To demonstrate your comprehensive knowledge of geography and ability to apply that knowledge, you will write a paper that responds to the following:
The paper should be 4 to 5 double spaced pages and should be supported by at least 5 appropriate bibliographical sources cited on a separate page. Write your paper in WORD (or equivalent word processing software — DO NOT USE “.pages” as i cannot access this format) using APA style (or any of the commonly accepted styles if you are more comfortable with a particular one).
A central theme of this course is that the world is incredibly diverse and that there are meaningful differences both within and among countries.
The research paper asks students to explore this phenomenon in more detail and to research and assess statistical measures of “well-being” in countries around the globe.
More specifically, you should reflect on what you have learned in this course and develop a set of characteristics that describes a country where you would like to live (e.g. low infant mortality rate, high gross national income, long life expectancy, etc.). Then think about the characteristics that are the direct opposite and describe a country where you would not want to live.
Next write a paper in which you:
1) Present a rationale for choosing the kind of country where you would like to live and discusses the reasons for using particular indicators of well-being to select that country (you should use at least 6 indicators);
2) Identify a country where you would like to live based on the desirable characteristics you have selected;
3) Detail and discusses the country’s performance and especially rankings on the characteristics you selected (i.e. justify your choice); and
4) Identify a country where you would not like to live and compare its performance and rankings to the more desirable country identified in steps 1 to 3. Be sure to give equal treatment to the country where you would not like to live.
It is very important to provide enough information and supporting data so that the reasons and reasoning behind your selections are evident and logical. Be very careful in using subjective characteristics like “natural beauty” and only do so if it can be supported by statistical data. In general, I discourage students from picking a country you just happen to like (e.g. I enjoy vacationing in Mexico) as your “desirable” country … be guided in your selection by the data in the well-being indices. Please note this not a “book report” assignment. Your paper should not result in a general description of the country … the assignment is really more about understanding and using the indicators of well-being than about a specific country.
Below are links to the indices you are to consult in developing your paper. You don’t have to use all of these (actually you probably shouldn’t use them all) and you can use other objective indicators you may identify.
The United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) is especially useful as a composite indicator (it combines measures of health, education, and income). The link to the HDI lands you on a page displaying HDI rankings and data (it would be a good idea to make HDI one of your selected measures). However, at the top of this page is a navigation tab for “Data.” Click on this tab and you see a box with a drop down menu labeled “Dimension” you can select a dimension (e.g. Health) and then use the drop down menu in the box to the immediate right of selected dimension to select from a menu of specific measures (e.g. infant mortality rate). Data related to your selections, by country, will appear in a table below (unfortunately the rankings remain fixed on the HDI measure but you can use the data to support your ultimate selection the countries where you would like live and not to live). Also, you can disregard the confusing line graph that is located above the data table. By using the “Dimension” boxes you have access to dozens of very useful indicators.
Human Development Index
Inequality Adjusted HDI
Social Progress Index
Where to be born Index
Happy Planet Index
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