Indoor air quality in office spaces.


A. Send a draft of the introduction to your term paper. The following is what I am looking for:

  1. The introduction identifies the topic and indicates the purpose of the research paper
  2. Explanations (or bridge sentences) are built in to provide focus and lead to the narrowed topic
  3. The introduction uses a “hook” to grab the reader’s attention, and it logically connects to the topic.
  4. The thesis statement provides the topic, controlling idea, and several aspects to elaborate at the end of the introduction.
  5. The introduction provides the reader with sufficient background information on the topic and presents clearly how the information is connected to the thesis statement.

B. Term Paper Guidance

Objective: To develop and investigate an air quality-relevant scientific question and communicate your research in the form of a research paper. 


· Your paper should be 7-10 double-spaced pages (papers longer than 10 pages will not be accepted!). 

· References and figures are not part of the page count. 

· Use a 12-point font and margins that are at least 1 inch on all sides. 

· Consistent citation format and citing sources is done WITHIN the text of the paper.

· Minimum of 10 Peer Review references, half your references should be 2010+.

An approximate breakdown of the paper grade is: 

1. Central question or problem clearly stated with a brief description of why it is important and interesting. 

2. Arguments, insights, and conclusions articulated, accurate and supported by sources 

3. Written to appropriate target audience using proper terms, explanations of concepts and jargon, and formal tone 

4. Properly formatted with Title, Abstract, Introduction, Conclusion, and References 

5. Organized into complete yet concise paragraphs with strong topic sentences that are well linked together 

6. Written with complete sentences, in active voice, without spelling or grammatical errors 

Paper structure: 

The research paper should reflect investigation into a question of interest to you and of scientific relevance to the course. Show that you can synthesize ideas that are in the literature. The paper should not be a “regurgitation” of this information but rather should be focused on a central point. Keep in mind that the more focused your research topic or question is, the easier it will be to identify relevant information to present in your paper.

Suggested outline: 

· Title: The title should be clearly stated and carefully reflect the content of the paper 

· Abstract : Summarizes the paper. The abstract includes an introduction to your central question, why this question is interesting or important, and your main conclusions regarding this question. 

· Background/Introduction: What is the importance of this topic and why did you choose it for your research paper? What is the “history” of this issue or idea? How does this fit into the “big picture”? The background section should address the question: why should we care? 

· Research question/hypothesis: Describe the essential research question(s) or the central thesis of your paper and summarize why this is biogeochemically important, and relevant. A clear statement of your research question or thesis is a key component of a good paper. 

· Literature results: Describe the results of studies published in the literature that address your research question. How have these studies approached this question? Were the methods appropriate for the study? What are the results of published studies? Do the results all agree with each other – is there consensus? Why or why not? It is generally useful to organize this section into a few paragraphs, each of which should make a point that supports or addresses your overall research question. 

· Conclusions: Provide your assessment of the state of knowledge in this area. What is known? What is still unknown? What implications do the results have? How does this knowledge advance science? 

· References: Ten peer review references, half must be 2010+. Pick a standard format such as APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. And stick to it. Inconsistent format will be points off. Make sure you cite within the text and all references are cited. Uncited references will count against your reference number.

Tips and Suggestions

· Writing style: Use active voice when possible. 

· Each paragraph should have a topic sentence. 

· Eliminate nonsense phrases. Ex. “It is the purpose of this experiment to…” can be shortened to “This study shows…” (among other things). 

· Eliminate statements such as “it is clear that.” 

· Be direct and to the point. 

VERY IMPORTANT: Evidence of plagiarism or academic dishonesty will result in a failing grade and a letter to this effect in your student file. It’s not worth it! I will check your sources. I have had problems with this in the past and will not tolerate it. Plagiarism is deliberately handing in another person’s work as your own. It may be the work of a classmate, a scientist whose work you read while researching a topic, or something you pulled of the internet. It may be overt, in the form of copying answers from a colleagues’ test, or it may be subtle, in the form of quoting or paraphrasing information from another source without properly acknowledging that source. If you want to use the exact wording from a published work, because you think it effectively makes a point, you must put the passage in quotation marks and cite the reference. More often, you will want to paraphrase another’s ideas. Paraphrasing consists of expressing what an author is saying in your own words. In 4 this case you should include reference to the author you paraphrase to indicate that the ideas are someone else’s and not yours. If you are not clear about the differences between scholarly citation, collaboration and paraphrasing, please consult see me or see the resources available at

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