It can be difficult to choose a topic for a term paper without in-depth knowledge of existing research. These mini papers will help you explore current questions in animal behavior research and organize your findings.
Choose three topics related to animal behavior. Topics that are questions are especially effective. Some examples:
- Is behavior different between wild dolphins and captive dolphins?
- Do humans misinterpret their pets’ behaviors to be more human-like than they are?
- How do animals change behaviors to reduce their risk of contracting diseases?
- How consistently do researchers measure animal behavior?
Each mini paper will be at least two pages long, double-spaced. Cite the scholarly articles that you discuss. Discuss at least two articles, but there is no upper limit; discuss as many as you need to describe what is known on the topic. The goal is not to give a detailed account of each article but to describe the general state of knowledge using the articles as examples. Each mini paper is worth 5 points and will be discussed in class to help you refine your topic and search strategies.
Note: if the topics of your mini papers are related, you may arrange them in order, elaborate with details from some additional sources, and add an introduction and a conclusion; you’ll find that you’ve written most of your term paper already! You may also choose unrelated topics for the mini papers to explore the amount of research available for different potential term paper topics.
- Substance (50% of grade)
- The topic and scope of the mini paper are clearly described.
- A general overview of existing research is given, using some articles as examples.
- The value of researching and understanding the topic is described convincingly. Why is this worth knowing?
- A direction for future research is suggested. What don’t we know on this topic? Why is it important that we find out?
- Structure (30% of grade)
- The mini paper is organized in a logical manner.
- Ideas are connected and transitions are clear.
- At least two articles are discussed.
- The mini paper is at least two pages long, excluding the title, header, and Works Cited section.
- Information is cited properly.
- Style (20% of grade)
- There are no spelling or grammatical errors.
- Sentence structure is effective.
- Discipline-specific terms are defined.