Document Type


Publication Date



❏ This Research Paper Assignment is designed for NSF & LMF courses (STEM majors). The assignment is to have students research a global scientific issue. Possible topics that work well for this assignment contain solar panel use, the increase in health issues (like respiratory or mental health conditions) due to global warming/climate change, animal (and other living organism) extinction (or increase) due to global warming, sea level rise, coastal flooding, how the increase in ocean plastics affects the ocean and its species (which affect the environment/climate), etc. However, any global scientific topic will do.

❏ The assignment’s main objectives are to scaffold the overall research paper to improve students’ Inquiry and Problem Solving (IPS) and Global Learning (GL) competencies.

❏ The IPS competency is scaffolded with 2 CER worksheets that help students analyze their research sources using the Claim Evidence Reasoning and Rebuttal (CER) method, which they will utilize in LaGuardia’s Natural Sciences Courses. The CER method is the Scientific Method, which uses more everyday language. For example, instead of being asked to formulate a hypothesis, students generate a testable claim. By convention, this method is referred to as the CER Method. However, I include the second “R”, and write CERR Method, to remind students to include possible contradictions, challenges, and/or rebuttals to experiments they do and while researching studies in scientific journals and from other sources.

❏ Additionally, there is a worksheet with prompts that ask students to reflect on the 3 dimensions of the Global Learning Competencies, based on their research topics, to enhance students’ ability with this competency.

❏ Students are expected to work on these worksheets throughout the semester. The worksheets are due, at different times throughout the semester, before the final paper is due. Ideally the first worksheet is due the fourth week of lecture, typically 1 – 2 weeks after the first library visit. The second and third worksheets are due the 6th and 8th week of lecture, respectively.

❏ The first two worksheets are the same CERR method worksheets. Students will complete one worksheet for each of the 2 articles they must use for their research.

❏ To further help students organize and engage with what they learn from their research, students are also required to complete a 3-5-minute Power Point presentation. The in-class presentation is due at least a week before the final paper is due, either the ninth or tenth week of the semester. This is a great opportunity for the entire class to share what they learned and to give each other feedback about the organization, content, and overall delivery of each other’s research before the final paper is due.

❏ There is a presentation guideline and grading rubric that is to be discussed before the presentations; it is better to discuss the rubric with the class at least a week before the presentation is due. Students have the grading rubric and a grade sheet for each presenter so they can score each presenter and write down notes to give feedback to the presenters. I collect the score sheets to view how students evaluated each other’s presentations and as proof of participation during presentation day. However, the score sheets do not affect the students’ presentation grade. Having students fill out the score sheets is an in-class activity meant to keep students focused on the presentations. Students are required to give presenters feedback, and/or ask questions, to earn “Class-Participation” points for the day; students may lose up to 2% of their total grade for each lecture they do not participate in.

❏ The final paper is also outlined for format and content, which is like the presentation guideline and worksheets. The paper outline further describes, and specifies, the types of information to include in each section of the research paper. The point of this document is to prepare students for what their own papers and lab reports should include as they progress with their classes. The final paper is due 1 – 2 weeks after the presentation is due, which is the 11th or 12th week of the semester.

❏ The worksheet component of this assignment is worth 10% of the grade. The two CERR worksheets are worth 3% (6% for 2 worksheets). The Global Learning Worksheet counts toward 4% of the final grade. The Power Point Presentation is worth 5% and the final paper is also worth 5%. The research assignment totals 20% of the final course grade.


This resource is part of the First Year Seminar Curricular Resources.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.