GEOGRAPHICAL INVESTIGATION OF AN ASPECT OF EVERYDAY LIFE

ESSAY ASSIGNMENT:
Objective
Geographic principles are incorporated into our everyday lives. This assignment gives you the opportunity to choose one area of the course and explore it in more detail, based on your own experiences and/or the experiences of others. GEOGRAPHICAL INVESTIGATION OF AN ASPECT OF EVERYDAY LIFE:

TOPIC
Neighborhoods of Toronto
For this topic, you will be comparing two different neighborhoods of Toronto using the neighborhood profiles developed by the City of Toronto’s WellBeing Toronto and Urban HEART sites, as well as the Toronto Real Estate Board website, and your own observations. You may also use any other websites as long as they are reliable and referenced.

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The objective is to choose one of the neighborhood typologies from the Territory and Neighborhoods PowerPoint (Blowers, or Warren & Warren), and fit your chosen neighborhoods into it using the typology’s criteria. This means that you will have to select appropriate variables and find the data for them according to the chosen typology.

For example, you will need to find a variable to indicate the level of interaction for either typology (think parking lots and subway/bus routes. Once you have done that, compare the differences and similarities of the two neighborhoods based on their type. Provide maps, tables of any data, or anything else you feel is pertinent.

Format: This assignment should be word processed in good English prose, use research paper format headings (see below), and be single-sided, 12 point Calibri or Times New Roman, 1.5-line spacing, with office normal default margins. It will be graded on the quality of the writing as well as the quality of the analysis. Number the pages, bottom center.
Title Page: You must use the attached title page template.
Basis of Evaluation Page: You must attach the Basis of Evaluation sheet below.

Research paper headings:
Introduction: Establish the topic and your research objective(s). There is no need to formulate research hypotheses for this paper.
Background: Discuss the concepts you will be using and any academic studies other people have done on your topic should there be any. You can use the web but be wary of the biases of non-academic sources and make any bias clear in your write-up.
Data and Methods: Explain what data you used and what you did with the data to achieve your objectives.
Results and Discussion: Summarize the results of your analysis using words, tables, graphs, photos, and/or maps and discuss your findings based on the concepts and expectations from the literature.
Conclusion: End with a brief, final summary.
References: All sources that you used for ideas, concepts, data, tables, diagrams, etc. including your own field observations should be referenced within your paper at the appropriate place using footnotes and included in a separate page of references at the end of your essay. Use any accepted academic reference style – I am not fussy.
Length: 1200 – 1500 words, not including illustrations, references, appendices.

REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING SAID ABOVE, NO ESSAY WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE GRADED PAPERS ARE RETURNED TO YOUR CLASS.

USE THE FOLLOWING WRITING GUIDELINES.
The value of grades in university was discussed in the first lecture and is in the first PowerPoint. REVIEW THIS SLIDE. The essay will be evaluated based on the following criteria and grades assigned according to The ABCs of University Grading PowerPoint slide.

PERTINENT TO THE COURSE AND ASSIGNMENT CRITERIA:
The topic must meet the basic criteria listed above at the start of the project section.

UNDERSTANDING OF THE ISSUE
Clear connections are made between the topic and the related concepts from your text and lectures.

SUPPORT FOR ARGUMENTS
Examples and sources are used effectively to buttress all arguments. Quoted material and ideas of others are well integrated into the discussion. All ideas flow logically and the arguments are reasonable and sound. University-level analysis and tone are used.

LOGICAL STRUCTURE
There is a solid introduction and conclusion. The paragraphs utilize topic sentences and paragraph transitions are smooth.

UNIVERSITY-LEVEL LANGUAGE SKILLS
Sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation are correctly used. First-person is NOT used.

PROPER REFERENCING
All ideas and information are referenced within the essay. Quotation marks are used when directly quoting from sources; however, direct quotations should be used only if they are necessary to make your point. Do not chain quotes together to create an essay. All sources used in the paper are to be referenced in the bibliography.

Citations within the essay and the bibliography are to be cited as footnotes in a proper and consistent format, either APA or MLA format. If you are referencing or quoting from web sources in the body of your essay, they must be as a footnote and direct enough that I can find them by clicking a link. Be aware that many search engine results are one time only and a hyperlink will not take you there a second time.

It is acceptable to cut and paste tables of data from your website source, such as the World Bank, etc but be sure to cite the exact link where you found the table/graph. You can also download many legitimate data websites to Excel and manipulate or present the data that way and these should be sourced as well.

PLEASE NOTE: A university-level research essay goes beyond the five-paragraph essay format. The five-paragraph essay format is NOT appropriate for this assignment. Neither is point form or the excess use of other devices to avoid writing. Tables are not considered part of the written essay regardless that they might contain narrative summaries.

OTHER WRITING IRRITATIONS TO AVOID
The reason for the following demands is due to the fact that I will likely have nearly 300 essays in this course. Consistency in format and presentation makes the job of marking easier and avoids mistakes and lost papers or parts thereof.

