Geography 2133B Climate Change Assignment #1
Due Date: Feb. 1, 2018 in class; worth 10% of final mark.
• To access, critically read and evaluate climate change information on the internet. You have
chosen to take part in a class that provides you with the opportunity to gain an understanding of
climate change from a scientific perspective. Such an awareness is critical as we move to the
future and face the challenges that global warming will present us. There is a plethora of
information about climate change on the internet of varying scientific quality, and the goal of
this assignment is to get you to critically evaluate the scientific merit and communication of
some of that information. Healthy skepticism is an important part of scientific evaluation, and
should be a part of a critical evaluation of climate change information on the internet.
• To improve writing skills. This assignment will provide you with two opportunities to improve
your writing skills. First you will evaluate how well the science of climate change is
communicated. Evaluating other’s communications is a great way to improve your own
communication skills. Secondly you will report your findings in a short report. Report writing is a
great transferable skill to continue to develop. It is important to be able to synthesize and write
effectively for a variety of audiences, and the types of writing that are valued are ever-changing
and varied.
Your task
Your task is to look on the internet to find a site that contains interesting information about climate
change. The site should be about the science of climate change, not the politics or policy. You will
provide a critique of the site itself (how well information is communicated, the visual appeal), and also
the science behind the site. You will be asked to consider several factors in your evaluation of the web
site you select and write a brief 1-2 page report that summarizes your evaluation of the communication
and science of the web site.
Choose a site and be prepared to discuss the site in groups during class on Jan 23 as a prelude to
completing the assignment. This should allow you to get some peer feedback on your choice and
Things to consider when you evaluate your selection and write your report. Pay
special attention to points marked in bold as they correspond with the rubric.
• Provide the web address for your web site – make sure it works!
Summary Statement
• How do you know that this website is science-based?
• Who do you think this site is intended for? A general audience? A specific audience?
• Why did you pick this site?
• Why is it of interest? Convince me that I should take a look at this site.
• Does the web site use simple terms and words – does it avoid jargon (field specific language)
where possible. If you think jargon is unavoidable have the authors provided a definition or
explanation of more difficult terms? Definitions should be simple!
• Does the site use short forms/ acronyms that are difficult to follow?
• Does the site use slang?
• Is the web site clear and concise (avoid run on sentences, sentences have a purpose)?
• Is there a captivating title?
• Is there an attention grabbing component. Why should someone read the web site? What is the
“hook”? It could be an opening phrase or paragraph, an analogy or metaphor, an
encouragement to reflect on something, a cool fact, a cartoon, humour, etc.
• Does the site use simple, related pictures/ videos/ charts/ diagrams/ graphs that capture
attention and are illustrative?
• Is the site visually appealing?
• How could the authors of this website communicate their message more effectively?
Scientific Content
• Are sources credited?
• What are the sources for information provided? Are they credible? How do you know? You may
have to do some detective work to determine this.
• Is there any evidence of a conflict of interest?
• When was the site posted? How old are the scientific findings? Is the site still relevant?
• Has any important information been omitted from the site? Would that information significantly
change the findings?
• Do the authors make logical conclusions based on the data they provide? Think carefully about
this and be critical.

Please follow and like us: