You will be asked to select a particular week that you think may be of interest to you, whereby you will review the learning materials and then pose a question that has arisen in your mind in relation to the content. You must then provide an ‘answer’ to your own question through further research into the topic. Your submission must include the following headings and/or section: (a) the question; (b) how the question evolved; (c) how it is linked to the readings; and (d) a 500 word ‘answer’ that includes ‘reliable’ sources that are cited in-text and included at the end in a reference section.
The 500 words reflects the response to the question NOT the explanation as to how it evolved. For the previous three section use whatever space you need to adequately describe your thought process.
The paper is to examine learning material assigned in the class and not the lectures themselves. This includes both assigned readings and videos that are found on Brightspace (not the videos that are part of lectures). Key points for completing this assignment successfully include:
- There are two primary sections of the paper, (1) the introduction including the question and how you came to it, and (2) the answer to the question. The answer itself is to be 500 words. There is no set expectation of length for the first section, but I would suggest it should be no longer than the answer itself and long enough to adequately explain how you arrived at that question and how it links to the learning material.
- I would recommend picking one piece of learning material and focus on that – this will allow you to go into more depth about the source and will give your reader better insight into your thought process. Trying to explain connections between multiple learning resources will get confusing for you and your reader.
- The question you arrive at should be answerable through research. Do not pose questions for which you know there is no answer or you cannot answer on your own.
The purpose of this exercise is to get you to think critically about the materials you are learning from, asking questions like “why did they consider these factors in their comparison”, “how does their topic contribute to environmental resource management as a whole”, “are their methods standard within the field”, “are their results generalizable”, or “how does their conclusion relate to other researcher’s work”. This is only a small fraction of the kinds of questions that might arise from learning material – it is just important that you can link the question clearly to the material so it is clear how you came to it.
As with any assignment, your key to success is striving to meet the description of the top tier within the rubric. Therefore, for an A+ paper (from the rubric):
- You should have a thoughtful question that reflects a deeper consideration of pertinent issues and will require new understanding or knowledge to answer.
- The explanation of the question evolution should reflect a sound understanding of material; clearly articulate the links between the readings and the question.
- The answer should comprehensively respond to the question; ideas are concise, logical and clearly articulated with rigorous supporting evidence.
- There should be no errors in spelling, grammar, sentence structure, or overall organization of the paper.