Tips on formatting and writing

  • Please use 11pt Arial font and 1.5 spacing.

  • When you use a quotation or cite a specific piece of information, please use in-text citations and provide page numbers if they are available. Like this: (Fortun 2009, p4). You don't need a cite for common knowledge (that cars cause air pollution, for example) but don't forget that "common knowledge" can be contested on environmental issues, so cite when you can.

  • When you are referring to an explanation made by one of the authors you read, you should point this out. You can say something like this: “According to journalists Joe McCabe and Lisa Ifie, citizens of Pune are increasingly concerned about air pollution and think the problem is caused by having too many cars on the road.”

  • If you use a direct quote in your report, try to use a framing phrase or sentence, like this: “A 2014 report by Greenpeace, argues that “the government of Canada should monitor water quality near drilling sites…. “ If the quote is longer than two lines, indent it. Like this:
Researchers Faller and Want explain that
In order to distinguish between the two African countries with "Congo" in their names, the Republic of the Congo is sometimes called Congo-Brazzaville, as opposed to Congo-Kinshasa (the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known from 1971 to 1997 as Zaire, the capital of which is Kinshasa). Kinshasa lies on the southern bank of the Congo, across from Brazzaville. This is the only place in the world where two national capital cities are situated on opposite banks of a river, within sight of each other (Faller and Wang 2015).

  • Your bibliography needs to include full references (in any style: MLA, Chicago, etc.). Like this:

Koua Stephen Faller, and Pr Yang Shu Wang. "The Major Environmental Problems in Congo Brazzaville: Case of Brazzaville." Journal of Finance and Accounting 3.1 (2015): 1-7. http://pubs.sciepub.com/jfa/3/1/1/ Accessed February 19, 2016.

  • Try to include brief details on the source of the information you are sharing. If you are describing the food waste in your city, for example, add a sentence that explains how we know how much food is wasted in the city. Like this: “A 2014 study by the Brazilian government showed that food waste in Rio de Janeiro increased by five times in the last decade.”

  • Throughout your report, try to explain why things are as you describe, and what the impacts are. If a river in your city is very polluted, for example, explain how and when it became polluted, and who this impacts.

Tips on writing titles and abstracts

Your title should hint at the argument you will make in your research report – about what is most important in understanding the environmental challenges and accomplishments of your city.

Your abstract should be a brief but thorough overview of your research report. It should include one or two sentences on each of the following.

Aims: The aim of my research was to identify environmental problems in Shanghai, and how people are trying to solve them.

Methods: To conduct the research, I read many news articles…..

Findings: I learned that one of the most critical environmental problems in Shanghai has a surprising cause….

[Here, really try to help develop an argument about what it is most important to understand about your city. Is Bhopal today still impacted by the chemical disaster there in 1984, for example? Has very rapid population growth overwhelmed the city, in turn creating other problems? Is Newark still impacted by industries that are long gone, but left a pollution legacy? Are there causes of environmental problems that at first seem unrelated to the environment (like drug traffic in Colombia, for example)?]

Action items: In the future, I think priority actions in Moscow should include… .

Tips on writing introductions

There are many ways to start a research report. Often, it is very effective to start with a figure or example that catches your readers/audience’s attention. Like this:

On a normal day in Bangkok, many people spend up to three hours n their cars getting to work, and just as long returning home in the evening. This is partly due to dramatic growth in the number of car’s on Bangkok’s’ roads in recent years, making traffic one of Bankok's most intractable problems. Bangkok’s traffic slows down the city, and causes terrible air pollution.

In this research report, I describe many environmental problems in Bangkok, and how people are trying to solve them. I have identified three problems as most important: xxx, yyyy, and zzz. I have also identified three important projects to help solve environmental problems in Bangkok. In the following sections, I describe the environmental history and footprint of Bangkok, then provide more details on Bangkok's most important environmental problems and solutions. In my conclusion, I discuss priority actions and further research that needs to be done to understand and protect the environment in Bangkok.

Tips on the middle sections of your report

-- In your section on environmental footprints, make sure to say explain what an environmental footprint is, and how you have decided to measure it. Like this:

An “environmental footprint” is a way to measure and think about the impact that cities have on the environment. It includes measures of the energy and resources that the city uses, and of the waste and pollution the city creates. There are many ways to measure a city’s environmental footprint. For my study of Berlin, I have chosen to use these indicators: population growth rate, rate of deforestation, food system and waste, transportation systems, and energy use. Below I provide more details.

-- In your section on environmental problems, try to answer these questions for each problem you describe (the information should be in your memos and annotations; you may need to look for it):
1) What is the problem, and what is its magnitude? (provide numbers or examples that give your readers as sense of how big a problem it is)

2) What groups of people are most impacted by the problem?

3) What are the causes of the problem?

4) How are people trying to solve the problem, and how successful have they been?

-- For your section on environmental solutions in your city, try to answer these questions for each solution you describe:
1) What solution are you focusing on, and what problem does it address?
2) HOW does the solution help address the problem? (give details on how it works)
3) Who developed and implemented the solution? (This may be a person or an organization.)
4) How well is it working? Do people have different perspectives on how well it is working?
5) Does this solution seem durable, or likely to fall apart?
6) Can you think of ways to make it more durable?

Tips on writing conclusions

The conclusion of your research should summarize and synthesize your research, then open up new questions to ask about your city. You should try to give your reader a new way of thinking about the city you are writing about -- by directing their attention to its most important problems, for example, or by showcasing its sustainability accomplishments. You should also point to priority actions, and questions to be asked in future research.

In your conclusion, do the following:
1) Re-state the aims of your research, then describe each section in one sentence.
2) Re-state your argument – what you think is most important about your city’s environmental problems and accomplishments.
3) Explain what you think should be priority actions for advancing environmental sustainability in your city in the future.
4) Describe further research questions that need to be explored to help direct environmental protection in you city in the future.