Research Topic Proposal due 11/9
Research paper due 12/8
Your final research paper will focus on the social and/or environmental impacts of energy. You can choose to research any particular source of electricity, a transportation fuel, a prime mover, a site of energy extraction, or proposed policy solution to our energy challenges. Choose a topic and research question that you are most interested in.
The paper needs to be organized around a clear and identifiable research question. Some example questions from previous semesters include: How can ethanol production be more sustainable in the US? What are the impacts of offshore oil production in California? What are the risks to water supplies from the Keystone XL pipeline? What is the potential for geothermal power in California? How has dam construction affected peoples’ livelihoods in India? What are the social impacts of developing the Bakken shale? How can LED lights contribute to energy efficiency? What are the benefits from replacing coal with natural gas? What are the impacts of palm oil for biofuels on deforestation? Having a clear research question will help your paper be more organized.
Your report should begin by outlining the big picture. What are the key energy challenges related to the question you will explore? Draw on the course readings or additional research and be sure to cite any statistics you provide. Then set up your research question. What is the question you are investigating? Give a quick road map of the rest of paper by the third or fourth paragraph. A few things that might help guide your investigation. What are the social and technical aspects of your topic? What are the social aspects of the topic? What policies or best practices have caused the problems you describe or could be used to come up with solutions?
The paper should be 2,000 words, doubled spaced, 12 pt. times or arial or garamond font, before references. Word count must be noted at the top of the first page. No cover page is necessary. It should cite at least 8 relevant peer reviewed journal articles. There is no ceiling on the number of references; the more academic references the better. References should be appropriately and consistently formatted. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar count more than they should. But they count! Proofread! Don’t let your work be undermined by small typos. TIP: Print out the document to proofread.
Plagiarism is the use of another person’s work as if it were your own. There will be zero tolerance. Plagiarism will result in a zero for the assignment. Cases will be referred to the Provost and Department Chair as is standard. For questions see: http://www.plagiarism.org
You cannot submit the same paper for this course and another class.
1) Proposal working title
2) Hypothesis or Research Question
3) Abstract or Outline
4) Bibliography (at least 4 to start with)
Scoring rubric (95 remaining points)
To guide you in your writing, below are the categories on which you will be scored and the points for each:
_______(20 points) Required components & fulfillment of assignment’s demands (answering all elements of the assignment)
_______(20 points) Argument (strength and articulation of argument, persuasiveness)
_______ (20 points) Evidence (inclusion of appropriate, pertinent, necessary information at a sufficient level of detail; presentation of credible and tangible evidence)
_______(5 points) Visual presentation (numbered pages, clean text and quality, proper size font, too much white space, name, date, title)
______ (10 points) Clarity & succinctness of prose (word choice, syntax, voice, paragraph construction, logic)
______ (10 points) Correct use of written language (punctuation, grammar, and spelling; proofreading)
______ (10 points) References (correct format, proofread, erroneous information, contains all necessary information)
Extra Credit (5 points): The report could include some “back of the envelope” estimates. This could include forecasting out business as usual carbon emission versus some scenario you propose, describing the impacts of a technology, or you can choose a metric to evaluate the impact of a particular energy technology. (Life cycle metrics include: GHG emissions, direct landuse change, indirect land use change, energy payback, energy return on investment, livelihood analysis, or another discussed in class.) If you want extra credit, your report should include an appendix that shows how your “back of the envelope” numbers were approached and justified (the calculations can be hand-written but should be on similar white paper that the rest of the paper is printed on). Any quantitative or qualitative estimates in the project should either be cited in the text or explained in the appendix as well. It is ok to use a calculation used in a publication as long as it is cited and it is clear what numbers were used, but I encourage you to attempt to do your own (embedding your own assumptions and contingencies).
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