IDSC 100-01, Fall 2005

Writing Assignment #2:

What can be learned by connecting ideas inTipping Point

to your learning in abrupt climate change?



This will be the first of several more formal writing assignments in the course, in addition to your final project.


The Assignment: This assignment asks you to look purposefully, reflectively, and creatively at the intersection of abrupt climate change and human conceptual change. Pick some new conceptual insight or knowledge you gained from Gladwell's Tipping Point and use it to explain or understand relevant aspects of abrupt climate change. Or, pick some new conceptual insight or knowledge from your learning about abrupt climate change and use it to explain or understand relevant aspects of human social epidemics. For example, you may choose to connect one or more of Gladwell's concepts (Law of the Few, Stickiness, Power of Context) and accompanying examples or case studies, testing out or their applicability in a climate setting. There may also be other ways to integrate- be creative and let your own new insights form the basis for your paper. Use examples to explain your ideas in some depth. Also address how your own thinking has changed as you attempt to integrate understanding about abrupt change across the climate-human behavior boundary.


Use of outside sources: Use at least 2 outside sources (there is a small research dimension to this paper) that we have not used in our course. Web sources are fine, but take care in where you gather information; there is lots of low quality stuff (and rubbish) online. Cite your sources; use this online advice (with examples) about how to cite. Choose one scitation style (your choice) and stick with it consistently. Read this on ideas on how to evaluate the reliability of your sources.


Support for Writing: You are encouraged to work with Dana, a student writing tutor at the Write Place, and/or Trish in refining your paper ideas. This can start over email with Dana and/or Trish. However, a conversation in person is the best way to talk through your emerging ideas and the "angle" you'll take on this assignment. Please read about the wonderful support you can find at the Write Place. You can drop in and get help, or even better, make an appointment. Tutors at the Write Place can help you with any stage of your writing, including brainstorming ideas up front.


What makes for a good paper? A good paper will:


Optional revision: You can choose later to revise this paper. Trish will try to give supportive advice about whether this would be a wise choice for you.


Length: 3-5 pages double-spaced and typed

Turn in: To your HAND-IN folder, as usual. Please use Word filename: "lastname-climatetipping.doc"

Deadline: Friday, Oct. 7 at 5pm.



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