You will have the opportunity to design an independent research paper


You will have the opportunity to design an independent research paper that is relevant to the course material, i.e., about the definition of life; the fundamental properties of life on Earth; the search for life in the Solar System and extrasolar planets; properties of the Earth; and search for live among the stars.

This project needs to be based on at least one peer-review science article.  

Paper Format:

The project write-up should be 2-3 pages (12pt font (Times/Helvetica/Arial), single-line spacing, standard 1” margins). This write-up should describe the scientific principles behind your project, summarize the main results of the article(s) you’ve chosen. The article(s) should be described in your own words based on your understanding of the science – do not replicate the article’s abstract or any news summary of the article. Avoid quotes of the source article or any other material. Please remember that academic integrity and prevention of plagiarism are taken very seriously at UCSD. Your project write-up should include a Bibliography with appropriate references.

Paper Rubric:

Research & Ideas (50 pts):

Excels in researching the primary and secondary sources and organizing these ideas into a cohesive paper. Demonstrates interesting, sophistication of thought. Goes beyond simple description of source paper into more depth on the research topic. Explains the importance of the research and relation to the overall field of study. 

Overall Structure & Style (30 pts):

The report reads as a narrative describing the research field and topics covered. The research field is well motivated and the overall results are clear from the beginning and serve as a key driver throughout the text. The discussion section synthesizes the results clearly and describes remaining avenues for future studies. Includes an insightful summary of conclusions. The report follows a logical structure on all scales, from sentences, to paragraphs, to sections, to subsections, and conveys the maximum amount of information in the minimum number of words. 

Format (10 pts):

Contains title, date, name, and contact information. Does not exceed page limit (including tables and figures) and uses proper font and margins. Proper spelling is used throughout the report. Proper grammar is used throughout the report. Complete sentences are required, unless a list or table is identified. Grammar and spelling will also be considered in the overall structure & style.

Bibliography, figures, and tables (10 pts):

The report uses proper citations throughout the text and has bibliography that is in a consistent format as outlined in the guidelines. All Figures and/or Tables are numbered with captions and referred to in the text.