Term Paper

This page has details about the required paper.

Your paper is an important part of ENVE 652. You will select an article from the popular media about the toxicity of a chemical and analyze the situation critically, using knowledge and topics from this course.

8 October. Send the instructor an electronic copy of the article upon which you will base your paper.
29 October. An outline of your paper, preliminary results of literature search, and questions about the topic to the instructor.
3 December. Paper due.

Attached is a grading plan I use.

I suggest you start by finding an article from the popular media that describes real or imaginary health threats to humans from an environmental chemical. You should be able to find the article electronically, even if you read it first in a paper version. In your paper, review the article, what it says, and what the issues are, and analyze it critically based on material from this course. Then write a critical review of the article focusing on the chemical and its toxicity. Critical analysis is not necessary criticism. Use the material from this course and tools you will get in later modules to examine the toxicology involved in the matter.

I recognize that it is easier to find something about consumer products or medicines, you see that in the paper almost every day, but I believe most of your careers concern environmental chemicals rather than consumer products. I won't reject a paper if it is about Acetaminophen (Tylenol), if that's where your interests lay. You may go to one of the Library's newspaper search engines and search for one of "your" chemicals, or search under various buzz words. I'm interested in articles where the public is stirred up, but you may not be.

For references you should use at least one peer-reviewed article and one compendium in addition to your text. Of course all the material you reference must help you elucidate your topic. It is very important to reference the sources of your information. The ASCE has guides to referencing material. A good guide to citing Web sources is this site: http://www.studygs.net/citation/

Paper Length and Style
Some parameters: The length should be "just long enough." I never count pages, but the typical paper will be about 10 pages of text, not counting figures. Please use 12-point font and double space. You do not have to use any particular style, as long at it clear, but here is a good standard format from the ASCE, Journal Articles, Manuscript Requirements, at http://ascelibrary.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1061/9780784479018.ch05.

Students often miss the most important point about proper references or rather, properly acknowledging the source of material. They perceive the issue as one of nitpicking regarding style. Using material someone else has written without properly acknowledgment is both cheating and stealing. It is often bad writing too. In the old days, when everything had to be reentered by typing, there was not much incentive to leave material exactly as it had been written. Students and other authors can now electronically cut and paste large blocks of material. But this material often does not fit into the surrounding text. The correct way to write a paper is to enter all the material into your brain, which somehow integrates the material in your internal data banks. When you put the process in reverse and write, the material is naturally integrated and has logical flow. In scientific and technical writing, each fact that is presented must be referenced to the published research findings of others or the findings of your research that you are reporting. So having written your report, you now go back and cite each fact. Sometimes an exact quotation of one or several paragraphs is necessary. You can electronically cut and paste figures and tables, as long as you cite where you got them.

In student papers, use of copyrighted material is not a big issue, since your paper is only distributed to me and possibly other students. Quoting excerpts of copyrighted works is not against the law, in any case. Copying pictures and graphs can be copyright infringement, if you publish them or use them for gain. Teachers enjoy an exemption from the copyright laws, up to a point, for materials used in class. Once a teacher puts something on the web, it is being published outside the classroom, and the teacher might be infringing a copyright.

Library submodule explains how to search for these articles and how to get them without leaving your computer.

Module 4 Index

ENVE 652 Homepage.