Research & Summaries Question


To receive full credit for this assignment you must write a declaration of your topic.  This statement should be no more than 2 pages, double spaced, followed by a properly formatted bibliography.  Note this bibliography will grow and be included in all future assignments so it is important that you follow the TA’s instructions about proper formatting.

Please upload a Word version of this document to Canvas.  Submitting in other formats may prevent your T.A. from providing important edits and comments.

This statement should discuss key aspects of the topic (citing your references where appropriate), how it relates to the discipline of Geography, why it interests you, and what (if any) background you’ve had with the topic (either through personal or academic experience).  You should also state the practical or policy significance of the topic.  In other words, why would someone besides you be interested in this topic?

Please choose your topic carefully because once you’ve selected one, you may not radically alter the topic later in the quarter due to the iterative nature of these assignments and the tight timeline of the quarter system. Keep in close contact with your TA about how your topic and research question develop through the quarter.

Attached to this Topic Statement, you should have a single, alphabetized bibliography.  It should be in correct and consistent format (see style guide below).  It must have at least five (5) items in it (more is better). These items should come from peer-reviewed academic journals, edited academic volumes, or equivalent policy/industry/NGO research.  They should be clearly relevant to the topic.  The most recently published items are preferable to older ones.  If you are unsure, talk with your T.A.

You may find it helpful to include additional items in your bibliography, if they help you understand the current state of knowledge– or a problem with it– in your topic.  These items might be:

–Textbooks, Dictionaries or Encyclopedias on a topic (e.g. The Dictionary of Human Geography).

–newspaper articles

–magazine articles

–editorials, blogs, and opinion pieces, etc.

–Wiki sources

  1. These should also be included correctly and consistently in your running bibliography.  You may use these non peer-review sources to establish background and relevance of your topic, opinions and perspectives on the topic or issue.  You must keep an electronic copy of your bibliography, as you will be adding to it for the next assignment.

We do not expect you to have read each source thoroughly bibliography.  Given time constraints you may have to skim articles—getting the main idea—in order to write your summary.  That said, you should identify sources you need to read thoroughly and carefully for the next assignment. You will read them more carefully later when you write the first draft of your literature review. So be sure to download PDF copies of journal articles to your computer for future work.

  1. The next assignment will be a literature review, which is a specific formalized piece of argumentation (and we will teach you how to write one in lecture) based on the references you have found.  After submitting Assignment #1, you should continue to collect more sources and begin deciding which ones are most relevant to your proposed research so that you can be efficient and on-topic for Assignments #2 and #3.
  2. For this course the TAs, Instructor, and Librarian have agreed on Harvard Style references.  This is a very common reference system in the Social Sciences (of which Geography is a part), and reference aides like Zotero and Endnote can easily use it. 
  3. For specific details see this very useful guide:
  4. Holistic Rubric

This rubric will be used by the TAs to determine your holistic grade, as described on the Canvas rubric. The Canvas rubric is used to give you feedback on your assignment.

Category (Points)


Virtuoso (95-100)Completed all parts of the assignment prompts described on Canvas; written work shows thoughtful engagement with assignmentProfessional (85-94)Completed all parts of the assignment prompts; written work demonstrates thoughtful engagement with assignment but has some issuesApprentice (65-84)Did not complete all parts of the assignment prompts; written work shows middling engagement with the assignmentNovice (1-64)Missing large parts of assignment prompts; written work does not show thoughtful engagement with the assignmentAbsent (0)Did not complete assignment

Research & Summaries Question

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