DO NOT use those appalling plastic slipcovers with stiff spines for your essays. Use a simple, cheap, effective staple in the left-hand corner. If the paper is supposed to contain your fieldwork and/or surveys, staple it all together. None of the topics requires so bulky a package as to make this impossible.

TYPED papers only are acceptable. Do not submit a handwritten paper or it will be returned to you for typing, with the subsequent late penalties applying. USE SPELL CHECK AND GRAMMAR CHECK!

MARGINS are to be “Office Normal”: 2.54 cm all around, and the TYPEFACE should be in black 12 point CG Times or Calibri only. Do not get innovative with this. A whole essay in Italics or script or Magneto is extraordinarily tiresome to read.

PAPER should be white bond only. Don’t hand in those awful sky scenes or wrinkled paper designs the bookstore is selling. Again they are tiresome in the extreme to read and completely unnecessary: they don’t improve your writing style, believe it or not.

LINE SPACING should be 1.5 only. PAGE NUMBERS should be on every page of text, bottom center.

HEADINGS/SUB-HEADINGS should not be used beyond the research format outlined above.

FIGURE/TABLE references should be stated as (Figure 1, Table 1, etc.) and put into the sentence where you first refer to the item. Do not write “see Figure so and so”.

FIGURE/TABLE references should be stated as (Figure 1, Table 1, etc.) and put into the sentence where you first refer to the item. Do not write “see Figure so and so”.

FIRST AND LAST NAMES should appear as they do in your official registration records and hence on my grade recording sheets. ALWAYS put your student ID number on your work. These should be put into the appropriate slots on the Title Page Template provided.

AMOUNT, LEVEL, QUANTITY, and NUMBER: get them correct. People are not an amount, they are a number, milk is an amount – gallons of milk are a number. As a loose rule, if the object(s) to which you are referring come in discrete units they are a number or a quantity; otherwise they are an amount or level.

JARGON: Avoid it like the plague. I don’t care what the arguments are for it, it creates confusion and obfuscation and unnecessary complications for all who are not privy to it.

WHEREAS should not be used to start a sentence … unless you intend to finish it. This is a sentence. Whereas this is not. But joining the two with a comma would have worked (though the sentence wouldn’t make any sense!).

NEVERNEVERNEVERNEVERNEVER use the word “prove”. It is not possible to prove anything, only to disprove it. If you don’t believe this, then read Carl Popper and Thomas Kuhn on the matter.

ITS, IT’S & it’s ‘: This is one of the most common and annoying grammatical errors in student essays. It’s = it is; it’s = the possessive of the pronoun “it” – The dog wagged its tail; its’ = nothing at all in English.

ALOT & CAN NOT: These are two more of the most annoying and common grammatical errors, and they really annoy me. A lot is not a word, it is two very poor words “a lot”; use many, several, much. Can is not two words it is one word “cannot”, the negative of “can”. IN-DEPTH is another of these “let’s make two words into one” aggravations – it is two words: “in-depth”.

SEXIST, RACIST or HOMOPHOBIC language is not condoned in society as a whole, at Ryerson, or in my classes.
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL FOR ESSAYS

Below are:

A marking rubric.
A grade recording template that you must include with your assignment will be returned with your marked paper. This is to illustrate the weights I assign to the various components of your paper.
A front-page template that you must include with your assignment.
Two example templates pertaining to the time-space essay topic.

The grading material gives you an idea of how papers get marked and what constitutes the various grades that you receive in this course, and more generally in university. What you think a paper is worth and what you get for it are usually not highly correlated.

Putting a great deal of work into your paper is no guarantee you’ll get an excellent grade; however, doing little or no work is usually the path to a poor grade. When we mark papers we do not go out of our way to give you what you might consider being a poor grade. Remember – you wrote the paper and earned the grade and what gets evaluated is what you actually wrote and not what I am supposed to read.

Two things you should note about grades. First, it is virtually impossible in an essay-type assignment to allocate numeric grades. So even though you may see numbers, it is the letter equivalent of the range that approximates what the paper was worth. Second, trying to negotiate for a couple of extra grade points will have no effect on your overall grade for the course. These are assigned as letter grades only. And rarely, when an essay is marked, are we out by more than a sign.

Title Page Template:
You must use the template below as your title page. DO NOT CHANGE IT. Be sure to use the LAST NAME and FIRST NAME that appear on your official Ryerson record and thus my class list. DO NOT FORGET YOUR ID NUMBER.

Grade Reporting Template:
You must attach the grade reporting template below as the back page of your assignment. DO NOT ALTER IT in any way. Be sure to type in the LAST NAME, FIRST NAME that appears on your official Ryerson record and thus my class list. DO NOT FORGET YOUR ID NUMBER.

MARKING GUIDELINES
To be considered excellent a paper must have received an excellent rating in all three categories. NOTE that in university a “satisfactory” paper will get a ‘C’ NOT a ‘B’. And if you expect an ‘A’ grade, write an ‘A’ paper.
MATERIAL ORGANISATION STYLE
EXCELLENT (‘A’ range – you have excelled)
Clear and penetrating ideas.
Mature grasp of the subject.
Accurate and plentiful documentation.
Focused on a problem to be solved and linked to a larger context.
Research/data exhaustive, rich, connected, and pertinent. Clear focus with original thesis.
Clear and purposeful development.
Rich in detail and rigorous in reasoning.

