A Conversation or Debate in the Environmental Science Field


The purpose of this project is to practice the idea of academic writing as “conversation.” We will do that by developing an essay on an important academic, professional, or public interest topic. You will be asked to find, read, summarize, and integrate 3 peer-reviewed articles from academic journals. The only kinds of sources that will be allowed for this project will be peer-reviewed academic journal articles.

You will write a 3-4 page paper examining a current conversation about one such topic.


Your main audience for this project are your classmates and instructor. However, keep in mind that other curious and educated people might be interested as well.


Think of a topic that has a true academic, professional, or public interest. Please do not choose something trivial like legalization of pot, drinking age, or other such nonsense. It must be a topic, on which academic peer-reviewed sources are available. To help you develop a suitable topic, please be sure to complete the developing the topic assignment in this module.

Start by explaining why and for whom this topic is important.

Next, after reading the 3 academic sources you found, summarize each source separately, in a paragraph or two for each. The summary of each source must answer the following questions:

  • How do the authors of your source explain the importance of their work to their audience?
  • What are the main arguments or claims advanced by the authors (in your own words)?
  • What evidence is used to support the claims (experiments, statistics, references to other studies, etc.)?

Next, write 1-2 paragraphs noting the areas of similarities and differences in the ways in which your sources treat the topic. Please note that there does not have to be “two sides” or a debate. If your three sources seem to agree on things, that is OK. You may then be able to conclude that, based on these sources, there seems to be an agreement on something. However, do look for differences because it is very seldom that you will find several texts treating a topic in the same exact way.  Academic conversations are not about fighting or “defeating” the other side.

Cite your sources using the MLA style, both in the text and at the end of the draft, in a Works Cited list.

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550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
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  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

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