Teach the Earth > Early Career > Previous Workshops > Workshop 2011 > Program > Teaching Activities > Introduction to Hydrology Research Paper

Introduction to Hydrology Research Paper

James W. Ward
Angelo State University
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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: Jul 11, 2011


Research paper with exact formatting designed to give student practice in literature review and scientific publication. This is for my Junior level Introduction to Hydrology course.

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This activity is designed for my Junior level Introduction to Hydrology course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Skills needed to complete the research paper
  1. have a knowledge of the library/databases
  2. be able to find proper literature
  3. know how to read and obtain primary info from literature
  4. be able to outline a paper
  5. be able to properly format a scientific paper
  6. be able to write in a scientific manner

How the activity is situated in the course

This research paper assignment is the final stand-alone assignment due in my class and students have all semester to work on it, allowing for time management skills to be developed also.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The primary goal of this project it to give my students practice in outlining, researching and writing a scientific publication, senior thesis or final report. I give the students a list of "hot topics" in hydrology to choose from at the beginning of the semester they have all semester to conduct their research and format their paper properly. Their is a second portion of the project that is an oral presentation over the students research. The oral portion of the project are pier graded, which has worked out very well.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

This project makes my student think on a number of levels from formation of hypotheses, outlining of research, conducting of literature review, formatting of literature/writing and formatting of presentation.

Other skills goals for this activity

A primary goal of this project is for my students to develop oral presentation skills and learn how to present yourself for a scientific presentation.

Description of the activity/assignment

This research paper assignment is designed for my Junior level Hydrology course for majors. The intent of the project to to make sure my students can conduct literature reviews, outline a research project and obtain practice in formatting their work for publication. Getting my students prepared to enter the workforce and/or graduate school with these skill sets is imperative for their future success, since in the sciences we write more than we conduct research.

Determining whether students have met the goals

I personally read and edit every paper turned in for grammar, plagiarism, overall formatting of paper according to directions, and overall formatting of literature cited. I allow my student to turn in the paper ahead of the deadline for review if they like and I return them with suggestions prior to the final draft. The paper counts for 5% of the final class grade and the accompanying 20-minute oral presentation counts for 5% of the final grade. For the presentation each student is graded by their fellow students, I the average the class grade for the presentation; the final presentation grade if 50% of the class average and 50% of my personal grading.

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