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In CS1, you are taking on the perspective of one of four siblings in a family (Tommy, Jenny, Hannah, or Peter), all of whom have opinions based upon their academic coursework regarding whether their mother should go on a Paleo diet. You will work with the other students playing that same sibling in order to prepare for our in-class case study day, which will have you return to your regular group such that all four siblings are represented at a “dinner table” conversation. You will also discuss whether being a high-income, low-income, or cardiovascular disease risk family would change your perspective on this matter.

Your first job is to work with your group to divide up the reading (sources) relevant to your sibling character. Read the articles assigned to you (as well as the articles noted for all students), and (with the exception of those read by all), post 2-4 sentence summaries of the major points on a google doc specific to your sibling group (there will be a Hannah doc, a Jenny doc, etc). Please give me and the TA access to your doc. By the time we engage in the dinner table conversation, you should be completely comfortable with the perspective of your character and, where relevant, with how your character would view the alternate income and disease conditions mentioned in the previous paragraph.

During your dinner table conversation, all four siblings will have the opportunity to present their unique perspectives. In all likelihood, you’ll want to do this by first taking turns speaking, then moving into a round table discussion. You may want to take notes during this discussion, as you will not be familiar with the perspectives of the other siblings, though if everyone has kept a really good google doc going with their sibling groups, this won’t be necessary.. Your “family” will then come up with a consensus for "Mom” with regard to whether she should use a Paleo diet (you can also treat this as a continuum; perhaps you’ll decide some aspects of the diet are good, and others are not good or are unnecessary).

You will then write a paper (I hate page limits, but it’s hard to imagine that you could do this well in less than 8-10 double-spaced pages of 12 point font…and don’t do anything funny with the margins, because that wastes paper and annoys us[1]) in which you will do the following:

  1. Summarize what you think Mom should do. Include the major points made by each sibling, as well as how variations in health or socioeconomic scenarios might affect your family’s decision-making. Note that if you completely disagreed with one of your sibling’s takes on the research s/he was responsible for, it’s ok to present support for your views as opposed to simply presenting what your group decided. Cite sources to support the major points made (you can ask each sibling to provide evidence for their points; you need not have read the research presented by other siblings in order to cite it as something they cited[2]). In the interest of saving time during your dinner table discussion, please get references for points made from the google doc rather than in class.
  2. If you disagreed with the consensus of your “family,” justify your position using research and/or sources that you personally have read.
  3. Provide a formal references section. I don’t care how you format your citations; footnotes, endnotes, in-text…MLA, Chicago, APA…do whatever makes you happy. Just pick a style and stick with it. There are even auto-formatters out there on the web for citations; if you don’t know about them, it’s almost guaranteed one of your classmates does, so ask…they make life so much easier! With regard to number of references, a very quick and dirty rule of thumb for a paper in a science class is one reference for each page (a 10-page paper would have 10 sources). I don’t get excited about counting references; rather, we want to see that you have used crediblescientific sources everywhere that it’s appropriate to do so, and have avoided making statements of scientific fact[3] without citing a source.
  4. Try to avoid quoting sources, in general. Paraphrase (restate in your own words), making sure that you UNDERSTAND what you're paraphrasing. Also, analyze. That is, don't just tell us what the paper said...tell us why it's relevant to the point you're trying to make.

Papers are due on the indicated date. Late papers are penalized at 10% per 24-hour period. Late papers may be submitted by email for the purposes of a time stamp to stop late penalties from continuing to accrue, but cannot be graded until we get a hard copy. Please note that if any changes are made to a late paper between email submission and hard copy submission, the paper will be penalized based upon when the hard copy was handed in.

Note that you do not need to create a "scenario" for your family, as this student's group did. They found it fun to do so, and it was fun for me to read, but it did not influence the grade. You also need not incorporate humor. In fact, I generally discourage it, simply because it's quite an advanced technique in science writing. This student was/is an experienced writer who enjoyed incorporating some humor in order to make points. This is a fun technique, and done well, it makes for very enjoyable reading. It is also VERY hard to do, and even professional scientists generally avoid it, as, if done wrong, it completely distracts from your points and undermines the message. If you are not 100% sure you know how to use humor to good effect in scientific writing, please avoid it!

Please note that this is an exceptional paper, both in terms of the depth of research and level of writing. Please don't be frightened: I am not allowing this paper to "set the bar" for expectations of you. That said, you should bear in mind that this case study represents a significant portion of your course grade, and as such, your prep work and paper should represent a solid portion of the effort and time you put into this class.

Do:

1) Write in passive voice (any sentence to which you can append "by zombies" without sounding as though you're insane is passive voice) and in 3rd person (no "I," "we," "me," or "you"). You'll note that this paper did not use 3rd person or passive voice exclusively; as with humor, the voice/person used in this paper is a very advanced technique that can easily go very badly for a less-experienced writer. If you're not absolutely certain of what you're doing, stick with dispassionate science-speak for this project.

2) Cite sources for all major points you make

3) Paraphrase and analyze sources

4) Check grammar and spelling

5) Format your references in a reasonable manner, in a style of your choice

6) Ask if you have questions!

Do not:

1) Rely upon anecdote or personal experience

2) Use non-scientific sources

3) Form conclusions that are not supported by your research and/or that contradict your research (e.g., don't spend 7 pages debunking the Paleo diet [if that's what you end up doing] and then tell me in your "wealthy family" scenario that they might as well use it, because they can afford it).

4) Turn in work that has not been meticulously edited for grammar and sentence structure. You have peers, we have an excellent writing center on campus, and you can read over your own work: avail yourself of at least one of these.

5) Ignore sustainability: regardless of whether you decide the Paleo diet is a good idea or a bad one, nutritionally-speaking, the impact of a diet on society (via the environment) is a critical consideration in this paper.

6) Ask us to pre-grade papers. If you have specific questions, the TA and I are here to help. We cannot, however, look over your paper and let you know whether it's "good enough" before you turn it in. That's what your peers and the writing center are for. For specific questions, though, please ask! We are here to help.

7) Plagiarize. We are INCREDIBLY good at finding plagiarized papers. Literally, we're a crack plagiarism-finding brute squad. Sentences that you have not written are not your work, and must not be presented as such. Academic dishonesty, even accidental, never ends well. Please ask if you don't know whether something is ok.

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