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University of Toronto Mississauga
Department of Geography • Academic Year 2010-2011

GGR417Y5 Research Project

 

 Instructor: Pierre Desrochers

 

 Lectures: Tuesday 1-2PM

 

 Phone: (905) 828-5206

Office: Davis Building, room 3273

 

 Lecture room: SE 1153

 

 E-mail: pierre.desrochers@utoronto.ca

 

Course Description

This course is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge required to conduct independent academic research, such as would be expected at the graduate level of study. This course thus serves as an excellent precursor to graduate studies for those students thinking of continuing in academia. Students will work on a research project in their area of interest, under the supervision of a faculty member with expertise and research interests in the topic area. Through semi-regular meetings with the course coordinator, and in collaboration with the students' supervisor, students in the course will learn how to identify potential research questions, acquire methodological skills and research skills appropriate for addressing the research question, and conduct primary research / data collection and analysis appropriate for the addressing of the research question. Finally, students in the course will write up their results in a full-length research report, and present their findings to the class.

Nota Bene
Before entering the course, students will have arranged for one faculty member to act as the student's supervisor. This faculty supervisor should be an expert in the topic area in which the student plans to conduct research, and will be responsible for supervising the student's research programme as outlined in this syllabus. Students should meet with their supervisor in the first week of class, and schedule a regular set of meetings at times agreeable to both the student and supervisor. Students should meet with the supervisor at least eight (8) times over the two terms of the course. Students should direct questions pertaining to the requirements of the course (assignments, format, timing, etc) to the course instructor, whereas questions pertaining to the content, method, and literature related to the research (i.e.: anything requiring expert knowledge) should be directed to the supervisor. The supervisor will grade the final research report.

Course Objectives

The objectives of this course are to:

1. Develop research skills adequate to the addressing of a research question at an advanced level;
2. Acquire knowledge and skills concerning alternate methods of data collection and analysis;
3. Develop critical analytical skills and research habits;
4. Develop writing and presentation skills appropriate for the communication of advanced academic research;
5. Produce a research project that contributes to the literature on the chosen topic and that advances the field of academic knowledge.
 

Contacting the instructor

You can contact me at pierre.desrochers@utoronto.ca.

Please read the course syllabus before e-mailing a question or expect a one line answer telling you to look it up if the answer is already there.

Always use your University of Toronto e-mail address (@utoronto.ca) for all course-related communications. E-mails from other domains (e.g., hotmail, Rogers, gmail, yahoo, etc.) may be filtered as spam and will at any rate be ignored. Always include the course code (e.g., GGR417Y5) as part of your subject line, along with your full name and student number in the body of the e-mail. E-mails will be answered during office hours as promptly as possible. Please note that I do not open attachments and will not answer during week-ends.

The first person that you should e-mail concerning department- or program-related queries or to submit documentation regarding a missed assignment, quiz, or test is the Academic Counsellor for Geography/Environment, Sabrina Ferrari (sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca).

E-mail should NOT be viewed as an alternative to meeting with the TA or professor during office hours. Nor should e-mail be used as a mechanism to receive private tutorials (especially prior to tests) or to explain material that was covered in missed lectures. Not receiving replies to e-mails from the TA or professor, or not receiving them in time, will not be an acceptable excuse for pleas for extensions to assignment or exam deadlines.

Students are advised to consult www.enough.utoronto.ca for information on university policy concerning the appropriate use of information and communication technology.

© PhD Comics
 

Department of Geography Late assignment/Missed Test Policy

This is the departmental policy for late assignments and missed tests. Please note that the penalty related to your proposal is different. In this particular case, I apply my own policy as specified on the syllabus.

I
n-class or Online QUIZ/TESTS: Students CANNOT petition to re-write a quiz/test once the test has begun. If you are feeling ill, please do not start the online or in-class test and seek medical attention immediately. You must have a physician fill out a U of T Student Medical Certificate and submit a request via the online Special Consideration Request form @ https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest within 24 hours.

Online Submissions for Term Work: It is every student’s responsibility to ensure that their online submission is submitted successfully by the due date. Accommodations will not be made for unsuccessful submissions due to, but not limited to, i) the system timing out ii) submitting the incorrect document(s) iii) poor internet connection / no internet connection etc.

Missed Term Work (Assignment/Lab - as per Department of Geography policy):
Late assignments will be subject to a late penalty of 10% per day (including weekends) of the total marks for the assignment. Assignments submitted five calendar days beyond the due date will be assigned a grade of zero.

Academic accommodation can be made when an assignment is late. For accommodations on late/missed assignments please see section on "Extension of Time".

