ENVSCI 701 : Research Practice in Environmental Science


2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An understanding of research in Environmental Science. Students will be introduced to a range of methodologies and will be challenged to critically analyse information and data. Principles of scientific writing and communication will also be addressed. Students will apply these skills by developing and writing a research proposal or critical review.

Course Overview

The course provides an understanding of Environmental Science research, both in a broad context and in relation to disciplinary-specific examples.

Students will be introduced to a range of methodologies in environmental sciences including research design, literature searching and review, research methods, data visualisation, and written and oral presentation.

Students will be challenged to critically analyse information and clearly communicate it. Students will work closely with one staff mentor to develop and apply those essential professional skills by writing a research proposal on a topic of their choice. Students will present their proposals in oral presentations and provide constructive feedback to their peers on proposal drafts.

Students will have the opportunity to discuss career requirements and prospects with practitioners from a range of environmental science-related agencies and career stages.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify some concepts and methods in Environmental Science (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Critically assess the importance and integrity of data and information (Capability 3 and 4)
  3. Produce a research proposal towards a research project (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Develop presentation, writing and feedback skills (Capability 6, 7 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Research Proposal Draft 20% Individual Coursework
Oral Presentation 20% Individual Coursework
Research Proposal Final 50% Individual Coursework
Peer review 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Research Proposal Draft
Oral Presentation
Research Proposal Final
Peer review


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Key Topics

  • Science for Environmental Science
  • Identifying environmental issues & reviewing relevant literature
  • Methods and techniques for environmental research
  • Visualizing environmental data
  • Oral presentation of environmental research
  • Written modes of disseminating environmental research
  • Practicalities of working as an environmental scientist

Special Requirements

Compulsory participation in all class meetings.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 14 hours of lectures/online activities, 50 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 86 hours of work on assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including meetings and presentations to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. 
The course will include live online events including class meetings.
Attendance on campus is required for the oral presentations and class activities.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a mix of online and in-person activities.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

All resources are provided via Canvas.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Adjustments are made to this course on an annual basis according to student feedback.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 06/11/2023 08:40 a.m.