• Class Number 7658
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Matthew Brookhouse
    • Dr Matthew Brookhouse
    • Alexander Van Der Meer Simo
    • Helen King
    • Nadir Loonat
    • Rachael Lowe
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
    • Annisa Satyanti
    • Eve Cooper
    • Louise Blessington
    • Shun Deng Fam
SELT Survey Results

Research plays an important role in everyone's life. In the broadest sense we all enjoy the benefits of outcomes from medical and technological research. In environment and sustainability fields, research allows us to identify the sensitivity in climate, human and natural biological systems to external factors; respond to processes that threaten biodiversity and develop management strategies aimed at protecting and restoring ecological communities. Achieving these research outcomes relies upon establishing testable research questions, applying appropriate data collection and analysis methods, critically assessing results as well as effectively communicating the observations. 

ENVS1003 uses a problem-focussed approach to introduce fundamental research concepts by exploring how researchers describe and quantify vegetation communities, animal populations as well as human attitudes and behaviour. You can expect to develop skills in ecological measurement and sampling as well as in designing and conducting social research projects. You will also develop analytical skills, including data exploration, as well as effective communication and analysis techniques common to all sciences. The course promotes learning through a combination of lectures as well as field- and computer-based practical exercises. During field-based exercises you will gain first-hand experience in collecting ecological data. We also place great importance upon understanding the role of equity, integrity and ethics plays in professional practice and how these principles intersect with research.
Honours Pathway Option

Subject to the approval of the course convenor, HPO students will be required to demonstrate greater depth in the philosophy and practice of measurement and analysis in the environmental and/or social sciences. This understanding will be facilitated in a small research project conducted under direct supervision of the convenor. HPO students can expect to attend one additional one-hour tutorial session each fortnight, and submit a written report or oral presentation focusing on comparative field-based techniques (10% of overall assessment).

Learning Outcomes

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

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. understand and interpret quantitative research results reported within scientific literature
  2. understand the principles of sampling techniques in the environmental and social sciences
  3. explore and summarise data to identify effects and trends
  4. demonstrate a capacity to communicate research results effectively to the scientific and non-technical audiences

Research-Led Teaching

This course is fundamentally research-oriented. That is, learning is focussed upon research processes. A key to the delivery of this content is the course’s research-led teaching structure. To activate learning of research processes, the course focusses upon current research findings that reflect research within the Fenner School and Research School of Biology. Content is delivered by researchers within the disciplinary fields covered and current research activities and their results form a basis of guest- and convener-delivered lectures. The course is also fundamentally research based. Learning is founded upon inquiry-based learning and encouraging students to act as researchers. To achieve this, current research projects being undertaken by the convener form part of learning activities and students contribute to collection of genuine research data as well as being given the opportunity to participate in research authorship.

Field Trips

Field trips to parts of the Canberra Nature Park, particularly Black Mountain Nature Reserve, will occur during scheduled practical times. Mandatory frog observations will also be conducted during after-hours sessions in Week 9.

Additional Course Costs

No additional costs.

Examination Material or equipment

An undergraduate examination of entire course content emphasising understanding principles and interpreting results will be held during the University’s examination period. In addition to short answer and paragraph based questions, participants are required to reflect upon results of analyses conducted during the last week of teaching. Non-programmable calculators are permitted. Statistical tables will be provided.

Required Resources

No special resources are required.

Learning in this course is supported by a set of recommended reading. From a statistics perspective, reference will be made to sections of Statistics in a Nutshell and Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists. Field survey techniques are supported by sections of Australian Soil and Land Survey, Ecological Census Techniques and Handbook of Biodiversity Methods as well as online sources. I will also draw upon texts on authoring scientific authorship throughout the course. All referenced texts are accessible via the course Wattle site.

David Spiegelhalter's The Art of Statistics is a highly accessible recommended reading for this course.

This course also draws upon an array of research literature (journal articles) and online media. Links to these resources are listed on the course Wattle site and an associated independent Google+ site.

The course makes use of Microsoft Excel and JMP (SAS) for data analysis and Statistics-focussed learning. JMP has an excellent user interface and reports statistics in a comprehensive and comprehensible fashion. Course participants will receive direct instruction for both programs. JMP is available on all machines in the ANU's Info Commons machines (Mac and Windows), including those within the University's Colleges. Many on-campus Info Commons rooms are open 24 hours. Home access to a current version of JMP can be gained by either downloading a free 30-day trial or purchasing a six-month or twelve-month licence.

