2019 Team Projects
This page provides a description of the team project, as well as guidelines, steps and instructions, and deadlines.
In the group research project, your team, with guidance and feedback from the instructors, will learn how to make evidence-based assessments and recommendations regarding dilemmas in food production systems and sustainability. A key to making this a useful and successful learning experience for you, is that you be passionate and fully engaged in the process, and willing to push your conventional ideas of what you are supposed to do in a university class.
Below is a description of the main steps of the project, part of which will be conducted in class and part of which will be conducted by you and your team members out-of-class. Deadlines are listed here on this page, and are also noted in the Syllabus page under "Deadlines and Grades."
Throughout the semester, we will conduct various in-class activities to prepare you to complete a successful project:
- February 14: Students will learn some basic aspects of library search database.
- February 12-14: Students will explore the webpages created in previous semesters and generate possible project ideas.
- February 21: Team composition and topics will be determined.
- February 21: Students will learn about planning, executing and evaluating effort from each team member.
- February 26 (9:00 pm deadline): Teams will develop descriptions of roles and responsibilities of each team member, and submit this Team Planning and Evaluation document as the basis for a final peer evaluation, which will be used to individualize project-related grades.
- March 7: The class will learn some basic aspects of HTML and web page design.
Then teams will apply this knowledge together to create the following deliverables:
- March 1 (9:00 pm deadline): Each team will turn in an annotated bibliography and outline.
- March 13 (11:59 pm deadline): Teams will submit a first draft of a peer-review style paper that presents the results of their analysis.
- March 26-28 (4:00 pm deadline): Teams will lead an in-class discussion about their results to this point, either on March 20 or 22. On the date of their discussion, teams will have developed a draft webpage that presents the a partial "progress report" of the project.
- April 16 (11:59 pm deadline): Teams will submit a final draft of their peer-review style paper.
- Teams A and B:
- April 22 (4:00 pm deadline): Final webpage is posted to be a pre-class reading assignment for classmates.
- April 23 (4:00 pm deadline): Final presentation to the class.
- April 23 (8:00 pm deadline): Complete INDIVIDUALLY Part II of the Planning and Evaluation document (self and teammate evaluation).
- Teams C and D:
- April 24 (4:00 pm deadline): Final webpage is posted to be a pre-class reading assignment for classmates.
- April 25 (4:00 pm deadline): Final presentation to the class.
- April 25 (8:00 pm deadline): Complete INDIVIDUALLY Part II of the Planning and Evaluation document (self and teammate evaluation).
- Teams E and F:
- April 29 (4:00 pm deadline): Final webpage is posted to be a pre-class reading assignment for classmates.
- April 30 (4:00 pm deadline): Final presentation to the class.
- April 30 (8:00 pm deadline): Complete INDIVIDUALLY Part II of the Planning and Evaluation document (self and teammate evaluation).
- Team G:
- May 1 (4:00 pm deadline): Final webpage is posted to be a pre-class reading assignment for classmates.
- May 2 (4:00 pm deadline): Final presentation to the class.
- May 2 (8:00 pm deadline): Complete INDIVIDUALLY Part II of the Planning and Evaluation document (self and teammate evaluation).
The instructions for each of these deliverables can be viewed by clicking on their links in the list above or scrolling down on this page.
|Team||Team Members||Short Description|
|A||* xxxx *||* yyyy *|
|B||* xxxx *||* yyyy *|
|C||* xxxx *||* yyyy *|
|D||* xxxx *||* yyyy *|
|E||* xxxx *||* yyyy *|
|F||* xxxx *||* yyyy *|
|G||* xxxx *||* yyyy *|
Annotated Bibliography and Outline:
This will be your first content-driven team deliverable. The annotated bibliography should contain citations of credible sources that directly inform the research question of the team. Several sentences or a small paragraph of a team member's own writing should then summarize the important points of each of these sources and connect it to their research question. For an example, see these annotated bibliography entries from Purdue OWL.
The outline should then begin to show how these sources will inform your analysis. The outline may include sections such as a literature review, methods and materials, results, discussion, and conclusion, but the sections you choose should be tailored to your research topic and methods. At this stage your outline should contain well-formulated hypotheses for your research question(s), an indication of the method you will use, the data or information source you will apply the methodology to, and any preliminary results or discussion items.