Missed Term Work (Quiz/Test - as per Department of Geography policy):
In courses with final exams, there will be no re-writes or make-ups for term tests/quizzes missed for University-accepted, verifiable reasons. Instead, the final exam will be re-weighted by the value of the term test/quiz.

Requesting Academic Accommodation using the Online Special Consideration Request Application: In Geography and Environment courses, professors cannot grant extensions on term work or allow makeups for missed items. If you ask for and receive an extension or a makeup date directly from a professor, without following the appropriate steps as outlined in this document, it will be invalid and may be revoked at any time by the departmental petitions committee.

Informing Your Professor and Submitting Appropriate Documentation:
The following steps must be completed in order to be considered for academic accommodation for any course work such as missed tests or late assignments:

1. Students must inform their professor in writing (e-mail is acceptable) within 24 hours of a test date/assignment due date of any circumstances that prevent them from writing a test or submitting an assignment on time.
2. Students must complete an online Special Consideration Request @ https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest. Students who miss a test due to circumstances beyond their control (e.g. illness or an accident) can request that the Department grant them special consideration. You must inform your instructor within 24 hours and you have up to one (1) week from the date of the missed test to submit your online request (late requests will NOT be considered without a "letter of explanation" as to why the request is late). You must present your case to the Department (not the Instructor). Note: The system only supports Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox for the time being.
3. Original supporting documentation (e.g. Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, accident report, etc) MUST BE SUBMITTED to the DROP BOX (labeled "Environment and Geography Petition Documentation") located outside Room 3282, Davis Building. Supporting documentation is required within 48 hours of submitting your online request.
Please Note: If you missed your test for a reason connected to your registered disability, please be advised that the department will accept documentation supplied by the UTM AccessAbility Resource Centre.
Note: (i) ROSI declarations are not accepted as supporting documentation.
(ii) If your reason for absence is due to a last minute flight due to a family emergency (illness/death etc.) you must provide your flight itinerary INCLUDING the date the flight was purchased as well as boarding passes in addition to proof of death/illness/accident.
4. Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms MUST include the statement "This Student was unable to write the test on date(s) for medical reasons". Documentation MUST show that the physician was consulted within ONE day of the test date. A statement merely confirming a report of illness made by the student is NOT acceptable (such as, "This patient tells me that he was feeling ill on that day."). Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms can be found on the Office of the Registrar's webpage (http://www.illnessverification.utoronto.ca/getattachment/index/Verification-of-Illness-or-Injury-form-Jan-22-2013.pdf.aspx).

Please complete the following:
- Special request link: https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest
- Verification of Illness form: http://www.illnessverification.utoronto.ca/

Please note that the written explanation and documentation that you submit represents an appeal from you, requesting the opportunity to account for that portion of your grade in some other manner. If an appeal is not received, or if the appeal is deemed unacceptable, you will receive a grade of zero for the item you missed. If the appeal is granted - that is, your reason for missing the item is considered acceptable by the committee - then a mechanism for accounting for the grade value of the missed item will be discussed.

A Departmental committee evaluates each request. Decisions will be communicated by email within two weeks of receipt of all completed documents. Note: It is your responsibility to ensure your email account is working and able to receive emails. Claims that a Departmental decision was not received will NOT be considered as a reason for further consideration. Contact Sabrina Ferrari (sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca) Academic Counselor, should you NOT receive notification of your decision within 2 weeks of submission.

Note that holidays and pre-purchased plane tickets, family plans, your friend's wedding, lack of preparation, or too many other tests are not acceptable excuses for missing a quiz, a test, or an item of term work.

Extension of Time
Students are expected to back up their work at all times. As such, extension requests due to computer issues (stolen, crashed, damaged etc.) will not be considered. The following steps must be completed in order to be considered for academic accommodation for any assignment extensions. Assignments handed in AFTER the work has been returned to the class cannot be marked for credit.

1. Students must inform their professor in writing (e-mail is acceptable) IN ADVANCE of an assignment due date of any circumstances that prevent them from submitting their assignment on time.
2. Students must complete an online Special Consideration Request @ https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest IN ADVANCE of the assignment due date. Note: The system only supports Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox for the time being.
3. Original supporting documentation (e.g. Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, accident report, etc) MUST BE SUBMITTED to the DROP BOX (labeled "Environment and Geography Petition Documentation") located outside Room 3282, Davis Building. Supporting documentation is required within one (1) week of submitting your online request.
4. Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms: Documentation MUST show that the physician was consulted within ONE day of the assignment due date. A statement merely confirming a report of illness made by the student is NOT acceptable (such as, "This patient tells me that he was feeling ill on that day."). Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms can be found on the Office of the Registrar's webpage (http://www.illnessverification.utoronto.ca/getattachment/index/Verification-of-Illness-or-Injury-form-Jan-22-2013.pdf.aspx).

