2018 Team Projects

This page provides a description of the team project, as well as guidelines, steps and instructions, and deadlines.

Overview | Steps | 2017 Projects | Annotated Bibliography and Outline | Discussion/Partial Report | Undergraduate Website | Graduate Peer-review Style Paper | Final Presentation

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:

  1. February 15: Students will learn some basic aspects of library search database.
  2. February 15: Students will explore the webpages created in previous semesters and generate possible project ideas.
  3. February 22: Team composition and topics will be determined.
  4. February 22: Students will learn about planning, executing and evaluating effort from each team member.
  5. February 27 (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.
  6. March 8: 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:

  1. March 1 (9:00 pm deadline): Each team will turn in an annotated bibliography and outline.
  2. 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.
  3. March 20-22 (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.
  4. April 10 (11:59 pm deadline): Teams will submit a final draft of their peer-review style paper.
  5. April 17-26 (4:00 pm deadline): Teams will present the results of their work in a final presentation. On the date of their presentation, teams will have developed the final draft of their webpage that presents the results of their analysis. Also on this date students will complete Part II of the planning and evaluation document and upload it in the dropbox.
  6. 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 Project Mentor
    A * Will, Sarah, Saida * * Agri. | Local culture | Food Justice * * Ginny *
    B * Robyn & Janice * * GMO * * Ginny *
    C * Falon & Katie* * Agric. | Environnent | Water * * Michel *
    D * April & Sam * * Subsidies | Agr. Policies * * Ginny *
    E *Justin & Ayla * * Dietary Choices | ....  | .... * * Michel *
    F *Elias & John* * Dietary Choices | .... | .... * * Michel *
    G *Bailey & Pablo* * Carbon footprint of sheep vs. beef | .... | .... * * Michel *

    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
    0 0.2 0.4 0.5

    Team-lead Project Discussion/Partial (webpage) Report:
    Design a 10-12 minute presentation that will help you share with the rest of the class the current status of effort to this point. Then, we will have 5 minutes of "two-way" class discussion during which you can ask questions to your classmates about areas you would like inputs on and during which your classmates and instructors will have the opportunity to ask you questions. 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.

    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.

    For presenting students, include in your presentation what has been accomplished to date and what you anticipate remains to be done. Feel free to be creative, but more specifically 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.

    The discussion and associated assignments are worth 10 points or 10% of your final grade. The rubric by which this will be graded is here: Team Presentation Rubric.

    Website (Initial and Final Version):

    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. The initial draft of the website is due by 4:00 pm on the day you lead discussion (3/20 or 3/22). 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 by 4:00 pm on the day you give your final presentation (4/17-4/26) . 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 is here: Website Rubric.

    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 paper is due as a Word document (no pdf!) in the course website Dropbox by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, 3/13. 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 following week the instructors will return the document to you with track changed comments and a revised draft (again worth 5% of undergraduate and 10% of graduate student final grade) will be due by 11:59 pm on 4/10. The rubric for both the initial and final draft of the paper is located here: Peer-Review Style Paper Rubric.

    Final Presentation
    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 between 4/17 and 4/26. 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

    The final deliverable you will be asked to submit to the instructors will be a grade of the teammates who worked with you on your project. This grade will be based on the completed worksheet your team submitted early in the semester that outlined roles and responsibilities of each team member. The average of your peers' grading will lead the instructors to adjust your final grade by +/- 5 points, a not insignificant amount.

Keywords:group project, research, team   Doc ID:59168
Owner:Michel W.Group:DS 471 Food Production Systems and Sustainability
Created:2015-12-28 12:49 CDTUpdated:2018-03-17 18:04 CDT
Sites:DS 471 Food Production Systems and Sustainability
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