California State University, Chico

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INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT (20 % of class grade)
Flow chart or
Case study
Due November 7, 2000

Potential assignment topics:

Look for a topic that has a variety of different references. I expect you to use library and internet references as well as technical (e.g., in a scientific journal) and non technical references. You may include personal interviews and information sent to you by agencies. The final grade is influenced by the variety of references used. All assignments must have a references cited section.

I want you to consider specific biological examples. Inappropriate topics for individual reports include those that depend upon future projections, consider many different ecosystems, or consider several different species. Examples of these topics include: Loss of Tropical Rain Forests (there are many different kinds of tropical rain forests and each has different social, governmental and economic pressures), Human affect on changes in global temperature (biological impacts will be very different in different locations), Pacific Salmon (there are several species of pacific salmon and the problems with single species are very different in different watersheds), Whales (there are many species of whales), A current Environmental Impact Report for a projected development. These topics are important; however, they are not effective first time learning examples.

Feel free to come in and talk with me about your topic choice. Once you have chosen a topic decide if you want to develop a flow chart or case study.

FLOW CHART (Group B and Individual assignment):

Draw up four lists of the major ecological, social, political and economic issues that directly relate to your chosen topic. Look for secondary influences that potentially represent a chain of interactions connected to topics already listed.

Obtain a blank page for your first draft and place the chosen topic in the center of a the page and, consulting your lists, write in the major environmental issues to the left, economic issues to the right, government interaction on the top of the page and social interaction on the bottom of the page. This is a draft and it is typically easier to do this on paper and not on the computer. Now consult your list of interactions under each major topic and start adding secondary topics. Illustrate these by drawing in connecting arrows. The arrows represent the flow of resources, the regulation of action, or social pressure to change, and so forth. Not all ideas radiate out from the center, some second level connections influence major topics indirectly.

Develop ways to reduce the detail and organize the information in a way that is easy to understand. Your organization will make the figure look less like a spider web. Do not drop second level connections in an attempt to organize. You have to decide how to make the more important and direct connections obvious. As the chart develops you will need to mix and possibly change the location of the issues that you placed in the four directions. You may wish to use color to label interactions that have some common characteristic. One method of organization will involve developing a new listing of issues that provides for logical use of connecting arrows. You can you use actual numbers on the flow chart, if these are effective in presenting your message. Feel free to illustrate aspects of the flow chart with pictures, tables or charts. Tables are effective ways to present large quantities of information in a small space. The use of quantitative information with references will help your grade. Some topics will benefit from a time line and others from a map. You must have diversity, detail and organization (a way to understand the complex interactions).

Develop the final flow sheet. This page must be 30" X 30" or smaller (it can contain fold-out parts). A free standing poster board is not appropriate.
Construct a one page flow chart (= diagram) illustrating many interacting factors that influence a major environmental problem (the topic must be clearly biological). The final single page represents a summary of many hours of reading and thinking! The research for this assignment should be the same time you would spend on the case study. The flow chart is a diagram that illustratesecological, social, political and economic interactions. Cite your references used directly on the flow chart using the author's last name and date. For example (Alexander 2000). If you wish, you can use numbers to cite references that are also listed by number in the references cited section. If you add figures and tables be sure and cite the references in the headings.

After you have developed several draft flow charts, prepare the final chart. The flow chart must also have a references cited section. Use the textbook as a model of the proper format.


Develop the chosen topic into a ten-page case study. Develop an instructive title. Use subheadings of your own choice. Initiate the paper with an abstract (see below). The body of the paper must have an introduction that clearly introduces the project chosen and the objectives of your report. Cite all the references you have used in the text of the paper using the author's last name and date. For example (Alexander 2000). Do not use footnotes to cite references. It is appropriate to include figures and tables that illustrate the information presented. I am always impressed when you can combine or modify figures or tables from several sources. Cite your references in the heading for the figure (headings below the figure) or table (headings above the figure). Develop your own numbering system for the figures and the tables. Number the figures and tables independently. Use ecological terminology from the class. Avoid extensive quotes from other sources. Use fresh phrases and write as a warm, direct person. Make this an exciting report that is fun to read. Provide a logical development to the topics you introduce. End the case study with your conclusions. All new ideas must be presented before this conclusion. Add a references cited section. Use the textbook as a model of the proper format. List all references that you cite in the paper and do not list any references you do not cite. The abstract, developed only after you have completed the paper, provides a brief overview of the total paper. The abstract explains the content of the paper as well as the summary ideas.