Our Dynamic Earth

| June 19, 2015

Our Dynamic Earth

Topic: For this paper, you are to interview a person who has experienced a natural hazard or
disaster related to one of the topics covered this quarter or last quarter (severe weather, tropical
cyclones, coastal hazards, climate change, tsunami, earthquake, jökulhlaup, or volcanic eruption).
The event does not have to be recent, but must have occurred within the personal memory of your
interviewee. Your paper should discuss the natural and human aspects of the disaster, including
the following topics: the physical and human geography of the place where the disaster occurred,
the meteorological or geological phenomena that led to the event, the effects of the disaster on the
local people (especially your interviewee), and the mitigation efforts that were in place as well as
what, if anything, could have been done better. This is not simply a recitation of a story that your
contact remembers. Be sure to thoroughly discuss the physical conditions that led to the event as
well as the relevant issues of human preparedness and disaster mitigation. Use good judgment
and compassion in choosing your topic and your interviewee. Do not choose a topic or ask
questions that would be emotionally distressing for your interviewee. Make sure that your
interviewee knows that his/her participation is completely voluntary. If he/she does not want to
participate, you should not push the issue; simply choose another topic and/or another interviewee.
Transcript, Draft, and Final Paper: You must submit the transcription of your interview, on paper
or as an email attachment, by February 12th. This should be a word-for-word account of every
question you asked and every response that your interviewee gave. In order to ensure accuracy, it
will be necessary to record the audio of your interview and transcribe it later. You have the option
of turning in a draft of your paper, also by February 12th. This draft will not receive a grade; rather,
the instructor will return it with comments that will likely help you to write a better final paper.
Turning in an early draft is optional. Whether or not you choose to submit a draft, the final paper is
due, in its completed form, by the due date.
Sources: Your paper must use an interview that you conduct as its major source. The interview
transcription must be attached to the paper. If the interview was conducted in a language other
than English, both the original transcription and an English translation must be included. You must
also cite at least two academic sources (e.g. a peer-reviewed journal article, a “university press”
book, or the course textbook) in support of your argument. Under no circumstances should
nonacademic websites (e.g. Wikipedia, About.com) be used as sources. However, if you choose
to violate this rule and do use nonacademic websites, this information must be cited. All sources
must be listed in a bibliography at the end of the paper. Bibliographies, images, and maps do not
count for the 750-word minimum length requirement. All specific information that comes from
outside sources must be cited in the text. You may choose any accepted academic referencing
style—just be consistent and give the name of the reference style (e.g. “MLA”) after the heading on
the bibliography. A properly cited map is required for all papers.
Honor Code: Obviously, plagiarism is not acceptable and will result in a paper worth zero points
and a referral to the Office of Community and Citizenship Standards.


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