Staff Feedback

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

  • Written comments, marked rubrics and verbal discussion on assignments;
  • Verbal feedback to the whole class on field exercises, data outcomes, analysis tasks, quiz answers exercises and on assignments;
  • General online feedback on quizzes
  • Additional, individual feedback on request.

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

Honours-Pathway and Advanced-Studies (HP/AS) activities, comprising active research opportunities conducted under direct supervision of the course convener, complement the content delivered in this course. Students wishing to participate in HP/AS activities must express their interest within the first two weeks of the semester.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lectures Introduction: nature of research and research skills; Statistics - moving beyond numbers; course outline - what to expect. Vegetation description and survey: keys issues and attributes; linking individuals, ecosystems and landscapes. Practical None scheduled. Tutorial None scheduled.
2 Lectures Survey methods: plots, points and transects; introduction to survey data; considerations in selecting a method. Fauna survey: detectability; direct observation and trapping; indirect survey techniques and limitations; animal welfare. Practical Vegetation composition I: species and structure (Black Mountain). Tutorial Introduction to ENVS1003: statistics and statistics anxiety; reading academic papers.
3 Lectures Data: introduction to data; basic summary; error; distributions; graphics (including introduction to JMP). Sampling and estimation: populations and sampling bias; point and interval estimates; central limits theorem. Practical Vegetation composition II: canopy cover (Black Mountain). Tutorial Research authorship: conceptual/theoretical frameworks; identifying research questions and hypotheses. Quiz Wattle-based quiz reflecting Week 1-3 lecture and practical content as well as recommended reading during.
4 Lectures Confidence intervals: z and t distributions and tables; understanding standard error (SE); n and a; calculation. Experimental design: controlling variability and applying treatments; replication and scale; confounding non-treatment effects; RCTs; outline of Shinrin-yoku assessment task. Practical Summarising and displaying vegetation data I (computer labs). Tutorial Research authorship: reviewing literature; referencing.
5 Lectures Hypothesis testing: the null hypothesis; t-critical vs t-calculated; the value of p; two- and one-tailed tests. Surveying people: designing surveys and questions; controlling bias. Practical Summarising and displaying vegetation data I (computer labs). Tutorial Developing research questions and treatments (Shinrin yoku). Quiz Wattle-based quiz reflecting Week 3-5 lecture and practical content as well as recommended reading during
6 Lectures Ethics in social surveys. Indigenous engagement in research. Practical Kangaroo pellet counting. Tutorial Designing a treatment and survey I: concepts. Written assessment research-focussed introduction to study of vegetation classification in Black Mountain Nature Reserve.
7 Lectures Two-sample tests I: type I and II error, unequal variance; practice example. Two-sample tests II: equal variance; dependence; practice example. Practical Design and management of field experiments (Sparrow Hill). Tutorial Designing a treatment and survey II: presentation. Presentation outline and critique of survey (Shinrin yoku)
8 Lectures Hypothesis testing in practice. Logical fallacies and cognitive bias in research. Practical Hypothesis testing in practice I: kangaroo estimation (computer lab). Tutorial Statistics support session - Q&A. Research plan Shinrin-yoku randomised controlled trial.
9 Lectures ?2: observations vs expectations; contingency analyses. ANOVA: variance components; f tables and tests. Practical Hypothesis testing in practice II: hypothesis testing (computer lab). Tutorial Research authorship: presenting results and structuring a discussion.
10 Lectures Linear relations I: r and ?; regression. Linear relations II: data transformation; parameter estimation; assumptions; residuals. Practical Frog observation (holiday-affected scheduling; 6-10pm). Tutorial Effects testing (ANOVA).
11 Lectures The limits of null-hypothesis significance testing. Research ethics: equity; modern academic challenges; competing objectives. Practical Testing for effects within varying environments I: river flow/cloud seeding (computer lab). Tutorial Linking ANOVA and regression. Written assessment academic paper focussed on study of vegetation classification in Black Mountain Nature Reserve.
12 Lectures Social and environmental research case study I: understanding livelihoods. Social and environmental research case study II: tree death in the Australian Alps. Practical Testing for effects within varying environments II: kangaroo culling (computer lab). Tutorial Exam strategies and wrap up. HPO/AS reflection/report