Original supporting documentation (e.g. Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, accident report, etc) MUST BE SUBMITTED to the DROP BOX (labeled "Environment and Geography Petition Documentation") located outside Room 3282, Davis Building. Note: ROSI declarations are not accepted as supporting documentation. You are expected to submit your request to the Department before the due date of the assignment, unless demonstrably serious reasons prevent you from doing so. In the event of an illness, if you are seeking a one-day extension, Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms must confirm that you were ill on the due date of the assignment; if you are requesting a longer extension, your documentation must specify exactly the length of the period during which you were unable to carry out your academic work. For extensions of time beyond the examination period you must submit a petition through the Office of the Registrar. http://www.erin.utoronto.ca/index.php?id=6988

A Departmental committee evaluates each request for an extension of time. Decisions will be communicated by email within two weeks of receipt of all completed documents. Please note that students are required to submit their assignment/lab as soon as they are able and they should NOT wait for the decision of the committee. Note: It is your responsibility to ensure your email account is working and able to receive emails. Claims that a Departmental decision was not received will NOT be considered as a reason for further consideration. Contact Sabrina Ferrari (sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca) Academic Counsellor, should you NOT receive notification of your decision within 2 weeks of submission.

It is your responsibility to follow the appropriate procedures and submit requests for special consideration on time. Failure to do so may result in the committee denying your request.
Should you require further information regarding Special Considerations, please contact the Academic Counselor, Sabrina Ferrari
Undergraduate Academic Counselor
Room 3282, Davis Building, Telephone: 905-828-5465
email: sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca

Equity Statement and Academic Rights

The University of Toronto is committed to equity and respect for diversity. All members of the learning environment in this course should strive to create an atmosphere of mutual respect. As a course instructor, I will neither condone nor tolerate behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual in this course and wish to be alerted to any attempt to create an intimidating or hostile environment. It is our collective responsibility to create a space that is inclusive and welcomes discussion. Discrimination, harassment and hate speech will not be tolerated. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns you may contact the UTM Equity and Diversity officer at edo.utm@utoronto.ca or the University of Toronto Mississauga Students' Union Vice President Equity at vpequity@utmsu.ca.

Academic Rights

You, as a student at UTM, have the right to:
- Receive a syllabus by the first day of class.
- Rely upon a syllabus once a course is started. An instructor may only change marks' assignments by following the University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy provision 1.3.
- Refuse to use turnitin.com (you must be offered an alternative form of submission).
- Have access to your instructor for consultation during a course or follow up with the department chair if the instructor is unavailable.
- Ask the person who marked your term work for a re-evaluation if you feel it was not fairly graded. You have up to one month from the date of return of the item to inquire about the mark. If you are not satisfied with a re-evaluation, you may appeal to the instructor in charge of the course if the instructor did not mark the work. If your work is remarked, you must accept the resulting mark. You may only appeal a mark beyond the instructor if the term work was worth at least 20% of the course mark.
- Receive at least one significant mark (15% for H courses, 25% for Y courses) before the last day you can drop a course for H courses, and the last day of classes in the first week of January for Y courses taught in the Fall/Winter terms.
- Submit handwritten essays so long as they are neatly written.
- Have no assignment worth 100% of your final grade.
- Not have a term test worth 25% or more in the last two weeks of class.
- Retain intellectual property rights to your research.
- Receive all your assignments once graded.
- View your final exams. To see a final exam, you must submit an online Exam Reproduction Request within 6 months of the exam. There is a small non-refundable fee.
- Privacy of your final grades.
- Arrange for representation from Downtown Legal Services (DLS), a representative from the UTM Students' Union (UTMSU), and/or other forms of support if you are charged with an academic offence.

Expectations/Classroom Behaviour/Behaviour in the Academic Setting

Our expectation of you is that you will show respect to the Course Instructor, TAs, other faculty, staff, and fellow students. This includes arriving on time and staying for the entire class (so you don't disturb others by your late entry or early departure); listening quietly (so you don't disturb others by your chatting or online activities); approaching your course work with an open, honest spirit and enthusiasm; and otherwise adhering to the Code.

In turn, you can expect the Course Instructor, staff, and TAs to show respect to you and your fellow students; to deliver the best course that they possibly can; to communicate their enthusiasm for the material; to maintain fairness in all aspects of course delivery and assessment; and otherwise to adhere to the University's Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.

