• Class Number 3674
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof James Raymer
    • Dr Bruce Doran
    • Prof James Raymer
    • Dr Nasser Bagheri
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

In order to understand societal change, one needs to examine the mix of location-specific contexts that occur across space. This course focuses on local population change and its interrelation with health and wellbeing by exploring the theory, tools and analytical frameworks for dealing with spatial population and health data. Students will investigate strategies for overcoming the additional complexity of working and mapping spatial population and health data using geographic information systems software. The course will cover topics such as demographic and health uses of spatial data, sources of geospatial data, managing and mapping spatial data in geographic information systems, spatial autocorrelation and scale and spatial statistics.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. explain the theoretical and practical considerations required for conducting spatial analysis of population or public health data;
  2. prepare, manipulate, display, and analyse spatial population data;
  3. understand the importance of spatial data for local population and health planning;
  4. build and critically evaluate spatial analysis models; and
  5. conduct an independent research project that includes analysing and mapping spatial data.

Research-Led Teaching

This course draws greatly from current and past spatial data analyses conducted by the three main lecturers, focusing on demographic and health applications.

Required Resources

Specific readings for each week are posted on the course website.

Cromley EK and McLafferty SL (2012) GIS and public health, 2nd edition. New York: Guilford Press. Chapter 4: Mapping health information.

Fotheringham AS, Brunsdon C and Charlton M (2000) Quantitative geography: Perspectives on spatial data analysis. Sage, London.

Goodchild MF and Janelle DG (2010) Toward critical spatial thinking in the social sciences and humanities. GeoJournal 75(1):3-13.

Haining RP (2003) Spatial data analysis: Theory and practice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Matthews SA and Parker DM (2013) Progress in spatial demography. Demographic Research 28:271-312.

Oyana TJ and Margai FM (2016) Spatial analysis: Statistics, visualization, and computational methods. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Pfeiffer DU, Robinson TP, Stevenson M, Stevens KB, Rogers DJ and Clements A (2008) Spatial analysis in epidemiology. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Robinson GM (1998) Methods and techniques in human geography. Wiley, Chichester.

Swanson DA and Tayman J (2012) Subnational population estimates. Springer, Dordrecht.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written form, e.g., assignments
  • verbal form, e.g., tutorials / class sessions

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

It is of the utmost importance that you cite appropriately the articles, books and other sources whose findings, interpretations and theories you either use, rely on or allude to, in your essay. Referencing is not the most important aspect of your essay—content is the most important — but it is such a common error to reference poorly that we wish to emphasise that poor referencing is sloppy and will lose marks.


Here are the basics:


a.      The correct way to make a statement on the basis of one made by a source you have read is to put the comment into your own words and quote the source. For example: “There are three areas in which, according to Preston (1986), values have been changing” or “Preston (1986) says that three types of value change have been occurring” or “One author, Preston, suggests that values are changing in three areas (Preston 1986)”.


b.     All sources cited in the text should appear in a reference list at the end of the essay. A reference list documents your sources and provides the information necessary to identify and retrieve each source. The reference list includes only the sources that were used in the research and preparation of the essay. It lists specific works that support your statements and that were cited in the text of the essay. In contrast, a bibliography lists general works on a topic. These may include works which are not cited explicitly in an essay or a project. In general, coursework essays require a reference list as distinct from a bibliography. Bibliographies are almost never appropriate for coursework essays or for projects in demography and social statistics.


c.      Citations should be made at the appropriate place in the text. You should not simply include a bibliography to your essay without citing relevant authors at those places through the text where you rely on them as a source.


d.     You should only cite in your text as "author (date)" those sources that you have seen yourself. If, for example, Preston quotes a study by King you should either say: “King (1973) cited in Preston (1986)” or “King (1973) is quoted in Preston (1986) as having shown …..” etc. Both the King (1973) and Preston (1986) references should appear in the reference list. You will lose marks for giving the impression, by misleading referencing, that you have consulted sources that you have not in fact seen but are cited in an article or book or other source that you have read.


e.     Sometimes an author expresses something so well that you will want to quote them verbatim. If so, put the sentence in quotes, or indent the text to indicate clearly that these are not your words, and cite the source directly afterwards ".. quoted text here…." (Preston, 1986). However you should do this very sparingly and not as a matter of routine. It is never acceptable to quote an author verbatim without indicating the source clearly and either putting the passage in question in quotation marks or indenting the text to show that it is a quotation. It is never acceptable to make extensive use of direct quotation—an essay should consist largely of your own words.


f.       You should be careful in taking notes to distinguish clearly between your own words and those of the author(s) you are reading—otherwise you may reproduce the author’s words in your essay, thinking them to be your own. It is your responsibility to ensure that you do not reproduce the words of others as if they were your own. This is a form of plagiarism and will be penalised accordingly (see below).


