The Energy Project is a very substantive writing assignment that asks you to research and analyze a
current societal issue that has scientific and technological solutions that challenge existing accepted
beliefs or practices. The Energy Project will allow you to examine the relationship of science and
technology to society, in light of the core values of Gwynedd Mercy University, including integrity,
compassion, justice, and wise stewardship of our natural resources.
The long term viability of our global society depends on our resolution of the “energy crisis” in a manner
that is equitable to every nation, that is financially viable, and that reduces or eliminates the negative
impact on the global environment. In other words, we need a sustainable energy policy. When
formulating such a policy, we must consider the technological issues of alternatives to fossil fuel usage
such as nuclear, solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy. Finally we must consider environmental issues
such as pollution, global warming, and ecosystem destruction in the acquisition and application of both
renewable and non-renewable fuels.
The Energy Project consists of two reviews of popular press articles on energy resources and energy
policies, two research papers, and a reflection paper. Article Review #1 will focus on fossil fuels; Article
Review #2 will focus on alternative energy sources. For Research Paper #1 your assignment is to
investigate and report on fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal); for Research Paper #2, you will
investigate and report on four alternative sources of energy (nuclear, solar, wind, and hydroelectric).
Finally, in the reflection paper, you will propose a sustainable energy policy based on the information
reported in your research papers. Your research papers must include factual information on the
technology, financial viability and environmental impact of both fossil fuel technology and a variety of
alternative energy sources, as well as expert opinion on both sides of the controversy about energy
sources. The reflection paper must present your ideas (based on the factual information and the expert
opinions previously presented) of the direction that our national energy policy should take on both a
short-term and long-term basis.
Article Reviews #1 & #2
You will review two articles from current mainstream publications (including daily newspapers and
popular magazines, dated after August 1, 2017.) The first will report on fossil fuels, the second on
alternative energy sources. Each article must have appeared in print in publications, such as The
Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, The Montgomery County Record. Articles from publications devoted to
science, like Scientific American or Popular Science, are not acceptable for this assignment.
Your review should be placed in the formatted “Article Review Template” form, including the name of
the publication, the date of the publication, whether the article is a report or a commentary and a twoparagraph review. The first paragraph should summarize the main ideas presented in 6-8 sentences. The
second paragraph should summarize your reaction to the article and how the information in the article
relates to society in general, as well as how it affects or relates to you, personally.
Research Paper #1
Your paper on fossil fuels must answer the following questions;
How and when were fossil fuels formed and why are they termed “non-renewable”?
For each of the three types (oil, coal, and natural gas)
o Where is it found on earth- geographically and geologically speaking?
o How is it extracted?
o How is it transported and processed for human use?
What are the general advantages of the use of fossil fuels as energy sources?
What are the general disadvantages of the use of fossil fuels as energy sources?
What are the specific environmental impacts of the extraction, processing, distribution and use
of fossil fuels as energy sources?
What are the specific social, economic, and political impacts- local, national, and global of the
extraction, processing, distribution, and use of fossil fuels as energy sources?
Research Paper #2
Your paper on alternative energy sources must answer the following questions.
Why are alternative energy sources termed “renewable”?
For each of the four types (nuclear, solar, wind, and hydroelectric)
o How is it generated?
o What technology is required?
What are the general advantages of the use of each type of alternative energy sources?
What are the general disadvantages of the use of each type of alternative energy sources?
What are the specific environmental impacts of the generation, distribution, and use of each
type of alternative energy sources?
What are the specific social, economic, and political impacts of the generation, distribution, and
use of alternative sources as energy sources?
Your information for these research papers must be obtained from the scientific literature. Your
information should be obtained from credible sources and should be a mix of both peer-reviewed
scientific fact as well as opposing expert opinions on the topic. You must have a minimum of five
appropriate sources for each paper, with a balance of print and Internet, that present factual
information on the topic as well as a variety of viewpoints on the controversy. General knowledge
encyclopedias such as Encarta and Britannica are not acceptable sources for a science research paper at
the collegiate level; open-access sites such as Wikipedia may never be used as references and your text
is not an appropriate source. Internet sources should be chosen with great discretion. Be sure that any
Internet source is reputable; any Internet site for which a full name-year citation (author, date, title, and
publisher) cannot be written is not acceptable and the affiliation of the author/publisher of any Internet
source must be established. Cornell University has an excellent resource
(http://guides.library.cornell.edu/evaluating_Web_pages) that describes the criteria for valid Web
The source of all non-original information in each paper should be cited using name-year citation (Smith
1999) in APA format, referring to sources listed in the Works Cited section in correct APA format. The
ARC has an excellent handout on APA citations. However, your paper should not simply be strings of
quoted and cited material. When you write the paper, you must take the information which you find in
your sources and organize and summarize it, expressing it in your own words and in your own style.
Reflection Paper- Reflection on Energy Policy
Based on the information collected during your research and presented in your two papers on energy
sources, you must propose an energy policy for the United States for the next 50 Years. You must
describe the social, economic, political, and environmental impacts-local, national, and global- that your
policy will have if it is implemented. You must be very specific and very detailed in your description of
your policy and its impact. To support your proposal, you must reference the information you presented
in your research papers and cite the sources using name-year citation (Smith 1999) in APA format and
list those sources in the Works Cited section in correct APA format.
When you write your papers, you must take the information which you find in your sources and
summarize it and express it in your own words and in your own style. You must submit each of your
papers to the SafeAssign feature on Blackboard to assess the originality of your work. SafeAssign
compares the text of your submitted paper to the text of sources on your topic as well as to other
student papers on the topic. SafeAssign returns an Originality Report, which measures the percentage of
your text which exactly matches source text. An acceptable Originality Report has less than 25% match
to source text. You may re-submit your paper, in order to receive an acceptable Originality Report after
edits. If any part of your submitted Energy Project is more than 25% on the Originality Report, for copied
source text, your grade will be impacted.