Research on a contemporary issue that spans two geographic realms (and hopefully an issue that is of interest to you!)

Short Research Paper Due Date: December 4, 2015 (at the beginning of class!) Weight: 30% Length: 4-6 pages of written text (1000-1500 words) excluding appendix (if applicable) and bibliography. Papers exceeding the length will only be graded up to the page limit (i.e. if you hand in an 8 page paper, your grade will be based on the first 6 pages). Graphics (charts, tables, maps) if applicable should be placed in an appendix following the paper and should be numbered appropriately. Everything that appears as part of your appendix should be referenced in your paper, i.e.: (Figure 1). Format: All assignments must use Times New Roman, 12pt. text, and must be double spaced. Margins must use standard 1 inch margins all around. Late penalty: Late assignments will be penalized 10% each day (weekends count as two days!). Assignments will not be accepted electronically under any circumstance. Sources: Students must include at least 4 academic sources (journal articles or academic books) in their assignment and make reference to appropriate additional material (i.e. policy material, reports, newspaper or magazine articles). Please refrain from using Wikipedia as an additional source in your paper. Your textbook can count as one academic source. You must include a bibliography which lists all sources used in the body of your paper in alphabetical order in the APA referencing style. Contemporary Issues: Selecting a Topic The world is highly interconnected. Events that occur in one realm influence events that happen in another. In this short research paper, you have the opportunity to conduct research on a contemporary issue that spans two geographic realms (and hopefully an issue that is of interest to you!). Here are some broad examples to get you thinking about the various relationships that can be traced (you don’t need to select one of these, just be sure that your topic has geographical significance): neocolonialism, free trade, global warming, globalization, commodity chains, GMO’s, global financial crisis, population change, migration, the global structure of production, deforestation. Once you decide on a direction, you will want to narrow your topic. For example, let’s say you want to study the global structure of production. You are interested in Subsaharan Africa and North America. Once doing some digging, you discover the second hand clothing industry and the relationship between Zambia and the United States. This level of focus would be ideal for the research paper. Once you decide on a manageable topic, you will want to explain your focus using a thesis statement and one or more research questions. If you are unsure what these terms mean, a simple web search will explain what they are and how you might use them to help organize your ideas. You might consider the following questions/themes in your paper: a) History: What is the historical relationship between the two realms? How did the relationship reach this position? Who were some of the actors involved? What is the story behind this issue? How long has this issue been around for? b) Global Community: What affect does this issue have on the global community? Are there other realms involved? c) Relations: What is the relationship between the two realms? How is power distributed? What is the status of each realm as a core, semi-periphery, periphery? Does this influence the relationship? d) Future Forecasts: What types of changes/challenges are expected over the next several decades? What are some of the consequences that the two realms have faced (or will face) due to their historic (or current) patterns? The Research Stage: In writing a research paper, one of the most challenging tasks that every student will face is evaluating which information to include, and which information to leave out. There is a large amount of information on every contemporary issue, and you will not be able to include everything that you find. Remember that you are writing a short research paper! The first thing that you need to do is to select your contemporary issue. Perhaps you already have a topic in mind, or maybe you have a sense of which realms you would like to explore. Once you do this you can evaluate what information is needed to support your focus. You will most likely need to collect more information on a particular issue once you have decided which issue you want to pursue. The Writing Stage: Papers should be written in essay format. In your introduction, you should state the contemporary issue you are writing about and which two geographic realms you are focusing on (even if you are focusing on the national level, you should still indicate the realms). The body of your paper should provide relevant context and a summary of the evidence you found related to your chosen issue. Most issues have more than one ‘side’, so you should try to discuss and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of all positions. The conclusion of your paper should indicate what outcomes you think are most likely based on the evidence you have provided. Statements such as “only time will tell” should be avoided! Your thesis statement and research questions must be addressed in your conclusion. The conclusion should not restate the introduction. Remember to put aside some time for editing your paper (at least a few days). Once you have finished your first draft, read it over carefully. Is the writing clear and concise throughout? Are there any errors and / or shortcomings? You may find that at this stage you are missing evidence at certain points and need to do a quick final round of research. It is critical that you back up any claims that you are making using various kinds of sources. ONLY include information which is related to what you are talking about. Remember that only a small fraction of the information that you collect during the research stage will end up in your paper! You should have a dictionary and a thesaurus in your work space. Every student should also have access to a good writer’s guide. The following guide is one that I would recommend: Finnbogason, J and A Valleau (2014) A Canadian Writer’s Pocket Guide, 5th Edition. Nelson College Indigenous

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