MAE 124/ESYS 103 Spring 2009

Additional Guidance for Paper 1.

Paper topic:  paper1.pdf
Writing Guide:  writing_guide.pdf
Sample Outline (put together by 2008 TA's):  EXAMPLE_PAPER_OUTLINE.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Can you tell me of any good resources for scientific papers regarding the topics, such as scientific journals that are highly regarded in the field?
We'll continue to talk about this in class, but here are some starting points.

Visit the websites of:

A good way to find scientific papers is by using either Google Scholar or the ISI web of science to search by key words for refereed publications pertinent to your topic. If you are on campus or are using UCSD proxy servers, you should be able to click through to the full publications that come up in your search.
Scientific journals that come to mind:
Water Resources Research
Journal of Hydrology
Journal of Ground Water
Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
American Journal of Agricultural Economics
Water Resources Bulletin

News articles and environmental websites such as the Aquafornia water blog (from your readings) or Earth Portal are useful for overviews , analysis, and recent information. These sources may be credible (or not) depending on how they are written, but regardless they are likely to lead you to credible sources, as well as providing perspective. Here are some starting points:
Los Angeles Time opinion debate Project H2O (April 7-11, 2008)
Earth Portal topic of the week: "Society and water resources", 30 March 2009.

2.  How do we use
See the detailed instructions.

3.  How do I create footnotes? Are endnotes acceptable?
Footnotes and endnotes are both fine. Any consistent format is OK. The Chicago Manual of Style is one standard format, and you can find a detailed discussion of its usage for term papers at this University of Wisconsin writing center site.

You may also use citation methods commonly used for scientific papers, such as numbered references or in line references to author and year, with a full reference list at the end. A sample reference might be "[Smith and Jones, 2006]". In this case, you should be sure to identify specific page numbers where relevant ("[Smith and Jones, 2006, p. 291]"). This Long Island University site explains the American Medical Association style, and this University of Georgia site explains the American Physical Association Style.

4.  How should web pages be cited? What types of web pages are acceptable as sources?
If you use a web page as a source, then you should cite it, providing as much standard reference information as possible: author, title, date, location, etc. Keep in mind that web pages vary considerably in credibility. In general, the most credible information comes from peer-reviewed scholarly publications (which could include electronic journals and electronic reprints posted to web pages---if you use a journal article or other publication that happens to be posted to the web, then please cite it the same way you would cite it if you had found it in the library, with standard information such as author, title, publication year, journal name or publisher, volume number, page numbers, etc.) Researched reports (with citations) from environmental organizations are also often fairly reliable, although they may not have gone through a peer review process. Some web pages are essentially advertising brochures for a particular product, and you should probably assume that the authors are presenting a biased view of their product's features. (Much material also appears in blogs, which can be interesting and provocative, but may not have much real research or information behind them. We don't recommend blogs as primary research sources.)

5.  If I choose to support the plans for a desalination plant at San Onofre, do I need to address the second part of this topic (propose how San Diego should diversify its water resources)?
If you can argue that a desalination plant at San Onofre can meet all of San Diego water needs, then you don't need to consider other options for water resources. However, you might want to think about what would happen in the event of a desalination plant maintenance shutdown.

6.  How do I request an extension?
Please contact your TA. Note that if we grant an extension for the April 9/10 deadline, that will not extend to the other deadline.

8.  Does the preliminary plan (due on April 9th/10th) need to include references?
Our instructions specify that you must include 2 references, while the final paper will need at least 4 references. We'll talk in discussion section on the 9th and 10th about how to track down good scholarly references.

9.  How should I format my paper?
Please use the following guidelines.
  1. Upload Word or pdf documents only to (RTF may be OK as well; plain text can be a little tricky for formatting.)
  2. Include your name (First, then Last), PID, Date in upper right hand corner, single spaced.
  3. Use 1 inch margins, with 12 point font for the whole document. Use 1.5 or double spacing for the main text.
  4. Center your title at the top, but do not include a separate title page.
  5. Clearly label sections (intro, background, etc.)
  6. Include page numbers, centered at the bottom of the pages.

