The culminating task is the opportunity to reflect on the content and issues presented
in the course, in addition to being a vital component of your final mark. You will be
assessed for completion of your research and rough draft along the way, as well as an
assessment for your final written submission. Given that this is your final paper, the content
and language of your paper is expected to meet high standards. Research should be
sufficient in terms of quantity, depth, and variety. FAILURE TO HAND THE
CULMINATING TASK WILL RESULT IN COURSE FAILURE.
For all written submissions, you are expected to document or reference your
sources. Failure to properly reference sources (plagiarism) will result in a failing paper. An
appendix will be used for any maps, charts, or statistical data. Do not put these items in the
body of the essay. All papers must have a MINIMUM OF 6 SOURCES listed in the
references. Sources should be recently published and reputable. Google/Bing are not
sources—they are search engines. Never, Never, Never use Wikipedia as a source.
YOUR CULMINATING TASK IS DUE ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 23 AT THE
BEGINNING OF CLASS.
CULMINATING TASK RESEARCH PAPER GUIDELINES
This culminating task guide is designed so that you will be able to guide yourself through the
various components of a culminating task in a manner that will produce a successful research
project. The written part of the culminating task should be typed and double-spaced, and
properly referenced and documented.
- The major purpose of the research component of the culminating task is to have you
conduct a systematic and methodical inquiry into an issue or problem of geographic
nature. Topics may be selected from the list or selected by you with permission of the
teacher. You will be expected to argue the merits of one side of an issue/problem
but also explain and/or refute the validity and creditability of other viewpoints
related to the topic. Solutions (if possible) should be an integral part of your essay.
DO NOT SUBMIT AN OVERVIEW OF A TOPIC. A CLEAR ARGUMENT AND FOCUS
IS REQUIRED IN YOUR ESSAY.
- Your essay will be written in your own words. It should not be simply “lifted” or copied
out of your resource material. In order to do this properly, it will require that you make
good use of your analytical and summary skills. It is also essential that you have good
notes to work from. PLAGARISM: THE ACT OF COPYING DIRECTLY FROM A
SOURCE OR PARAPHRASING WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGING IT THROUGH THE
USE OF FOOTNOTES OR ENDNOTES WILL RESULT IN A FAILING GRADE. IF IT’S
NOT YOUR IDEA OR COMMON KNOWLEDGE, IT MUST BE DOCUMENTED!
- Your essay should be written in the THIRD PERSON NARRATIVE. Do not use the first
person for any type of formal writing (Examples: I, we, they, them, and us).
- Your paper must be in the following order:
A proper title page (title of paper, course, teacher, student, student number, date)
Table of contents (if needed)
Table of illustrations (if needed of photographs, charts, maps)
Subheadings (bold) for each major unit of your essay
- Your final copy of your paper should be as followed:
Double spaced on letter size paper—do not adjust margins. They should be at 2.54
Font size: 12
Single space any citations that is more than four lines as well double indent the
Subtitles should be in bold and underlined
Pages are to be numbered
Charts, graphs, and maps are to be located in the Appendix. They are to be clearly
identified, referred to in the body of the essay and properly referenced.
Graphics are to be large enough to easily read and understand and be of an
- Referencing: In this form of notation, the writer provides WITHIN the body of the essay
only enough information about the source used so that the reader could find the source
on the reference page. All ideas, information or direct quotations that the writer uses are
to be recognized with parenthetical notations. The parenthetical notation (bracket)
FOLLOWS DIRECTLY AFTER the last word or quotation mark and the sentence
punctuation. If the quotation is longer than four lines, it must be single-spaced and
double indented with the notation directly following the single punctuation. In the
brackets the following information is required: (1. author’s surname 2. Year of
publication and if it is a direct quote, the page number). Example (Dowdall, 1992). Or
(Dowdall 1992, 34).
- Keep all rough notes and documentation. You may be asked to produce these when
you hand in your good copy. “I threw them out” is not an excuse.
LIST OF POSSIBLE TOPICS
- The worldwide refugee problem—whose problem is it? Major areas of concern, causes of the
problem and Canadian attitudes towards refugees can all be examined.
- Population—more than a matter of numbers? Concept of over-population, global patterns, and
growth rates, relationship to environmental degradation and consumption.
- China/India or a country of your choice and its population “issue”
- Reproductive rights in a certain country
- Population control strategies
- Urban explosion in the Developing World: Sao Paulo, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia
- Sexploitation and abuse of the impoverished.
- Women and Development
- Children Without a Childhood: Child Soldiers, Child Prostitution, Child Labour: Can it ever be
- What is migrant labour, what is the geography of migrant labour, and what particular challenges
do migrant labourers face? (Mexico Border Issue)
Food and Hunger
- The Green Revolution – a past and a future? Its successes and failures; can it be repeated for
- World Food—a problem of supply or distribution? Patterns of worldwide consumption and
production, reasons for inequity according to various schools of thought, solutions.
- The Agricultural Revolution of the 20th century – how have changing technologies altered the world food situation? Use of irrigation, pesticides, fertilizers, mechanization, agribusiness, and
MNCs. Who has benefited?
