FINAL PAPER Guidelines
For the final paper, you will critically analyze some issue(s) pertaining to urban environmental problem(s). Your paper may be related to topics covered in this course – for instance, environmental impacts of urbanization; economic aspects of environmental problems; implications for migration due to climate change; environmental justice and urban social inequities; potential of technological advancements to mitigate environmental problems; indigenous knowledge and practices for sustainable development; institutional aspects of environmental planning and management; role of civil society governance, etc. Assigned course readings can serve as useful starting points for your
A paper can take, among others, one of the following approaches:
• A case study
• A comparative study of two or more cases (within country or across countries)
• A critical literature review on a topic
• An historical analysis of a phenomenon/issue
• A critical reflection on methods for researching/studying globalization, etc.
Structure and organization
Your paper should be well-structured and organized.
in 11 or 12 point font. It should have:
• A clear and crisp introduction that presents the goals/objectives, and overview of your paper
• A well-assembled literature review suggestive of the paper’s theoretical framework (discuss pertinent
perspectives and debates on the issue, in general; and literature specific to your topic)
• If relevant, a short background section about the case(s) (for instance, demographics, economy,
politics, culture, etc.) and/or issue (its origins, evolution, current status, etc.)
• The main analysis and discussion section (you can organize this further into sub-sections)
• A summary/conclusions section—summarize the main points of your analysis, and reiterate how the
objectives of the paper (as laid out in the introduction) were achieved
• Use maps, images, tables, etc., to augment the text. All these should be clearly numbered and labeled,
with appropriate captions (as per the formatting style you will use). Also, refer to the figures and tables
in the main text to enhance the impact of the paper.
Some more on content, style, and tone
The objective is not just to summarize whatever evidence you find and read. The emphasis here is to
identify evidence, synthesize that evidence, and critically discuss particular aspects that make your paper’s topic
a worthwhile exercise of inquiry. The paper’s tone should be formal, and it should convey rigor and
professionalism. Present your arguments as nuanced, logical, and convincing—like peer-reviewed scholarly
work. Though you can express your personal opinions in the paper, avoid using statements/claims that you
cannot validate. Also, unless you have some supporting evidence, given the lack of primary research here,
restrain your urge to make statements based solely on personal opinions (i.e. the kinds that begin with “I
feel…”, “I think…”, or “I believe…”). If you are quite familiar with a case and can draw upon personal
experience, then you can present your points but you also should find similar evidence from other
cases/places/contexts/periods to connect with. To expose certain gaps or shortcomings, or to oppose dominant
ideas through your critique, rely on counter-arguments from other reliable, published sources (theoretical
critiques, statistical data, and empirical research) that stress points similar to what you are arguing – i.e. for
credibility, back up your arguments with supporting evidence.
For instance, you could write something like
this: “…according to Smith (2000), and Jones and Yang (2005), A and B are the main consequences of air
pollution in American cities, but often also X and Y are also significant impacts, which tend to be less
apparent. Given their real costs for cities, I feel it is necessary for urban planners to pay more attention to X
and Y.” All borrowings MUST be properly referenced and cited.
• Use 11 or 12 point font; do not use unusual fonts or ones that are difficult to read.
• The main text should be double-spaced (the list of references can be single-spaced, and it is not
included in the word/page limit).
• Leave one-inch margins on every side.
• Do not leave spaces between paragraphs; indent the beginning of a paragraph (like this document).
• No separate cover sheet required. If you use one, keep it simple. Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_planning for more details.
• Whenever you borrow information (especially figures, statements, quotes, etc.) from other sources, you
must properly cite them (in-text or as footnotes/endnotes) and provide a complete list of references at
the end. This is good, ethical practice.
• For citing and referencing you can either use the Chicago Manual of Style
Or the APA style http://flash1r.apa.org/apastyle/basics/index.htm (pay particular attention to the
entries about “Citing references in text” and “The reference list”)
NEVER mix both styles–—use any ONE style for all your references and citations.
• Use appropriate formatting and citation style for tables and figures.
• Be coherent. Use simple sentences with correct grammar.
• Avoid long, winding, and complicated sentences (run-on sentences).
• Minimize the use of technical or theoretical jargon, as well as slang terms.
• To achieve good writing quality, most persons need to write differently from how they speak casually.
• Provide the expansion/definition of an abbreviation when you use it the first time in your paper. Avoid
excessive use of abbreviations, in general.
• Use spell-check to reduce typos and errors.
• Always proofread more than once, even if you use automatic spell-checking and grammar-checking.
• If possible, share a draft or portions of your paper with your peers for feedback.
• Finally, please realize that plagiarism is an egregious form of academic dishonesty that warrants
serious consequences. It is your responsibility to acquaint yourself thoroughly with what constitutes
plagiarism, and UH policies concerning it: http://www.catalog.hawaii.edu/about-uh/campuspolicies1.htm and www.studentaffairs.manoa.hawaii.edu/policies/conduct_code
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