GEOS 5170 – Research Project

This is a course that will provide lectures and hands-on training for the students on all steps involved in undertaking a geological or environmental science research project, hereafter referred to as “research project experience”. Together with the instructor of the class, the students will identify a research topic, highlight the importance/significance of the selected topic, research previous work, critique the earlier findings, suggest alternative hypotheses, develop a research protocol to test the advocated hypotheses, explain the advantages of the adopted research approach over the earlier attempts. The students will apply the proposed methodology by identifying, collecting, and checking the validity of the data they collected/compiled, and by processing and analyzing the data.  They will state their findings, highlight the wider implications of work, and identify the limitations of the adopted methodologies. Finally, the students will learn best practices to present their findings in Power Point format, and to summarize their results in manuscripts and/or reports. The students signed for GEOS 5170 will have access to relevant lab facilities in the department. This includes, but is not limited to, the computer lab in Rood Hall, faculty research labs, and the Earth Sciences Remote Sensing facility (ESRS) in Wood Hall. Having access to these lab facilities will enable the students to conduct research operations such as processing of satellite images to extract spatial and temporal observations, and comparisons of spatial datasets in a GIS platform in search for causal effects.

Credit hours:        3 credits

Textbook:         Notes assembled from multiple sources will be distributed

Learning Objectives: (see above)

  1. Identify a research topic and research the significance of the project to the geologic and/or the environmental community at large;
  2. Research and synthesize previous work on the selected topic;
  3. Critique (pros and cons) of the earlier work;
  4. Develop alternative hypotheses to address the investigated topic and a research protocol to test the advocated hypotheses;
  5. Explain the advantages of the adopted methodologies over the earlier attempts;
  6. Identify, collect, and check the validity of the collected data needed to implement the proposed methodologies;
  7. Apply the proposed methodologies and identify the findings from the adopted approaches;
  8. Highlight the wider implications of the work, and report the limitations of the adopted methodologies;
  9. Demonstrate best practices to present findings in Power Point format, and to summarize results in manuscripts and/or reports.

Assignments and Grades:

Throughout the course, the students will be graded on their research activities products (digital products, reports, Power Point presentation), pertaining to the topics they researched (e.g., learning objectives 1,2, 3), the procedures they developed and adopted in data collection, processing, and analysis (e.g., objectives 6, 7, and 8), and presenting their findings (objective 9), in addition to their attendance and participation in the classes.

  • Learning Objective 1 (5%)
  • Learning Objective 2 (5%)
  • Learning Objective 3 (5%)
  • Learning Objective 4 (5%)
  • Learning Objective 5 (5%)
  • Learning Objective 6 (20%)
  • Learning Objective 7 (20%)
  • Learning Objective 8 (5%)
  • Learning Objective 9 (20%)
  • Attendance (5%)
  • Participation (5%)

Grade Scale:

A          100%-94%

BA        93%- 87%

B          86%-80%

C          79-70%

F          <70