- Alternate foods – are grass pudding, insects and algae the answer? The merits of nontraditional food sources for the world food situation.
- Loss of agricultural land—future impact for the county, province, country etc
- Biotechnology/GM Foods
- Feeding the Underfed
- Arab-Israeli conflict—the roots of the conflict; the “Palestinian” question and recent peace
- Modern Genocide: Bosnia, Rwanda, Congo
- Minority groups within nations-(Chechnya in Russia, Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, Sikhs in India,
Basques in Spain, Tamils in Sri Lanka, Irish Catholics in Great Britain, Palestinians in Israel,
Eritreans in Ethiopia, Yugoslavia)
- Military spending in the first, second and third worlds—who are the big spenders? A look at the
production and export of traditional and nuclear weapons
- Nuclear War
- International Terrorism as a political tool
- “Coca-colonization”–the political and economic influence of multinational corporations-RJ
Reynolds, Philip Morris, Nestle
- Environmental warfare (Vietnam, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf): what are the costs?
- Peacekeeping versus peacemaking: is the UN able to do the job?
- Embargoes and sanctions: Are they effective?
- Role of the UN: Past its Time?
- The militarization of the American police: Ferguson, Mo
- Conflict or Blood Diamonds: What are the negative effects of the global diamond trade and steps have been taken to eliminate them? Have the steps been effective?
- What are the negative political and economic effects of the illegal drug trade on developing
- Why has piracy and marine violence become prevalent off the Horn of Africa?
- What is the geography of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? How do geographical issues
exacerbate the political problems in the region?
Quality of Life
- Native Reserves—the “third world” of Canada? What is the quality of life on reserves? What are some of the underlying reasons?
- AIDS—a global epidemic. What are the global implications and how does Africa compare to
- Third World Diseases—why is water a “hazardous necessity”? Look at the nature and extent of
water-borne diseases in the third world.
- Drugs Proliferation: Trade and Abuse, A Worldwide Problem?
- Slavery Today
- Clean Water
- Effect of colonialism on native people around the world
- The Digital Divide: What difficulties are faced by developing countries as they try to take
advantage of modern computer and communications technology? What projects exist to help
close the gap?
Energy and Resources
- Water dams—perils or progress? Look specifically at the Aswan high dam in Egypt or the
James Bay project in Canada, Three Gorges in China
- The selling of Canadian water.
- How much of our garbage and waste ends up in developing countries? What is the nature of the
global waste trade?Soil Erosion-Desertification or Degradation
- Recycling—a solution to resource depletion or simply a political compromise
- Tropical Rainforests: Development vs. Protection
Brazil, Central America or South-east Asia (Malaysia, Philippines)
- Endangered Species: Case Study
- The Sahel: The Human Role of Desertification
- Environmental Groups: Are They a Threat to Our Economic Future?
- Economic Development and Environmental Preservation (G.W. Bush plan for oil insensitive
ecological areas of the north)
- Do the environmental costs of ecotourism outweigh its benefits for developing economies?
- Issue of fracking
- Alberta Oil Sands/Tar Sands
- Keystone Pipeline or other pipeline projects
A. THESIS DEFINITION:
• Your thesis is a specific statement that summarizes the point of view you will take in your
The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable
An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.
Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:
“Pollution is bad for the environment”.
This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution means that something is bad or negative in some way. Further, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is good.
Example of a debatable thesis statement:
“At least 25 percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution, due to the fact that upfront expenditures in pollution control will prevent further, more-expensive clean-up costs for future
B. STEPS IN DEVELOPING A THESIS STATEMENT:
• Begin with a general topic or subject you wish to research.
• Develop a point of view or perspective your research will follow.
• Your thesis should be a statement or argument (not a question).
i. gather information from a wide variety of sources ii. look for a central idea or theme that recurs in your notes iii. generate some opinions based on your notes iv. it must be fairly simple and easy to prove/research
• Write your thesis statement in clear, concise language.
C. CHARACTERISTICS OF A SUCCESSFUL THESIS STATEMENT:
• It determines the scope of what you will cover in the paper.
• It is specific. Anyone reading the statement should know what the paper is about.
• It unifies the ideas in the paper. It must be written first before you begin the outline and before you write the paper itself.
• It provides a common element that your entire paper should connect to.
• Broad Topic: Child Soldiers
• Sub-Topic: The Impact of Tamil Tiger Child Soldiers on Sri Lanka’s Future
• Thesis: The high number of children forced to become child soldiers in Sri Lanka has had a
negative impact on the potential future adult population of Sri Lankan society in terms of life
expectancy, literacy rate and substance abuse, which will, in turn, erode a cultural minority
striving for the recognition of a unique cultural status and independence.
FORMAL ESSAY OUTLINE
Explanation of Thesis
ARGUMENT # 1
Argument/Body Paragraph # 1
How Does This Relate to My
Examples of Evidence of
ARGUMENT # 2
Argument/Body Paragraph # 2
How Does This Relate to My
Examples of Evidence of
ARGUMENT # 3
Argument/Body Paragraph # 3
How Does This Relate to My
Examples of Evidence of
If more paragraphs are needed, please outline those as well.
Summary of Sub-Arguments
Lesson Learned Statement
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