You are to conduct research on the environmental impacts natural hazards have on the geographic location /region of your choosing with a specific focus on ‘Human/Environmental Interactions.’ Your primary question should address: what is the specific nature of the hazard (describe the hazard and physical characteristics responsible). Secondary questions should address the impact on a specific location and how this location manages risk. You will report your findings in a formal research paper.
Five Themes of Geography: The “Five Themes” is a framework geographic inquiry and your investigation will address the first three of the five themes in your inquiry.
Example: Geographic inquiry must describe:
Theme 1: Location (where?)
Theme 2: Place (what’s it like there?)
Theme 3: Human/Environmental Interactions (observations of the varying ways in which humans interact in their environments). Primary among these interactions include:
Adapt – how do humans ‘adapt’ to physical environments
Modify – how do humans ‘modify’ physical environments
Depend – how do humans ‘depend’ on physical environments
Each of these interactions informs us on the relationship of humans to their environments and how hazards disrupt our lives. Example: the fertility of volcanic soils informs us on why humans live in/near volcanic regions. Make sure your work reflects these essential concepts and perspectives when assessing vulnerability and risk. Each of these interactions reflects specific challenges for local populations as they manage natural hazards risk.
Research Paper: The Research Paper should be a minimum of five written pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. font.
This does not include maps, photos and charts. Note: minimum efforts are graded accordingly.
The Research Paper should address the following (in order with paragraph headings):
Introduce the specific geographic location/region (addressing the theme of “Location” – where?) and include a map. Offer a brief statement on your interest(s) in the location or why chosen and what you intended to investigate. Provide a “sense of place” – describe the unique physical characteristics (addressing the theme of “Place” – what’s it like there?). Note the key feature(s) that make that place unique and different from other places.
2) Hazard Description
List the Natural Hazard investigated and include a detailed description of the specific physical processes responsible for the event (describe the hazard).
3) Analysis: Human/Environmental Interactions
Address the theme of “Human/Environmental Interactions” noting how humans adapt, modify, and/or depend on that location despite natural hazards. How are human then impacted by a natural disaster?
Don’t fall into the trap of just re-reporting articles – your analysis should reflect an understanding of the physical processes at work and the potential impact on people. Additional research may be necessary if you don’t understand the particular physical processes responsible. The project may require further research on the “location impacted” to understand if the natural hazard is unique to the region or an anomalous event. How do people cope living with these situations? Also, investigate how local life and culture may be shaped by the presence of such hazards. Describe the potential challenges this location has in policy making related to development. Provide examples.
4) Final Analysis
In the final analysis, include a “why care” statement. Why should we care about such things? Recall, geographic inquiry follows this basic framework:
What is where? Geographic inquiry asks the question “where.”
Why there? Scientific analysis asks the questions “why there.”
Why care? Human’s need to know begs the question “why care.”
Remember, natural hazards that lead to natural disasters shape lives – while we are shapers of our world, we are also shaped by it. Reflect on the ways people and places are shaped by the Earth forces.
5) Conclusion / Most Interesting Thing
Summarize what you learned about the place chosen, what you conclude about the impact of natural hazards, and share an insight you didn’t expect in the process of your inquiry – the most interesting thing?
Scientific Inquiry – Importance Notice: It should be noted, this in not an ‘opinion-based’ assignment but rather, an ‘evidence-based’ research work. You are to insert your own conclusions (not others) based on empirical evidence/data/news you find in the course of researching the topic. You then support your reporting and conclusions with citations (See: Annotated Bibliography for details).
Your Research Project paper must include an ‘annotated bibliography’ citation list for ALL referenced materials including maps, photos, charts, graphics, etc. If you are reporting any information or data not considered common knowledge, you must provide information sources using MLA citation methods.
There is NO min/max number of citations required however, make sure you include citations for ALL referenced work (including maps, pictures, images, graphs etc.).
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