The paper will examine a case study of a topic covered in the course. All topics should be approved by either a professor or teaching assistant. Topics should be sufficiently focussed that you can discuss specific facts rather than talking in generalities. Repeating information covered in class is discouraged (ie, don’t dwell on the mechanics of a hurricane if your topic deals with the impact of a hurricane on agriculture in a specific region). For picking a topic, a three-step process is often helpful. First, pick a type of disaster you’re interested in. Then, pick a specific instance of that disaster. Thirdly, choose a specific aspect of that disaster to talk about. Depending on the geographical size of the disaster, you may need to choose a specific geographic region too (for example, the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004). Be creative – if you’ve got an idea that you’d like to write about but aren’t sure if it’s appropriate, ask either one of the professors or teaching assistants. Here are some examples to get you started thinking: Causes and consequences of the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland Hurricane Andrew’s impact on Florida’s agriculture Format with example: • Abstract (see below) • Introduction (introduce Hurricane Andrew and the sorts of agriculture in its path.
Give an idea of the specifics of each – how big the hurricane was, its path, etc, as well as the types of agriculture, size of the industry, etc. Do not reiterate basic information from class about the type of disaster you are writing about, ie, don’t spend time explaining what a hurricane is and how it forms.) • Description of the effect of the disaster (Was the damage just that the crops were destroyed? Perhaps there are other connections – damaged machinery, no way to harvest and distribute crops even if not totally damaged, etc. Enumerate the damage, but also think deeply about the effect of the disaster. This section should not be just a list of numbers.) • Response to the disaster / Efforts to repair the damage (How did the farmers respond? Was anything salvageable? What issues complicated their response? What problems did they have dealing with the disaster?) • Discussion (Some analysis tying together the pieces of information you’ve gathered in previous sections) • Conclusion (Summarize what you’ve discussed throughout the paper, but don’t just reiterate a bunch of numbers. Depending on the topic and writing style, your discussion may be woven into your conclusions.) • Bibliography (see below)