It is time to start putting all that knowledge you’ve been acquiring into action! One of the requirements of this course is that you produce a 3-4 page research paper comparing and contrasting 2 of the world regions we have (or will soon have) spoken about. This is a way to reinforce all of the concepts we’ve concentrated on as well as further illustrate the similarities and differences which exist throughout the world.

Your task is to pick two world regions and compare and contrast their physical and cultural characteristics. In doing so you should be sure to concentrate on the five major themes we focus on in class (physical geography, population, culture, geopolitics, and development).

You should be creating a well integrated paper. I DO NOT WANT A LIST simply comparing statistics for each region. Instead you should be explaining cause/effect relationships, reasons behind differences, why certain characteristics/patterns are found where they are, results of these unique histories, how these understandings relate to current events, etc. You should concentrate on HOW the five themes are RELATED instead of simply describing them.

For example: you might start by examining the factors that contribute to the regions unique climate and topography, this may lead into an explanation of how climate/topography influences food production in the region, then how food production affects population density, then how population density influences environmental/social issues, and so on and so on. Proceed in a step-by-step manner to explain a region and then compare this with the different causal relationships which create the other region.

Formatting: The paper must be a maximum of 3-4 pages, double spaced with one inch margins and 12 point font.


Overview of the regions 8 points

Connections and relationships 12 points

Comparisons and Contrasts 12 points

Grammar, spelling, syntax, and organization 8 points

TOTAL 40 points

*Come read examples of past “A” papers in my office to prepare

* The major source material for this paper can be found in your class notes. You may wish to include current events and outside sources if you choose but this is not required; if you choose to do so you should site them using APA or MLA formatting. The key to the paper is building the connections between the five themes and illustrating causation when possible.

This is the rubric I will use while grading your papers so you should write aimed at fulfilling the “outstanding” category below.

Introduction None or improperly done Introduction exists but is not integrated into the paper; not leading as to what is coming Introduces the concepts but does not paint a nice summarized picture of the region Introduces the concepts that will be covered; introduces the major defining characteristics of the regions
Connections and relationships No connections, no integration between the 5 themes 5 themes are covered but relationships are not clear Themes lead into each other and some relationships are illustrated Builds meaningful casual relationships detailing how fundamentals in the five themes are related to each other
Comparisons and Contrasts Simple list of statistics for each region Differences between the regions are examine Similarities and differences are examined but the underlying reasons for these are not clear Uses the connections built above to explain why the differences or similarities are seen across the regions; explores the differing underlying reasons
Grammar, spelling, syntax, and organization Unreadable; too short Many errors (5-10/page) Few errors (3-4/page) Very few errors (under 2/page); correct length

*Plagiarism of any sort will result in an automatic zero