GE 4150/5150 - Natural Hazards


This Page Includes:

(1) Homework Format

(2) Lab Report Format

(3) Citing Sources in your Work



These reports should be done on a word processor, using one-inch margins, double-spaced text, and 12 point font. One to three pages should be sufficient length to get your points across. Answer the questions as concisely as you can, with information that you think is important for someone involved in hazards study to know. If your answers have several different aspects, break up the report into paragraphs:

e.g., Homework #1 ("What is FEMA?")

Definition of FEMA:  size of organization

Head of FEMA:   selection process, experience, qualifications

Roles of FEMA for hazards:  preparation, education, resource management, cleanup, monitoring, long-term care?  What is the role of FEMA in Disaster Declarations?

Government/Congressional oversight and funding:  who "manages" FEMA? What is their budget?

Structure:  How is FEMA organized?  How does one contact FEMA?



All written lab reports, unless otherwise instructed, should follow the guidelines below. The reports should be done on a word processor, using one-inch margins, double-spaced text, and 12 point font for the main text.

In a short report, these section might only be a few sentences each, but it is still important to present your work in this format so it is understandable, beleivable, and gets your interpretation across effectively.


This section identifies motivations for the research, and what problems are important to solve. Sometimes a mini-tutorial on the research topic is included here, which can be very useful for the non-expert. A brief outline of the paper can also be presented (describing what you will do in this paper).


This section should present a detailed description of the process used to study the problem. This can be the most useful part of the report - think of it as a way to remember how you did the work, if you needed to come back to this someday.


Put the results of your work in an orderly and understandable way. If you have figures or tables, be sure to explain what is in each one.


This is where you present your interpretation of the results, in an orderly and understandable way. Use your results as evidence to support your analyses, and if you don't have enough information to make strong conclusions, state that. If appropriate, you can mention what future work may be useful.


Here you give all the published sources of information for your work. There are two main ways to do this: listing by the order they appear in your work, and listing in alphabetical order (see below).



You must provide references to your sources of information that you use in your homeworks and labs. This can be in the form of personal communication (asking an expert), or a publication (a textbook, journal article, or web page). Cite your sources in the text as you use them, and also provide a full listing at the end of your work (this "reference list" is single-spaced). There are variations in style for citations, but I will give you some examples to use below:

Example 1. How to cite in the text:

There are more active volcanoes than we know about (W. Rose, pers. comm., 2002) <-- this would not be included in a reference list.

There are 50 volcanic eruptions each year of various sizes (Simkin, 1994). <-- this would be the format  if you presented the reference list in alphabetical order.

Approximately 65 earthquakes of magnitude 6.5 and above occur each year (1). <--this would be the format if you listed the references in the order you present them in your work.

Example 2. How to cite references for your work in a "Reference" section (personal communications are not listed)

(web: give address, then date that you accessed it), accessed September 5, 2001.


(book: give author's name, year of publication, name, publisher)

Mileti, D.S. (1999) Disasters by Design: A Reassessment of Natural Hazards in the United States. Joseph Henry Press, Washington, D.C., 351 pages.

(journal: author's name, year of publication, article title, journal title, volume and page numbers)

Myers, M.F. and G.F. White (1993) The challenge of the Mississippi flood. Environment, v. 35, 6-35.