Academic Integrity/Honesty or Academic Offenses

It is your responsibility as a student at the University of Toronto to familiarize yourself with, and adhere to, both the Code of Student Conduct and the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.

This means, first and foremost, that you should read them carefully.

  • The Code of Student Conduct is available from the U of T Mississauga website (Registrar > Academic Calendar > Codes and Policies) or in your print version of the Academic Calendar.

  • The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters is available from the U of T Mississauga website (Registrar > Academic Calendar > Codes and Policies) or in your print version of the Academic Calendar.

Another helpful document that you should read is How Not to Plagiarize, by M. Procter.

Further Thoughts on Academic Honesty:
The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters states that:

"The University and its members have a responsibility to ensure that a climate that might encourage, or conditions that might enable, cheating, misrepresentation or unfairness not be tolerated. To this end all must acknowledge that seeking credit or other advantages by fraud or misrepresentation, or seeking to disadvantage others by disruptive behaviour is unacceptable, as is any dishonesty or unfairness in dealing with the work or record of a student." ―University of Toronto Mississauga Academic Calendar

This summarizes what we are all trying to achieve through the implementation of this Code―both students and faculty. We are trying―together―to create an atmosphere of fairness and honesty, in which people can learn and receive appropriate credit for work that they have done. Note that the Code refers specifically to expectations for faculty members, not just for students. It is my responsibility, as a member of the faculty of the University of Toronto, to be familiar with these expectations and adhere to them. There are many additional academic requirements that we are expected to meet with regard to the integrity of course materials, returning of marked work to students, maintenance of student privacy, fairness, grading practices, and others. My TAs and I will make every possible effort to meet these expectations.
 

Accessibility

U of T Mississauga and the AccessAbility Resource Centre are committed to the full participation of students with disabilities in all aspects of campus life. The AccessAbility Resource Centre provides academic accommodations and services to students who have a physical, sensory, or learning disability, mental health condition, acquired brain injury, or chronic health condition, be it visible or hidden. Students who have temporary disabilities (e.g., broken dominant arm) are also eligible to receive services. All interested students must have an intake interview with an advisor to discuss their individual needs.

Students who require accommodation are advised to visit the AccessAbility Resource Centre as early as possible to have their needs assessed, as it may take some time to process the application.

For more information please contact the centre at:
Room 2047, South Bldg.
Tel/TTY: 905-569-4699
E-mail: access.utm@utoronto.ca
Web: www.utm.utoronto.ca/accessability/

Accomodations for Religious Observances

As noted in the the Policy on Scheduling of Classes and Examinations and Other Accommodations for Religious Observances, the following provisions are included:

"It is the policy of the University of Toronto to arrange reasonable accommodation of the needs of students who observe religious holy days other than those already accommodated by ordinary scheduling and statutory holidays.
Students have a responsibility to alert members of the teaching staff in a timely fashion to upcoming religious observances and anticipated absences. Instructors will make every reasonable effort to avoid scheduling tests, examinations or other compulsory activities at these times. If compulsory activities are unavoidable, every reasonable opportunity should be given to these students to make up work that they miss, particularly in courses involving laboratory work. When the scheduling of tests or examinations cannot be avoided, students should be informed of the procedure to be followed to arrange to write at an alternate time.

It is most important that no student be seriously disadvantaged because of her or his religious observances. However, in the scheduling of academic and other activities, it is also important to ensure that the accommodation of one group does not seriously disadvantage other groups within the University community."

With respect to minimum advance notice, the Policy provides that "Students have a responsibility to alert members of the teaching staff in a timely fashion to upcoming religious observances and anticipated absences." Since students would normally be aware of upcoming religious observances as well as examination schedules in advance, a minimum of three weeks advance notice will be considered sufficient.

More information and some dates of potential relevance for the U of T community are available at www.viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/publicationsandpolicies/guidelines/religiousobservances.htm.

As with any academic accommodation request, students must submit an on-line Special Consideration Request @ https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest.

Texts

There is no single text and no required readings for this course. Readings selected from various sources will be occasionally handed out in class or linked to on this website as aids to help students get through each of the stages of the course.

