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GEOS 4700 Earth History

This guide supports students writing a term paper in GEOS 4700.

How to use this guide

This guide will take you through the research process to write a term paper for GEOS 4700: Earth History.

Step 1: Background research

Reading approachable summaries of topics written by experts will help you understand fundamental concepts, choose a more specific focus, and begin to find good sources for your paper.

Step 2: Find sources

After a little background reading, you are ready to begin searching for some articles in specialized databases.

It is normal to feel overwhelmed at this point. There are so many articles out there! When you find one or two articles that you find interesting and relevant to your paper topic you can move on to:

Step 3: Narrow your focus

This step includes a series of strategies for you to use to go from a few articles that you like to a full bibliography that you can write a paper from.

Step 4: Write

Once you are feeling more confident in the materials you have been reading about, it's time to think about writing. This page has some resources to help you cite sources and write clearly.

Research is cyclical

You should expect to go back to a previous step at least once during your research process. Maybe you encounter a new concept and want to read some background about it. Maybe you find a bare spot in your bibliography and need to find a few more articles. This is all normal.

I'm here to help

At any point during your research process if you get stuck or confused, get help from the library. My contact information is on every page of this guide. You can also chat with a librarian. It's my job to guide you in your research, so don't be afraid to reach out!

Materials for library workshop


Create your own copy of this worksheet (available in Word or Google Docs) and fill it out as we go through the workshop.

At the end of the class, email or share this worksheet with Micky ( and save it in your own files to use later.