Smooth transitions, clearly connecting elements of the paper. Diction clear and concise.
Concern for the reader and delight in the language.
Appropriate tone and pointed emphasis.
Mastery of the mechanics of the language.
GOOD (‘B’ range – you have exceeded expectations)
Clear and interesting ideas.
Good grasp of the subject, with some omissions.
Accurate documentation.

Focused on a problem to be solved.
Research/data detailed, connected, and pertinent. Clear and specific focus.
Clear and adequate development.
Sufficient but limited details.
Sound reasoning.
Adequate transitions connecting elements of the paper. Diction appropriate and accurate.
Varied and appropriate sentences.
Tone generally appropriate and emphasis apparent rather than pointed.
Good grasp of language mechanics.
SATISFACTORY (‘C’ range – you have met expectations)
Clear ideas.
Grasp of the subject but assimilation of ideas incomplete.
Accurate documentation but limited in number and variety of sources.
Wanders occasionally from the focus of the problem.
Research/data present but light and simple, little connection to the topic and not really pertinent. Thesis clear but simple and/or insufficient.

Barely sufficient details and occasionally faulty reasoning.
Some awkward transitions or gaps in the structure of the paper. Diction limited or word flowery.
Similar sentence lengths.
Tone and/or emphasis not always appropriate.
Adequate grasp of language mechanics.
POOR (‘D’ range – you have not met expectations)
Confused thoughts.

Little or no documentation and of inferior quality or suspect sources.
Unfocussed and not addressing the research problem/essay topic rubric. Little or no research/data present, little connection to the topic, and/or not pertinent. No focus.
Insufficient detail/data to make the case.
No relationship to course concepts, theory.
Faulty reasoning.

No apparent structure and awkward transitions. Awkward and faulty use of language.
Poor grasp of language mechanics.
Inappropriate tone.
Poor writing style: e.g. no variety in sentence length, repeated use of same words/phrases, run-on sentences, etc.
GRADE REPORTING TEMPLATE (Basis of Evaluation).
YOU MUST ATTACH THIS FORM TO YOUR ESSAY
Some or all of the items within each element may apply to your paper.

Name (last, first): ___________________________________________________ ID #: _________________________________

IDEA/RESEARCH QUESTION
Includes originality and creativity of research idea, or execution of pre-set topic; staying on topic and answering the question set; pertinence and connection to course content; links to course concepts; accurate use of concepts; feasibility of idea; quality and quantity, detail and pertinence of literature review. GRADE

weight 20%
DATA COLLECTED/WORK DONE
Includes quality and quantity of data, whether it is primary or secondary, amount of fieldwork done (if required), creativity shown in acquiring, processing, and analyzing data, the difficulty of acquisition, the precision of use, the accuracy of data, rigor, and objectivity shown, pertinence to problem statement/research question. GRADE

weight 30%
EXECUTION
Includes flowing the detailed directions provided, thoroughness of work plan, connection to problem statement, goals, objectives, testable expectations, methodology and data collection; using requested research essay structure; amount, pertinence, and understanding of software/statistics used; maintaining focus and answering the question posed; precision in the use of data collected in answering the question, level, and sophistication of data analysis, provision of data summaries and graphics. GRADE

weight 30%
GRAMMAR/LANGUAGE MECHANICS
Includes English grammar and style skills in using the language; use of good university-level research essay form; clarity of communication; brevity, organization; requested referencing style; grammar: punctuation, spelling, gender-neutral, non-racist language; no plagiarism or recycling. GRADE

weight 15%
PRESENTATION
Includes organization of the paper, keeping to requested length, provision of clear and properly sized figures, tables and their number, quality, sourcing, the pertinence of maps, figures, and tables; using specified margins, line spacing, single-sided, stapled, and page number styles; using conventional typefaces and paper stock; staples not slipcovered; use of the cover template provided with your “official” name and ID #; my name clearly on the cover; title clearly on the cover. GRADE

weight 5%
Grammar Shorthand Used:
INC: Incomplete sentence. RUN: Run-on sentence.
GR: grammar sloppy or incorrect. PUN: Punctuation poor.
ST: Style awkward, excessive, too “chatty”, personal.
SP: Spelling error. NW: no such/wrong/poor use of word/overuse of superlatives.
SSP: Single sentence paragraphs – don’t use them.
P: Should be a new paragraph.

UC or ?: Unclear statement of the idea, makes no sense, confusing.
PLL: Paraphrase someone else’s idea.
REF: Unacceptable form of referencing.
WW: wasted words – sentence states the obvious/nothing at all/adds nothing.
COL: Don’t use colloquialisms.

MS: Margins/spacing unacceptable.
TP: Typeface and/or paper stock, font, spacing, margins unconventional and irritating.
ITS: its, it’s, its’ problem.
#: Don’t start sentences with numbers – write them out.
FINAL GRADE

Out of 100%

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