ACE2014 : Environmental Practice

  • Module Leader(s): Dr Elizabeth Stockdale
  • Owning School: Agriculture, Food & Rural Development
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of the module is to provide students with an enhanced understanding of environmental science in a real world context, in particular issues relating to research, the use and analysis of data, drivers generating activity in the environmental sector and consequent employment opportunities.
The module aims to develop skills in searching and integration of academic literature to develop and test hypotheses and provides preparation for research and the compilation of policy reports on environmental issues.

Outline Of Syllabus

Through an integrated lecture, tutorial and seminar programme students will develop an enhanced understanding of environmental science in a real world context, drivers generating activity in the environmental sector and consequent employment opportunities. Particular focus is given to issues relating to the use of and analysis of data especially to support research and policy making.
The module teaches and enhances literature search and communication skills as a prelude to research projects at Stage 3. Assessment requires students to develop a policy document and a research proposal, presented in the form of a response to tender, as well to complete a set of data analsys tasks .
The module involves a greater proportion of student-driven learning compared with Stage 1, thus preparing students for increased autonomy at Stage 3.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Development of research topic idea and presentation as full response to tender
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion15:005:00Preparation of brief literature review and presentation for policy making
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion52:0010:00Completion of data analysis tasks and presentation for assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture91:009:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Completion and write up of GIS based exercise
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical52:0010:00Cluster based practical session on data interpretation, GIS applications and statistical analysis
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00Workshops on project design, research skills and project management
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00Practice and further development of skills in data interpretation and analysis
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study114:0014:00Background reading on topics of current focus for environmental concern/research
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study112:0012:00Background reading on isses relating to effective research and policy making
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module is based on lectures and small group teaching for which students are encouraged to prepare ahead and then engage with one another and the lecturer with the materials through discussion.
An information literacy workshop early in the course will consolidate academic library skills, including searching of databases and referencing. A session led by library staff is included. Skills relating to summary and critical appraisal to the literature will also be introduced and practised in interactive sessions, with each student using an individually selected topic as a focus and within each small teaching group, students will consider the range of approaches that might be used to prepare, process and interpret data.

Data analysis will build on the quantitative skills learned in MAS1401 and apply GIS skills developed in CEG1702. Practical sessions will allow the application of the skills; some relevant case studies will be developed using the data from previous student projects and allow consideration of issues relating to study design and selection of appropriate methods of analysis. Students will consolidate data analysis skills and develop an understanding of the uses of data in professional practice along with the ethical issues associated with the collection and use of data.

The final series of small teaching groups will present and practice the skills of developing projects including the framing of a clear aim and objectives, together with a hypothesis if appropriate, and the use of GANTT charts to present a clear workplan linked to the objectives.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M10Short literature review (500 words), presenting the state-of-the-art to underpin policy policy making
Research proposal2M25Develops short research proposal in professional format following feedback on aims and objectives (1500 words)
Prob solv exercises2M40Statistical analysis and data interpretation exercises following up practical classes
Case study2M25GIS-based exercise - report of findings and implications
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment exercises have been designed to serve as a major vehicle for learning, by requiring engagement with development of documents to support policy making and presentation of research bids, as well as data analysis and interpretation.

The short literature review (outcomes 2,6,8) requires students to develop an outline of the topic to inform policy making developing materials provide by the module leader. The short (c. 500 words) review of the literature which provides some general context and precis of the current state of the art in the area. This will take the form of a draft policy document to be presente to the Environment Minister.

The invitation to tender (outcomes 1, 3, 4, 8) builds on literature review skills. Students are required to respond to an invitation to tender based on the small grant procedure of NERC. This requires the submission of clear aims and objectives, a workplan including a GANTT chart.

The data analysis exercises (outcomes 1, 3, 7, 8) consolidate key areas of data handling and analysis preparing students to be able to assess and select the most appropriate analysis methods to be used for a range of data types including qualitative data and secondary information.

The GIS based exercise (outcome 1, 3, 5, 7, 8) is developed from one used by environmental consultants in practice and

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.