10.  Now that I've turned in my preliminary position statement, how soon will I get feedback to let me know if I'm on the right track?
We're planning to get these marked and returned by discussion sections April 16/17, and we'll give you feedback, particularly if we think you've drifted off track. If you have doubts, please see your TA before then, and do not stop working on your paper while you wait for comments.

11.  I'm planning to consider the thesis "The benefits of utilizing nuclear energy in desalinization for freshwater outweigh the costs that it provides to the city of San Diego." Would focusing on nuclear energy and its benefits/costs be appropriate?
Your approach sounds fine. You may want to extend your consideration of costs and benefits beyond simple economic costs so that you consider other types of societal costs. And you'll want to make sure that your analysis is specific to San Diego water issues. How much water can be produced with what costs/risks?

12.  Is it desalinization or desalination, or are both acceptable?
Both are acceptable. See for example

13.  My position statement is at the end of an opening paragraph that is more than half a page single-spaced, which means it will be on the second page, double-spaced. I know that some professors prefer smaller, and in turn, more paragraphs for papers, and would actually subtract points if paragraphs were more than a page double-spaced.
There is no formal requirement for the length of paragraphs, but it is probably a good idea to make sure that people reading your paper can find your position statement fairly quickly, before they get to the end of the first page, for example. In addition, you also will want to avoid confusing your reader(s) by having paragraphs that are extremely long.

14.  Should the background section use subtitles to identify separate subsections for economic and environmental pros and cons, as the outline did, or should the text flow continuously?
Make your paper easy to read. That means that you probably want to put headings on major sections, but not on every paragraph. So if you develop an extensive multi-paragraph discussion on economic issues, then you might want to add a section heading. But otherwise you probably won't need a heading for every issue.

15.  I have been searching for sources for the gray water paper topic. Using BIOSIS, I did not find much with a key word search on either "grey water" or "gray water". Google scholar seems problematic because it produces many sources that I seem to need to pay to see.
Please be sure to run Google scholar (or Web of Science or BIOSIS) from on campus or using a UCSD proxy server (or VPN), which will allow you to access journal articles using the University of California subscriptions. The UCSD library has a page explaining both. You should not have to pay money to read articles. The TA's will talk about search methods in greater detail in section on April 9/10.

16.  I have found that there are many documented reports on the use of reclaimed water, not necessarily grey water. Can you distinguish between grey water and recycled water? I have found that a few of my sources say that reclaimed water is that which has been treated to a tertiary level and disinfected while grey water is purified by plants and soil. Is this distinction correct?
A common definition of gray water (or grey water) is that it is "Water that is not clean enough to be potable, such as having been used for washing, but that can be recycled, such as for flushing toilets" ( As you note reclaimed water can be dirtier to start out, but it is purified (either to secondary level for irrigation, for example, or to a higher level for full reuse as drinking water. Clearly there is some overlap in the terms, and you may find that literature on reclaimed water is useful. The term paper assignment specifically asked about gray water, because that is a lower cost treatment option. Your page count is very limited, but you might find it useful to consider the relative benefits of reclaimed water systems versus gray water systems in meeting Southern California water needs.

17.  Does 1000-1250 the word count include headers and references?
No, we're looking for 1000 to 1250 words of your own writing. We do not want to penalize your length if you find many good references to cite and therefore end up with a long reference list.

18.  I have a hard copy of the "City of San Diego Long-Range Water Resources Plan(2002-2030)." The other info on the front cover is: "Adopted Dec. 9, 2002, The City of San Diego Water Department." Then in side it states, "This report was prepared by:" and lists 10 people.

Should I treat this like a book citation? What do you suggest?

Yes, you can treat it as a book. Another option is to cite it as a City of San Diego government document, as I see is done in an article by Jan C. Bush in the May/June 2007 issue of Southwest Hydrology (see

City of San Diego Long-Range Water Resources Plan 2002-2030,