ENVU7EE: Environmental Science Review Essay

CO-ORDINATOR: Dr Clare Wilson

This is a core 11 SCQF credit module for students on the BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and the BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and Outdoor Education programme. The review essay provides students with the opportunity to explore in detail the published data on a subject chosen from a wide list provided. This module will help prepare students for their dissertation research and write-up. As part of the process of writing the review essay the module uses a ‘buddy’ system for students to help each other improve their essay writing skills and also their ability to provide constructive feedback. 

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module you should have:

  • A detailed knowledge of the current peer-reviewed literature and accumulated body of knowledge pertaining to one topic in environmental science.
  • Critically assessed the literature identifying key scientific principles and assumptions, uncertainties and knowledge gaps relevant to your topic.
  • Produced a well written, structured and clearly argued extended essay with correct and full referencing.
  • Provided feedback and constructive criticism to fellow students and applied the insights gained in this process to their own essay.

The review essay is 3,000 words long (not including figures, tables and references).

Module Organisation

This module is student-led. There is one lecture at the beginning of the semester to go through in detail the aims and expectations of the module, students should arrange a meeting with their supervisor to discuss the topic and agree a title, and students have to liaise with one another to provide feedback on essays to their assigned “buddies”. The module outline on WebCT provides details of the milestones and submission dates you must meet in this module.

Module Assessment

Review essay (3000 words)           90%
Feedback form                                 10%

Review Essay Expectations

The review essay is expected to represent a substantial piece of work worthy of 11 credits. Whilst the final essay may only be 3000 words, this should represent the cogent distillation of a substantial body of up-to-date research carried out by the student. The work load expectation for an 11 credit module is of more than 120 hours of study.

Topics

A list of topics will be circulated at the beginning of semester. Previous topics include:

  • The effect of climate change on risks to human health from toxic cyanobacterial blooms
  • Review the impacts of hydro-electric generation on the effective functioning of stream ecosystems, and evaluate the mitigation options available. 
  • The media's role in the public understanding of environmental science - a help or a hindrance?
  • Land-use change and global climate change: Which poses a greater threat to tropical forest biodiversity?
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