- Class Number 7681
- 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
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.
ENVS6103 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.
Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.
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:
- demonstrate a conceptual understanding of measurement approaches in ecological studies (LO1)
- identify and critically evaluate the main mathematical approaches to describing populations and growth in organisms (LO2)
- demonstrate an ability to apply concepts and methods of quantitative analysis, including regression, in the context of environmental data. (LO3)
- quantitatively describe linear trends within datasets to effectively summarise quantitative datasets (LO4)
- demonstrate a capacity to effectively communicate model outputs to a scientific/management community (LO5)
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 interests of researchers within the Fenner School and throughout the ANU. Content is delivered by researchers within the disciplinary fields we cover. Current research activities and 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 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
This course does not normally include an examination. In the place of an exam, graduate students will complete a research task that complements the research activities currently being undertaken by the convenor. In addition to submitting the final extended abstract, graduate students will be expected to attend an additional graduate-level tutorial aimed that will focus on the research question. Each student will be expected to review supporting literature and lead discussion during tutorial sessions. Failure to (i) attend at least 75% of the graduate sessions, (ii) participate in the introductory graduate session in Week 3 or (iii) submit the research plan will require completion of a graduate-level exam.
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 and 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.
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.
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.
|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.|
Please register via the course Wattle site.
|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||10 %||01/09/2019||16/09/2019||2,4|
|Shinrin-yoku survey design||0 %||20/09/2019||23/09/2019||1,3,4|
|Shinrin-yoku research plan||15 %||29/09/2019||13/10/2019||2,3,4|
|Online quiz||5 %||13/10/2019||04/11/2019||1,3,4|
|Vegetation report (Part II): Research article||20 %||20/10/2019||04/11/2019||1,2,3,4|
|Extended abstract||40 %||18/10/2019||01/11/2019||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:
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.
Graduate students will be expected to attend an additional fortnightly graduate-level tutorial aimed that will focus on the research question. Each student will be expected to review supporting literature and lead discussion during tutorial sessions.
Students are to note that mandatory frog observations will also be conducted during after-hours sessions in Week 9.
This course does not normally include an examination. However, failure to (i) attend at least 75% of the graduate sessions, (ii) participate in the introductory graduate session in Week 3 or (iii) submit the research plan will require completion of a graduate-level exam.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,2
Wattle-based quiz reflecting lecture content and recommended reading during Weeks 1 to 3
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3
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
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
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4
Shinrin-yoku survey design
Survey design aimed at assessing impacts of designed Shinrin-yoku study.
Assessment Task 5
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
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4
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
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
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
Research report focussing on measurement and analysis of a trial examining the impacts of elevated CO2 on eucalypt growth and physiology in a glasshouse setting. The project will culminate with a 3500-word extended abstract. To be complemented by a submit a 500-word research plan in week 7 outlining their intended research question.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Distribution of grades policy
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Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.
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Natural Resource Management, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Plant Physiology, Archaeological Science, Terrestrial Ecology, Tree Nutrition And Physiology, Landscape Ecology, Forestry Sciences
Dr Matthew Brookhouse
Dr Matthew Brookhouse
Shun Deng Fam
Alexander Van Der Meer Simo