The background section of your paper conveys to your reader

The background section of your paper conveys to your reader

The background section of your paper conveys to your reader

Background Section:
The
background section of your paper conveys to your reader what previous work has been
done in this area of scientific endeavor so that they can see how your new work
fits into this broader picture. Therefore, your background section will be based
primarily on other work published in the peer-reviewed literature However, it
should NOT read like a book report where the author or the publication is the
subject of the discussion. Instead, you should focus the discussion on the
science and the state of knowledge, using the parenthetical citations to give
appropriate credit to the researchers.
Example of what
NOT to do: “Dr. Shaiman mapped the area in her publication “Mass wasting hazards
in Northern Oregon” published in 2006. She discovered that there are many potential
landslides surrounding Mt. Hood based on the slope and water saturation levels.
The paper recommended that future research focus on recent ash flows and river
sediments as these areas as they are the most likely to result in mass
wasting.”
Good example: “Detailed
mapping combined with analysis of slope and water saturation levels suggests that
many areas around Mt. Hood contain potential landslide hazards (Shaiman, 2006).
Areas containing recent ash flows and river sediments may be most likely to
produce mass wasting events. Therefore, further study is needed to better
understanding how recent sediments may drive mass wasting in the region
(Shaiman, 2006).”
The information you cover in your background section will vary
widely based on the topic of your research paper, but possible topics include
one or more of the following:
1.
Geologic setting of your study area, including
previous work that has been done in your study area. What is the tectonic
context? What have other studies inferred about the local or regional geology?
2.
Geologic context for your
process/system/material. Where is it typically found? How is it typically formed?
Why is it important to understand?
3.
Description of your measurement or analysis
technique and how it has been previously applied to similar systems.
If you cover more than one of these areas you may want to
divide your background section into subheadings to help organize your document.

The purpose of the background section is to provide your
reader with sufficient context to understand WHY you are conducting your study as well as WHAT has been done before. This will allow you to demonstrate HOW your work will move scientific
understanding forward by filling a gap in our current understanding or
testing a previously posed hypothesis. As you develop your background section,
try to move from general descriptions to more specific observations or
examples. This will help your reader understand the general context for your
work, as well as see the direction you are headed in the following methods and
results sections.

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GeoWriting—Background
Rubric

1
Document-scale
organization (2 pts) Is the background section organized? Does it move from general to specific?

Definitely 2

Mostly

Marginally

Not Really 0

2
Paragraph-scale
organization (2 pts) Are your paragraphs well organized? Do the sentences
flow in a logical order? Does each paragraph have a point?

Definitely 2

Mostly

Marginally

Not Really 0

3
Mechanics (2 pts) Are the grammar,
sentence structures, and spelling correct throughout your paper?

Definitely 2

Mostly

Marginally

Not Really 0

4
Content: (8 pts)Does the
background provide sufficient information to give your reader a good
understanding of the problem and state of the field? Does it provide support
for your claims? Does the background establish how your paper will move the
field forward from where it currently is?

Definitely 8

Mostly

Marginally

Not Really 0

5
Precise: (1 pts) Are the right
words used correctly in your background? Is there a balance between general
statements and specific details?

Definitely 1

Mostly

Marginally

Not Really 0

6
Clear: (1 pts)Isthe writing simple and straight forward,avoiding needless complexity (words, phrases, sentences)?Does the text include unambiguousword choice, syntax, pronouns, and punctuation?

Definitely 1

Mostly

Marginally

Not Really 0

7
Forthright: (1
pt)Doesthe background have a professional tone? Arepretentious words, arrogant phrases, and sillinesseliminated or absent from the text?Are sentences constructed withstrong nouns and verbs?

Definitely 1

Mostly

Marginally

Not Really 0

8
Familiar: (1 pt)Does the
text define unfamiliar terms and/or incorporate examples and
analogies to give the audience an anchor in familiar ideas?

Definitely 1

Mostly

Marginally

Not Really 0

9
Concise: (1 pts)Have redundancies
and deadwood phrases been eliminated from the
text? Are sentences reduced to their simplest
forms without bureaucratic waste?

Definitely 1

Mostly

Marginally

Not Really 0

10
Fluid: (1 pts) Do the sentence
rhythms vary through sentence openers, lengths, and
structure? Are the paragraphs separated appropriately? Are discontinuities connected
effectively? Are there clear transitions between ideas presented in
the text?

Definitely 1

Mostly

Marginally

Not Really 0

Score:_________/20______

 

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