The Greek root of the word "geography' is 'geo," which means "earth," and "grapho," which means "I write." Therefore, a geographical report is a report written about the Earth or a particular aspect of Earth. The geographical investigation should proceed in five stages. The geographer or researcher will need to identify a question. By this, the researcher will determine what he needs to find out about a particular region. The researcher then devises strategies through which he can develop an answer. The researcher next goes into the field and collects data. Once collected, the data is analyzed, evaluated and interpreted. Finally, he can make conclusions of the data and present the findings.
The first paragraph is an introduction and it should contain the question that serves as a thesis to be investigated. For example, "What are the long-term effects of farm fertilizer on fishing on the Great Barrier Reef?" The first paragraph should be a brief description of the question that will be investigated and answered. The introduction should also tell how the investigation was conducted, and then mention each of the chief aspects of the investigation that enabled the question to be answered. Each of these topics will form the basis of the body paragraphs of your report.
Recount how the investigation was carried out, paying particular attention to a hypothesis of what the potential effects of the fertilizer are expected to be. Relate your hypothesis to geographical theory, for instance, that rain runoff of fertilizer use might end up in rivers and also in the ocean where it affects the coral polyps, which, in turn, affects the abundance of fish. In this section, list the kinds of investigations made and how they related to the question.
Include one paragraph or group of paragraphs for each chief aspect of the investigation. Detail how each was conducted and what researchers found in each part of the investigation. The evidence that geographers supplied will give credibility to any conclusions drawn and the answers devised for the questions posed. For instance, when looking at the topography of a particular river valley and farming district, detail how the rain water flows, and record how easily it drags silt and other runoff into the river. Report any water sampling upstream and at the mouth of that river. This may show that the same pollutant present upstream is also downstream at the estuary.
Detail all aspects of the investigation from the hypothesized beginning to the postulated end in the body paragraphs. Remember to include as many paragraphs as it takes to report all the investigation. Report all results of all tests that were done and the evidence found. Resist the temptation to draw conclusions in the reporting stage.
Make a summary of the findings of the entire investigation in the conclusion. Draw together all the proofs and evidence such as diminished fish numbers, leached coral polyps, topographical information and water tests. Refer to the original question and show how the investigation has provided an answer that fits with the evidence from the investigation. Having identified the problem and answered the question posed, make a recommendation as to how the situation may be reversed or mitigated.
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