The University of

Scientific and Technical Writing and Research
GEOL 6970

Online Course

Unit 2:  Expanding Proposal Flowchart,
Drafting Sections, Reviewing Abstracts

Due Date:  March 31, 2003
Procedure:  mail to instructor 

Structure of Tasks:
Outline of the thesis or dissertation (not the proposal, but the structure the thesis or dissertation will have when turned in)
  -  Draft sections for your thesis, dissertation, or proposal / report
  -  Develop descriptions of the research conducted in the past on your topic

Draft of a Section -- Description of Your Research Problem and Need for Study

Description of Previous Studies: 
Please take a look at these guidelines:  "Down to Earth Research Advice"
Find at least 10 articles and/or studies, read them carefully and summarize them.

Please research and study at least two examples from Geology from The Geological Society of America.  Alternatively, you may wish to find articles from the AAPG's Search and Discovery archive located at 

Example:  Hydrocarbon Systems Analysis of the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Delineation of Hydrocarbon Migration Pathways Using Seeps and Seismic Imaging* By
Kenneth C. Hood1, L. M. Wenger2, O. P. Gross3, S.C. Harrison4
Search and Discovery Article #40061 (2002)

Keep in mind that this is a journal article and not a dissertation or a thesis.  Nevertheless, the "Approach and Geological Framework" section, and the first paragraphs of the following sections should give you an idea of at least one approach to summarizing and contextualizing previous studies.

"Minerals on Land, Minerals in the Sea" by Steven Scott, published in
Geotimes, demonstrates quite nicely how to give a brief overview of past studies, and history of research in the area.  Keep in mind that this article is perhaps to informal for a dissertation or thesis, but the format is good.

Information to Include in the Article Overview:
  *  Name of authors of the published study you are referring to
  *  Date published
  *  Where the study took place, and what it covered
  *  Principle findings
  *  Why they are relevant to your task

excellent example of how to summarize previous studies:  "The Complex World Along Ocean Ridges" by Deborah R. Hassler, Elizabeth Goehring, and Charles Fisher, in Geotimes, December, 2002.

Required Work: 
  *  Turn in an outline of the thesis or dissertation structure
  *   Description of your research problem and the need for study (1-2 pages)
  *  Description of previous studies and literature on your research problem, with synopses of their findings, including your observations about why they are relevant, and why more research is needed (15 pages).

Useful Links:
NMDP Research:  How to Propose a Study
Earth Sciences Subject Guide
Earth Science Research Guide
Information Retrieval Skills for Geology
Evaluating Your Sources

Scientific and Technical Writing and Research Menu

Home Page
Unit 1:  Your Research Proposal -- initial writing and research
Unit 2:  Your dissertation or thesis:  Outline, section drafts, understanding abstracts
Unit 3:  Grammar and Style Review // Revisions
Unit 4:  Final Report

Other Resources

American Geological Institute
Geological Society of America
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Society of Exploration Geophysicists

Turabian Style Guide
Author Information:  GSA