Style of referencing: There are many styles of referencing used in academic publications. Any referencing format in standard use in scholarly social science publications is acceptable. However, you would be well advised to choose a straightforward one and stick to that in all your essays.


Plagiarism: The University defines plagiarism as “the reproduction or paraphrasing, without acknowledgement, from public or private (i.e. unpublished) material attributable to, or which is the intellectual property of another, including the work of students”. Cases of plagiarism are taken very seriously by the University. Plagiarism means representing the ideas of others as one's own, in any form of work. This relates to both published and unpublished material, including the work of other students. It is, of course entirely appropriate to use quotations or other references to source material to support your arguments. What is important however is to present the material in such a way as to clearly identify where you are quoting or citing the ideas or words of others. Plagiarism includes paraphrasing as well as word-for-word copying or reproduction. Therefore it is essential that you avoid presenting your material in ways which, while not involving direct quotations, draw heavily on the source material for sentences and phrases used - it is not sufficient to omit or modify the occasional word or sentence. When you summarise a passage from source material in your own words you should make a clear acknowledgement of the source of the material. You should also acknowledge where a paragraph or section is based upon data or ideas from other writers. All quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks - it is not sufficient to cite the source in the reference list.


When taking notes from texts make sure that you do not do so in such a way as may lead inadvertently to plagiarism - if you write into your notes a quotation or paraphrase from a source, record exactly where this has come from and use quotation marks in your notes as appropriate.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction and key concepts
2 Demographic and health uses of spatial data (seminar)
3 Sources of geospatial data
4 Managing spatial data in geographic information systems
5 Mapping spatial data in geographic information systems
6 Spatial autocorrelation and scale Assignment 1
7 Introduction to spatial statistics
8 Local population estimation
9 Spatial interaction and migration
10 Public health surveillance
11 Public health applications
12 Research paper presentations and conclusion

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short written assignment 25 % 02/04/2019 24/04/2019 2, 3
Research Essay 65 % 14/06/2019 21/06/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Research essay presentation and participation 10 % 29/05/2019 21/06/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Students are expected to attend all weekly class sessions and actively participate.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 02/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3

Short written assignment

This assignment requires a critical evaluation MAUP and the Ecological Fallacy, drawing upon weeks 3,4 and 5:

Weeks 3 and 4: Students download sets of ABS tabular and spatial data and link these. Tasks: setting up a workspace, using ArcCatalog, loading and viewing data in ArcMap, attributes and projecting-on-the-fly, .MXD documents)

Weeks 4 and 5: Students create maps of different types and according to their interests (e.g., SEIFA data, demographic data). Tasks: map elements, basic cartography, class breaks and choropleth data, layouts in ArcMap and exporting maps in different formats and templates.


Assignment: Students evaluate their outputs in relation to the MAUP and the Ecological Fallacy. How are the maps they have constructed subject to these problems? What assumptions and caveats would need to be stated when presenting these maps? Tasks: Adding multiple data frames and additional context to layouts (e.g., BaseMap imagery, roads and property data), draft an MS Word document with key mapping outputs to interpret in relation to lecture material and readings on the MAUP and Ecological Fallacy.


Core reading: Cromley and McLafferty 2012

Word limit (where applicable): 1500 words

Value: 25% of total grade

Assessment Task 2

Value: 65 %
Due Date: 14/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 21/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Research Essay

The research essay is an opportunity for you to examine in depth a specific issue related to spatial population data analysis. It can be theoretically focussed or empirically based. It can be focused on any type of social science or public health application but must have a clear spatial analysis component. Students should discuss their proposed topic with the course convenor before beginning their research and before the teaching break.


Word limit (where applicable): 4500 words

Presentation requirements: 5-10 minute PowerPoint presentation in Week 12

Value: 65% of total grade

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 21/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Research essay presentation and participation

Details will be provided in Week 9. This assessment will take place during class in Week 12.

Value: 10% of total grade

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Student work will be returned in the seminar or during office hours.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Only in very exceptional cases will resubmission of assignments be allowed.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof James Raymer

Research Interests

Migration, Demography

Prof James Raymer

Tuesday 10:00 11:00
Tuesday 10:00 11:00
Dr Bruce Doran

Research Interests

Dr Bruce Doran

Monday 00:00 00:00
Prof James Raymer

Research Interests

Prof James Raymer

Tuesday 10:00 11:00
Tuesday 10:00 11:00
Dr Nasser Bagheri

Research Interests

Dr Nasser Bagheri

Monday 00:00 00:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions