Exercise One: Find and Report on an Example Research Paper

GEOG 4173: Research Seminar
Assignment One: Find and Report on an
Example Research Paper
You must select, read, and analyze a research paper from a peer-reviewed journal. Consider my sample, or find
your own, but then please get your choice approved by me first!
Be prepared to present a 10 minute assessment (one or two PPT slides) of the paper in class:
1. What is the universal question?
2. What were the research question, main points, how did the author address them, what did the
author conclude?
3. Explication: how did the authors organize and present the research?
4. What special qualities struck you: How were the: illustrations, implications, writing style, etc.
5. What additional research, gaps to be filled, or next steps did the authors suggest OR that you can
I have copies of several papers that I think nicely illustrate different forms of academic research conduct and
writing, and propose that some of you chose one of these papers:
Lenton TM, Hermann H, Kreigler E, Hall J, Lucht W, Rahmtorf S, Schellnhuber HJ (2008) Tipping elements in
the Earth’s climate system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 105:1786-1793.
Travis WR (2010) Going to extremes: propositions on the social response to extreme climate change. Climatic
Change 98:1-19. DOI 10.1007/s10584-009-9661-8
Ford JD, Berrang-Ford L, Paterson J (2011) A systematic review of observed climate change adaptation in
developed nations. Climatic Change 106(2):327-336.
Folke C, Carpenter SR, Walker BH, Scheffer M, Chapin III FS, Rockström J (2010) Resilience thinking:
Integrating resilience, adaptability and transformability. Ecology and Society 15(4):20.
Testing a Hypothesis/Argument with data:
Yan Song and Gerrit-Jan Knapp, 2004: “Measuring urban form: is Portland winning the war on sprawl?” Journal
of the American Planning Association 70: 210-225.
John C. Schmidt; Robert H. Webb; Richard A. Valdez; G. Richard Marzolf; Lawrence E. Stevens (1998) “Science
and Values in River Restoration in the Grand Canyon.” BioScience, Vol. 48, No. 9, pp. 735-747.
Case Study in Review Context:
Kates, R.W., Colten, C.E., Laska,S., and Leatherman, S.P. (2006) Reconstruction of New Orleans after Huricane
Katrina: A research perspective. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103: 14653-14660.
Hypothesis formulation:
Pielke, Jr., R.A. (2007) Future economic damage from tropical cyclones: sensitivities to societal and climate
changes. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 365: 2717-2729.
Classic Literature Review:
Sorensen, J. H. (2000) Hazard warning systems: Review of 20 years of progress. Natural Hazards Review 1: 119–
Data Analysis:
Westerling, A.L., Hidalgo, H.G., Cayan, D.R., and Swetnam, T.W. (2006) Warming and earlier spring increase
western U.S. forest wildfire activity.” Science 313: 940 – 943.
Conceptual/Research Framing:
Moser S, Ekstrom JA (2010) A framework to diagnose barriers to climate change adaptation. Proceedings of the
National Academy of Science 6 December, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1007887107.