G302 Development of the Global Environment
What the course comprises.

Topics for  discussion sessions and links to information on these topics
RESOURCES  Access to class materials and reference to relevant text chapters for each topic
Details of timing of position paper and on-line quizzes

A summary of course themes and learning objectives

The planned sequence of coverage for lecture topics

How learning in the course is assessed
Who to contact for more information


Aim of Position Paper:

  • To enable the exploration of a specific class topic in detail.
  • To enhance understanding of an important aspect of the course.  
  • To provide an opportunity to integrate material from different course topics.
  • To compose a cogent, structured discussion of the chosen topic rooted in sound scientific arguments and principles.

Goals for Complete Draft:
  • The complete draft presents the entire paper and contains the entire text, all figures and tables, and a comprehensive list of citations. It should include:
    • Title (formulated as a question)
    • Abstract (100-150 word summary)
    • Sections with Headings (e.g. introduction, background, specific titles for each part of the paper - or each slide)
    • Conclusions (NOT a summary, but statements about the significance of the paper)
    • Citations to all reference sources (whether books, websites, or papers)
    • Tables and Figures
  • Optional documentation: You are welcome to append comments on revisions in response to the peer review comments, or reasons why you have NOT made such recommended changes.
  • Electronic copies of this complete draft are required. These should be submitted as an email attachment (to simon@indiana.edu). Alternatively they can be placed in a dropbox within Oncourse, but an email message MUST also be sent to notify me that the paper is there.
  • The complete draft is worth 5% of class grade (due April 5) and will be evaluated by the Instructors. Critical comments from this review will be forwarded as an email message by April 17.
  • The complete draft is the third of four stages of preparation:
    • An extended initial outline, first draft, complete final draft, and final copy.

Basis for Assessment of Complete Draft:
  • The complete draft will be assessed by principles similar to those described as criteria for peer review, recast in terms of:
    • Contents: realization of objectives, clarity of introduction, lucidity of text, explanation of tables and figures, use of reference materials, overall quality and effectiveness.
    • Presentation: structure and clarity of paper, accuracy (including grammar, spelling and typography) and fluency of text, choice of tables and figures, accuracy of citations, overall format and articulacy.
    • The response to issues raised by the peer review process will also be examined, and the attention paid to addressing any supplementary comments from the instructors.
  • Please Note: The comments on the complete draft may be extensive because it is the first opportunity for the instructors to review the paper. Thus substantial not just cosmetic changes may be needed to revise this draft into the final version.

A Reminder about Size and Format:
  • The position paper should be about 2-3 pages single-spaced, plus figures, tables and diagrams.
  • All position papers should be structured, with sub-sections and sub-headings. 
  • They should include:
    • A brief abstract (100-150 words)
    • An introduction giving appropriate background on the topic.
    • Sections with appropriate headings that address the critical aspects of the topic, developing the presentation and its arguments.
    • Conclusions that should not simply summarize the paper, but consider its broader implications.
    • A comprehensive bibliography or citations (including websites).
  • Alternate options are to prepare the paper as a Powerpoint presentation, or as a poster, or as a website.  The need for explanation and structuring of the topic remains the same. some topics may lend themselves to this approach, whereas others may not.
    • Powerpoint presentations should include slides that establish themes, aims, explanatory text, and conclusions.
    • Posters should establish goals, include explanatory text, and provide summary and conclusions.
    • Webpages should be self-explanatory, but include active links to other reference materials.

Stages of Position Paper Development
Extended Outline
First Draft
Peer Review
Complete Draft

Final Copy
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Indiana University
Department of Geological Sciences, 
1001 E. Tenth Street, Bloomington, IN 47405-1403
Phone: (812) 855-5582  Last updated: 6 January 2006
Copyright 2000, The Trustees of Indiana University