Geothermal Vents

Introductory Geology I
Research Paper
Each student must choose a geological issue and write a paper between 10 and 15 pages
(including figures, tables, and references). See format below.
 The paper should be typed double-spaced and stapled together.
 The paper is due on the scheduled week of the semester (as scheduled in the syllabus).
 Choose any topic related to Earth’s system.
 Powerpoint Presentation of Research Paper:
Writing of the research paper is mandatory and adds up to 5% to your overall grade.
Presentation (optional)
The main point of the presentation is to learn the subject and to teach it to other students.
Presentation of the research paper is optional and adds extra 5% to your overall grade.
Past experience shows that students who present their research paper usually add a letter grade!
(see Syllabus for grades).
The talk should be planned for a 7-10 minutes period and use Microsoft Powerpoint.
The talks will be graded based on the quality of the introduction given to the problem, clarity,
ability to transfer the ideas, choice of audio-visual means (Powerpoint slides), level of the
understanding of the idea and problem by the presenter, and number of articles studied.
Students interested in presenting their research topic to the class must let me know ahead
of time.
Format for the Research paper
The paper should consist of four basic sections as follows:
A summary should not exceed 400-500 words. Despite its short length, it is an important part of
the paper. Based on the contents of the summary, readers often decide whether to continue
reading the article. A good summary includes concise, to-the-point statements regarding the
purpose, results (a statement about the methods of analyses may also be given here) and
conclusions of the article in well-structured paragraphs. Short and simple are the key points
when writing a summary for your article.
About 1-2 pages long. As the name implies, it introduces the subject to the reader. It should give:
1. A short historic background (e.g. when, and by whom the matter was raised first
connection to people lives; chronology of events if possible).
2. Outstanding questions remaining to be answered.
3. What the paper is set to do (objective).
An introduction usually contains citations from other works on the subject such that the readers
are informed as to where they can locate key sources about the subject under discussion.
The introduction section should also be the most non-technical part of the paper so that readers
can decide whether the reading benefits them. As a courtesy to readers, you may add a paragraph
at the end, describing how you plan to proceed with your analyses.
Analyses and Discussion
This will be the bulk of your paper, typically 4-7 pages long, including text, data tables, maps,
photos and graphs. The analyses and discussion must be your take from what you have read and
researched, and come in your own words. The best approach is to break it down into a number of
subheadings so that a reader does not get lost. You may number the subheadings in order of their
importance, or just have subheadings.
For example if you are discussing future of coal in the Midwest, the matter might be discussed
under such headings as:
1. The state policies and economic aspects; 2. Environmental concerns; 3. Reserves and
exploration activities. This approach allows the readers to skip unwanted sections as well as
letting them see the order and structure of your paper. It also makes it easy for you to keep track
of the development of the subject as you write.
It is advisable that you design the paper with all its subsections in mind before you write, but this
may not always be possible. If you include diagrams, maps, charts, photos or graphs, they must
be labeled and have captions, complete with a figure number assigned at the beginning of the
caption, like: Fig. 2. Graph showing decrease in coal prices over the 1972-1995 period (Smith,
1989); Table 3. Coal as a percentage of energy budget in Kentucky (White 1996).
No more than a page, usually one or two paragraphs. Put all the salient points of the paper here.
However, you need to present these points in some order of importance commensurate with the
way you posed the issues in the analyses/discussion part. Without the conclusion section, a paper
sounds like a story or a newspaper article. Do not conclude something that is not supported by
what you presented in the discussion. For example, in the future of coal in the Midwest paper,
conclusions may be:
1. Coal mining has made significant contribution to the region’s economy by raising the
standard of living.
2. Coal mining also created some unique regional environmental problems that need to be
considered as soon as possible.
You may have cited a number of scientific articles, books, newspapers or other sources in your
paper. Now you need to tell the reader about them in sufficient detail such that if needed, they
can locate the sources. There are several standard formats for giving references. You would
adopt the following format.
Books: In the text:
Smith (1989) has suggested that…, or …It was inferred that the natives were capable of defending
themselves (Smith, 1989).
In the reference list:
Smith J. D. “A History of Kentucky”, 2nd Edition 1989, Goodwill Publishers Inc. Lexington KY.
Journal Articles, Newspaper Articles:
In the text:
Poet & Albridge (1992) contended that Illinois basin was… or: Several communities along the
river complied (Poet & Albridge, 1992).
In the reference list:
Poet James K & Albridge C. D. (1992), The great mining towns of Illinois, Journal of
Exploration, Vol. 132, # 12, 435-455.
Web sites:
In the text:
…In this respect the data published by the USDA is conclusive (W5).
In the reference list:
W5: US Department of Energy.
Criteria for Grading the Research Papers
Your research paper must be a balanced discussion of different aspects of the environmental
issue. The paper is graded based on the following criteria:
Criteria % of the paper grade
Summary: 10
Formatting: 20
Easy and clear arguments and interpretations: 20
Evidence, explanation, previous work justifies analyses and conclusions: 20
Properly captioned graphs, models, maps, tables, etc., with relevant references: 10
Free of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors: 10
Alphabetical list of proper references that are appropriately referred to in the text: 10
Total 100

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