abomasal doses of mimosine for defleecing sheep and effects on subsequent wool growth. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 29, 1043-1055.

Two authors: cited in text as (author last name & author last name, date)

Stover, L.E., & Partridge, A.D. (1973) Tertiary and Late Cretaceous spores and pollen from the Gippsland Basin, south-eastern Australia. Proceedings Royal Society Victoria, 85, 237-286.

Three authors: cited in text as (first author last name et al., date)

Connor, D.J., Legge, N.C., & Turner, N.C. (1977) Water relations of mountain ash {Eucalyptus regnans F. Muell.) forests. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology, 4, 753-762.

Many authors: cited in text as (first author last name et al., date).

Please note here and in the three author example shown above that although the abbreviation et al. is used for three or more authors in the citation, the names of all the authors of a publication must appear in the reference list e.g. the reference below would be cited in your essay as (Coding et al., 1987) but written in your reference list in the following format:

Coding, J.R., Catt, K.T., Brown, J.M., Kaltenback, C.C., Cumming, I.A., & Mole, B.J.(1987) Radioimmunoassay for ovine luteinizing hormone. Secretion of luteinizing hormone during estrus and following estrogen administration in the sheep. Endocrinology, 85, 133-142.

For a book: cited in text as (author last name/s, date), the date being the date of publication of the edition used, not the reprint date (if given).

Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

For a chapter in a book: cited in text as (last name of the person/s who wrote the chapter, date).

O’Neil, J. M., & Egan, J. (1992). Men’s and women’s gender role journeys: A metaphor for healing, transition, and transformation. In B. R. Wainrib (Ed.), Gender issues across the life cycle (pp. 107-123). New York, NY: Springer.

NOTE: This would be cited in the text as (O’Neil & Egan, 1992), not (Wainrib, 1992).

All references are listed alphabetically on your reference page and were just sectioned into different types above for the purpose of clarity. Occasionally an author will publish more than one article in the same year. Use a, b, etc., to distinguish the references in the sequence of references in the text.

Laverty, T.M. (1994a) Costs to foraging bumble bees of switching plant species. Canadian Journal of’ Zoology, 72, 1293-1301.

Laverty, T.M. (1994b) Bumble bee learning and flower morphology. Animal Behavior,36, 733-740.


• Pick a topic that truly interests you. You will spend a lot of time reading and writing aboutthis subject, and it shouldn’t be a painful experience.

• Do not say “prove” or “disprove” regarding your hypothesis. Say “reject” or “fail toreject”/”support.” (Because that’s how science works!)

• Writing style: Use active voice. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence. Eliminate nonsense phrases. Ex. “It is the purpose of this experiment to…” can be shortened to “This study shows…” (among other things). Eliminate statements such as “it is clear that.” Be direct and to the point.

• In general, avoid abbreviations. For example, use laboratory, not lab, and mathematics, notmath.

• The first time you use an acronym, write out what it stands for and put the acronym inparentheses, for example: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD). After that you can use the acronym.

• World Wide Web: Citing information from the World Wide Web in your paper is NOTappropriate in almost all instances. If you feel you can justify use of the WWW, please come see me and we will discuss it individually.

• Electronic Indexes: Google Scholar, Web of Science, BIOSIS (and Biological Abstracts), and Geobase are the most useful indexes for searching the ecological literature.

• VERY IMPORTANT: Evidence of plagiarism or academic dishonesty will result in afailing grade and a letter to this effect in your student file. It’s not worth it! I will check your sources. I have had problems with this in the past and will not tolerate it.

Plagiarism is deliberately handing in another person’s work as your own. It may be the work of a classmate, work that you previously submitted to a class, a scientist whose work you read while researching a topic, or something you pulled off the internet. Paraphrasing consists of expressing what an author is saying in your own words. In this case you should include reference to the author you paraphrase to indicate that the ideasare someone else’s and not yours. If you are not clear about the differences between scholarly citation, collaboration and paraphrasing, please see me or consult the resources available at http://library.sjsu.edu/start-your-research/i-need….

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