Tutorial Registration

Please register via course Wattle site.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online quiz 5 % 11/08/2019 12/08/2019 1,2
Online quiz 5 % 25/08/2019 26/08/2019 1,2,3
Vegetation report (Part I): Introduction 15 % 01/09/2019 16/09/2019 2,4
Shinrin-yoku survey design 10 % 20/09/2019 23/09/2019 2,4
Shinrin-yoku research plan 15 % 29/09/2019 13/10/2019 2,3,4
Online quiz 5 % 13/10/2019 14/10/2019 1,3,4
Vegetation report (Part II): Research article 25 % 20/10/2019 04/11/2019 1,2,3,4
Final examination 20 % 31/10/2019 28/11/2019 2,3,4

* 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 to note that mandatory frog observations will also be conducted during after-hours sessions in Week 9.


This course includes a final examination. Students are permitted to bring a calculator and the results of their analyses from practicals in week 12.

Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and results returned to the student (official end of Semester results released on ISIS). Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 11/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 12/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Online quiz

Wattle-based quiz reflecting lecture content and recommended reading during Weeks 1 to 3

Assessment Task 2

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 25/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 26/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Online quiz

Wattle-based quiz reflecting lecture content and recommended reading during Weeks 3 to 5. Part of this quiz will be marked manually. Post-marking feedback will be useful for integration into Task 6.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 01/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 16/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,4

Vegetation report (Part I): Introduction

Research-focussed introduction to aspect-related vegetation classification in Black Mountain Nature Reserve. Submissions will need to propose research hypotheses that are informed by an appropriate conceptual/theoretical framework and brief literature review. Post-marking feedback will be useful for integration into Task 6.

Optional: Completed methods sections may also be submitted for feedback, but will not contribute to marking.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 20/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 23/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,4

Shinrin-yoku survey design

Survey design aimed at assessing impacts of designed Shinrin-yoku study.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 29/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 13/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Shinrin-yoku research plan

Research plan for a randomised controlled trial (RCT) aimed at testing the effects of Shinrin yoku on university students. Including a clearly defined research question;

sampling strategy aimed at confounding sources of variance; treatment and blinding; discussion of assessment metrics and ethics statement.

Assessment Task 6

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 13/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 14/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4

Online quiz

Wattle-based quiz focussed on methods covered during weeks 6-9 with particular reference to kangaroo pellet data collected during previous field practicals.

Assessment Task 7

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 20/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Vegetation report (Part II): Research article

Scientific article focussing on aspect-related classification of vegetation in Black Mountain Nature Reserve. Reports are expected in the form of a 2500-word journal article for Wildlife Research. The report will be supported by feedback on earlier assessment tasks (Tasks 2 and 3)

Assessment Task 8

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 31/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Final examination

Examination of entire course content. The exam questions will place emphasise on understanding concepts and principles and interpretation of results. In addition to short answer and paragraph based questions, you will be required to write a research abstract (200-300 words) based upon the results of analyses conducted during practicals in week 12.

The date range in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location exam.

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

Assignments are submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site. 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.

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

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 it 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.

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

Feedback on written assessment will be provided on either electronic or hard-copies of the electronically-submitted assessment.

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

Resubmission of assignments is not permitted. 

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).

Dr Matthew Brookhouse
+61 2 6125 2745

Research Interests

Natural Resource Management, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Plant Physiology, Archaeological Science, Terrestrial Ecology, Tree Nutrition And Physiology, Landscape Ecology, Forestry Sciences

Dr Matthew Brookhouse

Monday 10:00 11:00
Dr Matthew Brookhouse
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Dr Matthew Brookhouse

Monday 10:00 11:00
Annisa Satyanti

Research Interests

Annisa Satyanti

Eve Cooper
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Eve Cooper

Louise Blessington

Research Interests

Louise Blessington

Shun Deng Fam
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Shun Deng Fam

Alexander Van Der Meer Simo

Research Interests

Alexander Van Der Meer Simo

Helen King

Research Interests

Helen King

Nadir Loonat
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Nadir Loonat

Rachael Lowe
+61 2 6125 4882

Research Interests

Rachael Lowe

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