Both the annotated bibliography and the outline should be typed in a single word document and submitted through the Dropbox as a backup by the deadline (see above). The annotated bibliography and outline together make up 5 points or 5% of your final grade. The rubric by which these will be graded is in the table below.
|Annotated Bibliography (2 pts max.)||Possible Points|
|Contains >10 quality references that directly support the team project topic||0||0.2||0.4||0.5|
|Summaries succinctly reflect the main points as they relate to the team project topic||0||0.7||1.3||1.5|
|Outline (3 pts max.)|
|Formatted as an outline (tentative title, heading, sub-headings, etc.)||0||0.2||0.4||0.5|
|Literature review section summarizes main themes in previous work||0||0.2||0.4||0.5|
|Hypotheses are properly formatted and are supported by the literature review||0||0.2||0.4||0.5|
|Contains clearly articulated and reasonably broad/narrow research question(s)||0||0.2||0.4||0.5|
|Specific method is noted that will answer the research question||0||0.2||0.4||0.5|
|Preliminary results (or plans to obtain them) clearly work towards rejecting or
supporting the hypothesis and answering the research question
Team-led Project Discussion With Initial Webpage:
We expect you to design and implement a 17 minutes, three-part team-led project discussion that engage your audience (classmates) in (a) a presentation, (b) answering their questions, and (c) gathering feeding for your "next step." First, design a 9-12 minute presentation that will help you share with the rest of the class the current status of effort to this point. We suggest (strongly) that you use your (partial) website page instead of using powerpoint for your presentation. This ensures that you start populating your website and avoids unnecessary time wasted creating slides that don’t have a further use. Then, you will have 5-8 minutes of "two-way" class discussion during which you will be seeking feedback from your classmates and answer their questions.
When student discussions are occurring, classmates should post their thoughts/questions/pointers or any other form of constructive feedback by posting one or more blog entries that have been linked to the Schedule and Materials page. This will provide the presenting teams with some good feedback as they work on their final drafts and hold students accountable for being active participants during team presentations.Expectation for Team-led Project Discussion with Initial Webpage: You should include in your presentation what has been accomplished to date and what you anticipate remains to be done. Feel free to be creative. Here is a check list of what to include:
- Your mock consultancy scenario and research question (if relevant, describe how your question or thinking has evolved and why),
- Key findings from the literature that inform your hypothesis or hypotheses,
- Description of your methodology,
- Two or more figures and/or tables of data (either created by your or taken from publications with proper citation) to describe your current findings,
- Summary of your current conclusions,
- Summary of your remaining tasks, timeline, and questions you are grappling with.
Your presentation / discussion will graded based on content (10 pts), format (3 pts) and active participation (2 pts). Details are in the Tale below. Your total score will be adjusted such that this assignment will be worth 10 points or 10% of your final grade.
|Content of the oral presentation:||Possible Points|
|Clear identification of the scenario, the protagonists and the hypothesis or question to be addressed||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
|Clear, concise relevant background||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
|Clear and complete description of the methods||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
|Reliance on multiple and complementary sources of data / information||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
|Clear, concise and coherent presentation of results with adequate visual support (Scans,Figure, Table)||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
|The summary (recommendations) are logical, consistent with results, and shed light on the hypothesis / question||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
|Evidence of critical evaluation of the data presented (i.e., the cited work)||0||1.0||1.5||2.0|
|Evidence of critical evaluation of the strengths and limitations of your presentation||0||1.0||1.5||2.0|
|Format of the presentation, feedback and Q&A:|
|Presenters are enthusiastic, engaging and convincing||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
|Evidence of thorough planning and teamwork approach||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
|Time was managed appropriately (adequate timing of presentation, gathering feedback, and answering questions)||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
|Participation (individual grade)|
|As a presenter: Active engagement in all the phases of the team-led presentation and discussion||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
|As a class participant: Constructive contributions as posted entries on the Feedback (blog) page||0||0.5||0.75||1.0|
Website (Initial and Final Versions):
Teams will be responsible for designing a website with their project findings as their final written deliverable. The website should reflect the sections found in a peer-review style paper (e.g. literature review, methods, discussion, etc.) but be designed in such a way as to be more accessible for a lay audience and more visually appealing to keep the average scroll-er engaged. However, this is still an academic writing exercise so the narrative must be based on a sufficient quantity of research that is of a sufficient quality. Your writing needs to convey clear ideas that integrate this research, formatted in an appropriate style for a webpage. The main statements and arguments must be supported by cited material.
The body of the text on your webpage should amount to 2,500 (min) to 4,000 (max) words. For undergraduates, this draft is worth 10% of your final grade in the course; for graduate students, it is worth 5% of your final grade.
The following week the instructors will return comments and their graded rubric for this initial draft to you. Final revisions addressing their comments are due the day of the final presentation (see above). Again, for undergraduates the final version is worth 10% of your final grade in the course; for graduate students, it is worth 5% of your final grade.
