Teach the Earth > Early Career > Previous Workshops > Workshop 2010 > Program > Teaching Activities > Research Paper

Research Paper

Alan Wanamaker
Iowa State University
Author Profile

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: Jun 29, 2010


This writing assignment was a major part of a class entitled "Stable Isotopes in the Environment" at Iowa State University. The main goals of the assignment were to foster effective scientific writing and research. A strength of this assignment was that it made students write!

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications



This course is an upper undergraduate/graduate level course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Basic concepts in stable isotope geochemistry
Basic scientific writing
Basic research skills
Organization skills
Time management

How the activity is situated in the course

The assignment was ultimately due at the end of the semester, however an outline and a draft copy of the paper was due during the semester. In addition, students were required to give a conference style (12 minute) talk on their paper. The final exam was based on these talks.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Students will demonstrate an understanding of a stable isotope system of their choice that complements the topics learned in class.

Students will demonstrate competency in scientific research and scientific writing in the form of a research paper and a formal presentation.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

synthesis of literature
synthesis of data
critical evaluation of data/ideas
formation of hypotheses

Other skills goals for this activity

compelling communication in the written and oral forms

Description of the activity/assignment

see attached documents

Determining whether students have met the goals

see attached documents

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Download teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

New TTE Logo Small

Geochemistry resources from across Teach the Earth »

Geochemistry resources from Teach the Earth include:

Specialized collections including

or search