Journal article or news story for anthprology class

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Purpose

The purpose of this assignment is to reinforce your understanding of evolutionary theory and related concepts, and to help you practice communicating knowledge. Clear communication is an important skill not just in anthropology or other academic disciplines, but for any number of jobs when you’re explaining an idea (or set of ideas) to other people.

Skills

This assignment will help you practice the following skills:

  • Module-level objective 1.1: You will be able to differentiate among several concepts central to evolutionary theory (e.g., mutation, gene flow, genetic drift).
  • Module-level objective 1.2: You will be able to identify examples of concepts from evolutionary theory in current scientific literature or news stories.
  • Module-level objective 1.3: You will be able to describe research findings in biological anthropology using terms from evolutionary theory.

Tasks

  1. Search the internet for a recent (past few years is fine) scientific journal article or news article that relates a research finding in biological anthropology (anything about human ecology/biology, human evolution, or about non-human primates, basically!). The example should be related to one of the evolutionary theory concepts we learned about (mutation, gene flow, genetic drift, natural selection, selection pressures, etc.). For example, your article or news story could be about some new genetic mutation that has been discovered in humans, or about the lack of gene flow in some non-human primate species that is causing declining genetic diversity.
  2. Provide a paragraph to page-long summary of the findings, being sure to point out how the finding is an example of the evolutionary concept we learned about. This requires that you fully explain the evolutionary concept to show that you understand it along with the research finding.
  3. Be sure to provide the link to the recent news story or article.

Criteria for Success

Be sure that the article or news story is from a reputable source. A blog post by a non-expert is not a reputable source! Good sources include websites supported by academic journals (Nature, Science, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, American Journal of Primatology, Evolutionary Anthropology, etc.), museums, universities (summary pages of faculty research findings), organizations (such as National Geographic), or newspapers (e.g., New York Times).

This is a graded assignment worth 8 POINTS (out of a possible 105 points you can earn in the class). Please refer to the rubric for how the assignment will be graded.

A successful assignment will be in the student’s own words, and will clearly explain how the research finding links to one of the evolutionary concepts learned. You will need to paraphrase what they found (summarize in your own words); we do not use quotes in biological anthropology scientific writing. An unsuccessful response is one that does not summarize the research finding in the student’s own words, does not attempt to link the research finding to an evolutionary concept, or has many spelling and/or grammatical errors.

Rubric

Rubric for Research Article/News Story Writing Assignment

Rubric for Research Article/News Story Writing Assignment

Criteria Ratings Pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeWas write-up in your own words?Be sure not to plagiarize! Summary must be written in student’s own words.

2.0 pts

Full Marks

Written in own words.

0.0 pts

No Marks

Not in own words.

2.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDid you provide the link to the article/story?Student must provide the link to show where the article/story was obtained.

2.0 pts

Full Marks

Link provided from a reputable source.

0.0 pts

No Marks

No link provided, or comes from a disreputable source (blog, wikipedia – often times, info is incorrect there!).

2.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeProofreading/clarityMinimal/no typos?

1.0 pts

Full marks

No or minimal grammatical errors or misspellings.

0.0 pts

No Marks

Proofreading was not done, and writing contains many grammatical errors and/or typos.

1.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeNew research finding is explained and linked to evolutionary concept, which is also explained.

3.0 pts

Full Marks

A clear explanation is provided for both the research finding and the evolutionary concept it is linked to (or is an example of).

2.0 pts

Something is missing

The link between the research finding and the evolutionary concept is missing – or the research finding is not an example of (or not linked to) the concept named, though an attempt is made to explain both.

0.0 pts

No marks

Student neglects to explain the current research finding, or does not explain the evolutionary concept it is connected to.

3.0 pts

Total Points: 8.0

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