Pick a geographic region, nation state, or megacity and research its natural landforms, climate, environmental resources, population dynamics, and cultural geography. Make sure to use sources written by professional geographers and related academics like sociologists and anthropologists. Peer-reviewed journal articles and books from academic presses make the best sources. The first thing Dr. Walton does to grade a paper is review the Bibliography/Works Cited page to assess the quality of sources used. Visit our library site here to follow tutorials on academic research. Our helpful librarians are also available to assist you with research papers like this (it is literally their job to do this) in person at the libraries or online.
Examples of topics include (but are not limited to): Andes Mountain Range (geographic region), Mekong River System (geographic region), Hong Kong (megacity), Mexico City (megacity), London (megacity), India (nation state), Chile (nation state), New Zealand (nation state) etc. If you have a question about your potential topic, feel free to contact me to discuss it. Pick something that will be fun for you to research!
Create a thesis statement based on your research that highlights one or more important links between the natural geography (i.e. think about the material we covered in Part 1 of the class) and the cultural geography (i.e. think about the material we are covering in Part 2 of the class) of your chosen nation state, geographic region, or megacity.
Support that thesis statement with evidence from scholarly research, which is comprised of only academic publications such as books by academic presses, peer-reviewed journal articles, and reputable science or geographic magazines designed for public audiences (e.g., National Geographic, Scientific American, American Scientist), although the use of these popular sources should be limited. Governmental institutions can be good sources for statistics. Do not go overboard with statistics; they are helpful while framing the scope of the paper, but beyond the first couple paragraphs they get distracting.
A good rule of thumb to follow with college research papers is to find and use at least 1-2 sources per page of the page length requirement. So, as you will see below, I am looking for students to use a minimum of about 5-6 sources, while more than 10 will probably be too many to effectively utilize.
Use the LSSC library online search, or better yet go to the library in person and consult one of our awesome librarian staff members. It is literally their job to help you find sources for class projects. Other great sites to use are scholar.google.com, academia.edu, and researchgate.net. If there is a source that you would like to use but somehow cannot access it for free, then contact me and I may be able to help out by getting it through my professional network.
Download and Use Google Earth Pro (a free GIS program) to create at least one custom map of your nation state, geographic region, or megacity using different layering features and custom points that you add to the map. This map should be used as evidence to support your thesis statement. Cite the map as a “Figure” within the text. This can be done in one of two ways: (1) the first way to perform a figure citation is to include the word “Figure” and its corresponding number (so for this example it could be “Figure 1”) within the flow of a sentence. For example: Figure 1 demonstrates that populations of native Aymara groups in Peru are concentrated in the central river valleys; and (2) the second way to perform a figure citation is to simply include it at the end of a sentence in parentheses. For example: Populations of native Aymara groups in Peru are concentrated in the central river valleys (Figure 1).
Make sure to place the map figure image AT THE END OF THE PAPER after the bibliography/works cited page. The figures cannot be placed within the middle of the text; the space occupied by a figure does not satisfy any portion of the required page count for the text. The bibliography/works cited page and title page also do not count towards the page length requirement.
The figure should have a caption below the actual image; the figure caption should explain what is being depicted in the figure (in this case your map).
Use Chicago style throughout the paper including the title page, in-text citations, and bibliography.
See the Chicago Style Example Paper and Student Sample Paper in this module too.
Page requirement: 4-5 pages double-spaced (no spaces after paragraphs)
Font Style: Times New Roman
Font Size: 12 pt
Margin Size: 1 inch (the default standard in Microsoft Word)
Page Numbers: required
Title Page: required
Bibliography/Works Cited: required
In-text Citations: required, and if they are not included students could be accused of plagiarism