Assigned topic: “Book Report of The Environment in World History by Mosley”
Designated source: Stephen Mosley, The Environment in World History. New York: Routledge, 2010. ISBN-10: 041540956X
What to do: In this book report, you should summarize the content of all the chapters, analyze and comment on the above book as a whole. For your analysis and comment, you should include your evaluation (good or bad) of the book; the reasons you like or dislike it; the things you have learned from it; how it helps you understand better history and the environmental problems today; etc.
No external/other sources please. Using sources other than the above receives NO CREDIT.
Documentation: In writing, if it is the author’s (your) own idea, the author does not need to document sources. When using ideas and information from other sources, one must cite the sources or give citations. For this essay, indicate your sources in parentheses (Mosley 103 or Mosley, chapter 1). For example, you may write, “Mosley highlights four factors that have driven environmental change: population growth, technological advance, economic expansion, and cultural attitude to nature (Mosley 9-10).”
Using other peoples’ ideas and information WITHOUT DOCUMENTATION OR CITATION is called plagiarism, just like stealing things from a store without paying for it. A report without documentation or citation receives NO CREDIT, a report with scarce documentation/citation receives low grade. This means that you must sufficiently document your report by indicating your sources.
Quotation and paraphrase: Quote sparingly. You quote only when you feel extremely strong that only the original words can express the point. A report full of quotations receives extremely low or NO CREDIT. When one quotes an original sentence or passage, one must use quotation marks to indicate it. For example, Laichen Sun says, “No matter how ugly it is, it is your own baby” (Laichen Sun, “110B Book Report Guideline”). Often the time you paraphrase a source, this means to change the way the idea is expressed, but the idea remains. In this case, you do not use quotation marks but you still need to give citations. For example: Laichen Sun emphasizes, a book report may not be a great one, or it even can be a very bad one, but one must do it himself or herself. He means that one must do his or her own work, cheating and plagiarizing are prohibited (Laichen Sun, “110B Book Report Guideline”).
Organization: To organize your essay better, you must have an Introduction (informing briefly what you are going to do in your essay and state your point/assessment of the book. Then you should present a summary of the chapters. Afterwards, you should analyze and comment on the content of the book (not throwing out some comments on environmental issues generally), including the TURNING POINTS in global environmental history (that is, an age or era that humankind affected the environment significantly). This section is extremely important and crucial, because a book report with only a summary of its content and without sufficient comment receives very low grade. When finishing these, you should summarize what you have done briefly and reiterate your evaluation of the book in your Conclusion.
The organization should be as follows: Part I: Introduction (no more than half a page); Part II: Summary of the chapters (around two pages); Part III: Analysis of and comment on the book (around two pages); Part IV: Conclusion (no more than half a page)
Specific requirements: You must have a title page. Four to five (4-5) pages (excluding the title page), double space; 12 font size of Time New Roman; one inch margin on each side; no bigger spacing between paragraphs. In addition, the report must be typed.
Grading criteria: The grading of the report will be based on depth (this requires that you engage deeply with the book and analyze it critically; do not stay on the surface, get into the book!), coverage or comprehensiveness, quality of writing (organization, grammar, spelling, punctuation, clarity, etc.; beware of the difference between “it’s” and “its;” “then” vs. “than;” “led” as the past tense of “lead;” “where” vs. “were,” “there” vs. “their,” use present tense when discussing the book: Mosley says/states/argues/concludes that…) and comment/analysis, length (points will be deducted for a report with less than 4 pages), documentation, organization, coherence, and other relevant criteria. Also, vary your wording and try to use different expressions. For example, do not write repeatedly “I feel that…”, “I feel that…”, and “I feel that…”. Employ synonyms and express it differently.
Last but not least, do not forget to insert page numbers for your own writing!
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