The rubric for both the initial and final draft of the website presented in the Table below. Note that each of the 15 items will be graded on a quarter point basis (i.e., 0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 1.0). Although the initial page score will emphasize "progress to date" the final page score will be evaluated based on a combination of revisions of the initial page and expansion and/or clarification of its content.
|Initial (draft) webpage and Final webpage include:||Possible Points|
|A clear description of the Scenario||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|An Abstract that summarizes the issue(s), questions, findings, and recommendations (as appropriate)||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|An Introduction (background) that is relevant, compelling and properly cited||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|At least one clearly stated research question: (hypothesis or thesis)||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|A clear and concise description of the method(s) you have used to search for data or information relevant to your objective.||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|A “Results” section relevant and consistent with the objectives and methods||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|An effective use of visuals (scan, figure or table) whose main points or "reason to be" are clearly described in the text||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|A Discussion of findings (limitations of tools, validity of methods, generalizability of results etc.)||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|A Summary / Conclusions / Recommendation section that address directly the initial research question.||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|A citation list with 10 or more papers that substantiate the “background”, the “methods” and the “discussion” sections||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|A section about the authors (very brief bio and reason for interest in the topic).||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|Visually engaging with narrative appropriate for a general, lay audience||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|Grammar, spelling, clarity, and attention to text & table format||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|All hyperlinks function properly||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|All in-text reference have a corresponding entry in the citation list||0 | 0.25 | 0.50 | 0.75 | 1.0|
|Total (apply to both Initial and Final page)||15 pts|
Peer-Review Style Paper (Initial and Final Paper):
The team will also turn in a peer reviewed article. To do so you need to document the actual scientific literature with a thorough analysis of experimental objectives, methodologies, major findings, and limitations of the work. Follow the Instructions for Authors guidelines for submitting a journal article to the journal “Climatic Change,” including guidelines for headings, figures, tables, citations, etc. The only exception to these guidelines is the length; we expect 4,000 (minimum) to 6,000 (maximum) words.
Your paper should clearly bound the question you are asking, explicitly answer this question, and address your stakeholders' information needs. To do this, you must draw on a sufficient quantity of research that is of a sufficient quality. You also must integrate this research in a cohesive and informative way, using arguments with clear logic. Your writing needs to convey clear ideas, that are thoughtfully formatted. Connections between ideas must be clearly established. The main statements and arguments must be supported by cited material. Independent analysis must be provided in the form of qualitative and (when/if available) quantitative evidence. In all, your paper needs to present a good balance between being a “summary,” an “analysis,” and a “commentary."
The papers are due as a Word document (no pdf!) in the course website Dropbox by the deadline listed above. For undergraduates, this draft is worth 5% of your final grade in the course; for graduate students, it is worth 10% of your final grade. The week after the initial draft is due, the instructors will return the document to you with track changed comments. The final paper (again worth 5% of undergraduate and 10% of graduate student final grade) will be due by the deadline listed above. The rubric for both the initial and final draft of the paper is located here: Peer-Review Style Paper Rubric.
Presentations should be timed to last 20 minutes and incorporate all team members. Then, we will have 10 minutes of questions and answers. The total amount of time allotted per team is 30 minutes. Presentations should be given as if you were presenting the results of commissioned research to your clients or stakeholders. You can use whatever format you think will be most effective in conveying your question, how you bounded the question, your approach to answering the question, your data collection strategy, your data analysis/synthesis strategy, and your reflections/conclusions/recommendations. You should also highlight the limitation of your study (and/or the limitation of current scientific knowledge). The goal is to engage your audience (not just reading a web page or a ppt). To this effect, please use visuals (figures and tables) to highlight main points. Avoid reading text to your audience during the presentation.
You are not expected to go over all the details of your research. The details of your research will be evaluated as your instructors will grade your paper and your web page. Your oral presentation should encapsulate your project work in a compelling way. Your team will be assigned a day to present as indicated above. The presentation is worth 10 points or 10% of your final grade. The rubric you will be graded on is here: Team Project Final Presentation Rubric.
Grading Your Teammates
After the preliminary presentation and after the final presentation you will be asked to assess your contribution to the team effort (self-evaluation) and the contribution of your teammate(s). There will be a grade adjustment based on your individual completion of part II of the Team Planning and Evaluation Form that your team submitted early in the semester outlining roles and responsibilities of each team member. The grade adjustment of your preliminary presentation and final presentation will range from zero (no adjustment, all team members contributed equally and/or as planned to the project) to +/- 5 points (reflecting lesser/greater contribution of individuals comprising the team) — a not insignificant adjustment!