Geog 696C, Physical
Geography Seminar, Spring 2009
Time: Wednesdays, 4:00-6:30pm, Harvill 452
Credit: 3 units
Instructor: Andrew Comrie (email@example.com) 621-3512
Office Hours: by appointment
Schedule, Readings & Assignments (restricted)
Readings & Review:Students are expected to pay detailed, close and critical attention to readings and assignments. For each class meeting, all students will read the assigned material and bring to class a summary with critique notes and discussion questions in response to the readings (up to about one page). These exercises will be turned in each week as part of the participation grade, and they will enable informed in-class discussion.
Paper Presentations: Each student will be responsible for presenting and leading several weekly sessions, with the schedule to be arranged in consultation with the instructor. The student leader(s) for each week will supply a principal reference and some supporting material that the whole class will read and critique. Lead students are expected to obtain and read additional articles where appropriate and synthesize all the relevant information in their presentation and discussion. Students are required to identify articles and prepare formal presentation materials following the guidelines below.
Grades: 30% on participation, reading responses and minor assignments; 70% on paper presentations (oral and written material).
Policies: Work submitted late may be subject to penalties. Absence/attendance, withdrawal, honesty and other policies as per the UA General Catalog.
The outline for the class is provided in the weekly schedule link above. Specific details, weekly announcements, updates, etc. beyond those listed will be distributed in class or via email.
Guidelines for Presenters*
Selecting your article
1. Select an original research paper (or related papers) from a quality, peer-reviewed journal (see suggestions below). The critical factors in your choice should be that you consider the paper:
a. Highly significant and interesting in the area of research
b. To contribute something new to the literature
c. To be worthy of discussion
d. To be of general interest to the members of the class
The quality of the class hinges on your selection of a good paper to discuss, so please give this some careful consideration. You should identify ~3 possible articles and email your choices to the instructor at least 2 weeks before you are scheduled to present. You may select more than one paper if there is a suitable debate worth highlighting, or published comments on a paper. The instructor will advise you which is/are most suitable for presentation.
2. Once approved, distribute information on your topic to the class.
a. Choose a catchy title for your presentation.
b. Email a link or a copy of the article itself to the class for distribution at least 1 week prior to presenting so that we all have time to read the article and prepare for discussion.
c. Include not only the article but also one or two links to relevant background material (websites, reviews, figures, etc.) as needed to help explain the overall topic.
Presenting and Leading Discussion
Come prepared to present material for the first ~20 minutes of your hour. Powerpoint slides with notes/handouts (or equivalent) are strongly suggested, 4-6 slides per handout page with light background to save ink and aid readability. Your talk will comprise 2 parts, a background to the topic and presentation of the paper itself. Edit your presentation ruthlessly: 20 minutes means no more than 20 slides, preferably less!
1. Background Section
a. Use this first section of your talk to introduce the broader topic, quickly getting into the key background material and shaping the context for the research to be presented in section 2.
b. Employ figures, text bullet points, a brief "board talk" or other approaches to make sure the class has a good foundation for the paper to follow. Assume broad familiarity with the topic, consistent with textbook knowledge.
c. Focus on moving the class from this fundamental level to an appreciation of the key science questions/debates and the particular question examined in the paper.
2. Paper Review Section
a. In general, summarize information and emphasize the most important details. Do not simply reproduce screens of specific information; do the work for the audience and include enough information to adequately explain all that was done and why.
i. Discuss background rationale for study – why was the study done?
ii. Review significance of research question
iii. State hypotheses and/or aims
i. General description
ii. Help explain anything that is particularly complicated or not explained well in the text
iii. Do background reading of extra papers as appropriate to summarize the methods
i. Synthesize and describe important results
i. Summarize most important findings
ii. Did the authors address the aims/hypotheses?
iii. State limitations of the paper
iv. State anticipated impact
f. Discussion Questions
i. Is this work significant?
ii. Is this work new?
iii. Is the science well-designed and technically adequate?
iv. Are the conclusions justified?
v. Are there other papers out there that have reached different conclusions? Why are they different?
vi. What would be some interesting follow-up research?
vii. Any other relevant question(s) specific to the work
Suggested Journals For Selecting Papers
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Journal of Climate
International Journal of Climatology
Bulletin of the AMS
Geophsical Research Letters
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
and many more...
* Adapted from PNIJC Guidelines and Guidelines for Journal Club Presenters.