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Mar 18, 2024


8-10 pages, not including works cited page or visual aids (longer than 10 pages is fine too)
At least 8 reliable sources from your research. Note: most of these sources (at least five) should be from within the last few years (2021-present). As your topic will be an ongoing and/or recent environmental concern, it is quite likely that news and reported sources will be more useful and accessible than scholarly or scientific sources.
Uses MLA citation guide:
Follows general MLA essay format.
As you work on your essay, it may be helpful to consult this list of things your essay will be evaluated on. You can make a copy of the document and use it as a checklist as you are working on your essay draft. We will also be using this list as we complete peer evaluations.


The authors we have read this quarter examine nature and its relationship to human society. The research paper is an opportunity for you to research a recent and/or ongoing environmental issue. This paper allows you to practice the writing skills you have developed throughout the quarter: summary, synthesis, and analysis, and to further develop critical thinking and research skills that will aid you throughout your academic career.


You will begin your essay by choosing a topic based on an article of your choice from the Yale Environment 360 or Grist journal websites. On these websites, you will find a wide range of essays on various environmental topics, and you should choose a topic inspired by one of these articles that was published in anytime since 2022. It’s important that the topic is of personal interest to you, because you will be spending much of the quarter researching this topic. Keep in mind that this article will provide the starting point for your essay topic.

One key for the assignment will be to have an effectively narrow scope. A topic such as “climate change,” is going to be too big for this assignment, so while you might get inspiration from these responses, it is important to take this topic and make it more narrow, perhaps based on a particular region or species that is being affected by the problem.

Essay Structure:

As you continue your research your essay should both inform your audience about the issue, but also offer an argument related to it. This argument will take the form of a description of particular solutions related to the problem. When investigating solutions, you should investigate how different groups, individuals, or governments can help solve the problem. You will compare and contrast the merits of these various solutions, and in the end, make an argument about which options you think will be most effective.

During the course of your essay, be sure to synthesize your sources, trying to use multiple sources in each paragraph and braiding these sources together into a cohesive argument.


Does your paper address a specific, focused inquiry into a contemporary environmental issue? Is your paper organized and designed around a well-developed thesis statement? Does your paper have the proper scope, i.e. not too broad?

Do you engage other critical sources in the formulation of your own, unique argument? Does your paper demonstrate an ability to summarize, analyze, and synthesize the perspectives from comprehensive mastery of summary, analysis, and synthesis when using other sources? Does your essay consider the different perspectives of a variety of academic sources?

Is your paper free of grammatical errors, and do your citations follow MLA format? Is your paper properly formatted (titled, double-spaced, Times or similarly serifed font style, 12 point font, 1-inch margins)?


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