Some general links and readings that students may find helpful:

University of Toronto Mississauga Library:
Subject: Geography
Research Using the Internet
Writing
Research and Writing
How to write a Critical Review of a Journal Article
How to write a Critical Book Review
Citation style

University of Toronto Writing Center
Advice on Academic Writing
Further Resources (other academic institutions)

Others
Detailed discussions
Dissertation Proposal Workshop, Institute of International Studies (UC-Berkeley)
Prof. S. Joseph Levine (Michigan State U.) on "Writing and Presenting your Thesis or Dissertation

Concise statements
Purdue University Online Writing Lab on "Academic Writing" and "Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements"
Dartmouth College Institute for Writing and Rhetoric on "Writing a Thesis"
Prof. John W. Chinneck (Carleton U.) on "How to Organize your Thesis"
Prof. Tim Bretch (University of Waterloo) "A Simple Approach to Thesis Writing"

On the Art of Reading Academic Papers
Prof. Peter Klein (University of Missouri) on "How to Read an Academic Article"

Publishing my research

Publishing in Geography. A Guide for New Researchers (Royal Geographical Society)
A Publishing Resource for Geographers

COURSE ORGANIZATION AND ASSIGNMENTS

The course is organized in a seminar format and will meet on a semi-regular basis as indicated below. The students will complete a number of assignments over the course of the academic year, building up to a research report of between 15 and 25 pages in length (single spaced) and the final presentation of the students' research findings in approximately 20 minutes. Students are required to meet with their supervisors prior to handing in any assignment and are encouraged to schedule regular meetings with them.

The assignments listed below will be graded by faculty supervisors and handed back with comments within two weeks of submission.
 
Weight Item Due Date
5% Discussion of Research Proposal (informal) September 21
10% Annotated Bibliography September 28
10% Research Proposal (1st and 2nd Drafts) October 12 and November 2
10% Presentation of Research Proposal November 16
10% Progress Report (written) January 4
10% First Draft of the Research Report February 8
10% Second Draft of the Research Report March 8
5% Practice Presentation March 15
10% Presentation of the Research Findings March 22
20% Final Draft of the Research Report March 29

There is no final exam or mid-term test for this course.

In-class presentations will be graded by the course instructor, while written assignments will be graded by the faculty supervisor. Students are to hand in their written assignments to the course instructor who will then forward them on to the faculty supervisor for grading. The faculty supervisor will undertake to grade and return the draft and final research reports to the student within two weeks of submission, and to grade and return all other written work within one week of submission.

Penalty for late work is two percentage points (2%) per weekday (the weekend counts as one weekday). Assignments may not be accepted if handed in more than one week after the due date.

Contacting the instructor

I have an open door policy with GGR 417 students. If I'm not in my office or otherwise unavailable, contact me at pierre.desrochers@utoronto.ca and set up an appointment. E-mails must be sent using an official University of Toronto account (www.utorid.utoronto.ca). E-mail from other domains (e.g., hotmail, Rogers, gmail, yahoo, etc.) will be ignored. ALL e-mails must include the course number in the subject line and the student name and ID in the core message. I do not open attachments.

CODE OF CONDUCT AND ACADEMIC HONESTY

Plagiarizing will be dealt with according to university policy. Students are expected to abide by the rules of academic honesty, the code of behaviour on academic matters and the student code of conduct. Failure to do so will be dealt with according to university policy.

LECTURE SCHEDULE

 
Date Topic Work due
September 7 Course Introduction and Overview  
September 14 Library Session on citation search strategies, etc w/ A. Nicholson
The lecture will take place in SE 1150
Will take place in Geography Computer Lab
September 21 Discussion of Research Proposal - informal presentations of your proposed research
September 28 no formal meeting, but: Annotated Bibliography
October 5 no formal meeting  
October 12 no formal meeting, but: 1st Draft of Research Proposal
October 19 no formal meeting  
October 26 Discussion of 1st Draft Research Proposal - informal discussion of changes required for 2nd draft
November 2 no formal meeting, but: 2nd Draft of Research Proposal
November 9 no formal meeting  
November 16 Presentation of Research Proposal - oral presentations
November 23 Progress Report Discussion
Presentation of Research Proposal, II
- discussion of progress to report by January 5
January 4 Discussion of Progress Progress Report
January 11 no formal meeting but: DATA COLLECTION ENDS
January 18 Discussion of Research Report Format  
January 25 no formal meeting  
February 1 no formal meeting  
February 8 no formal meeting, but: 1st Draft of Research Report
February 16 READING WEEK  
February 22 no formal meeting  
March 1 individual discussion of research report (my office) 2nd Draft of Research Report
March 8 2nd Draft of Research Report  
March 15 Practice presentation (NE295, 12-2pm)  
March 22 Presentation of Research Findings (DV 2068B, 11:30-2PM) - formal oral presentations
March 29 no formal meeting, but: Final Draft of Research Report
     
 

DETAILED ASSIGNMENTS


Oral Presentations | Annotated Bibliography | Research Proposal | Progress Report | Draft Report | Final Report
                                - Search Strategy
                                - Critical Appraisal Form

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