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P3 Exercise: Research Summary

This exercise is designed to help you “define the problem,” a task you are required to do as part of your research summary memo, and as part of your final team projects, as well. The purpose of this exercise is to help you understand that you must use a variety of data in order to fully describe how/why something is an issue, and therefore worthy of study and research.


Recently Tampa Bay has been buzzing about the appearance of the lionfish, an invasive species of marine wildlife. Local officials are unsure of what to do or even how to begin conceiving of the problem. You work for a consulting firm that has been hired to investigate this issue and inform the local government of feasible courses of action. Your job is to research lionfish in Tampa Bay and create a brief summary of how exactly these fish are affecting the local ecosystem and what this could mean for the future of the bay. Be sure to cite specific sources when making claims about how lionfish are problematic.


Write a paragraph that defines the lionfish problem for Tampa Bay using at least two sources of different types as evidence (i.e., newspaper articles, government reports, scientific papers, etc.). When you have finished, briefly answer the following questions:

  1. How did the sources you chose inform the way you described the problem?
  2. Was any specific source particularly effective in helping you to define the problem? Why and in what ways?
  3. Reading your work critically, ask yourself if there is any information that would have made your summary more complete. What sources might you have consulted to gather this information?
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