Environmental Research Methods: Epistemological Foundations (EF)

Course Description: 
Environmental Research Methods: Epistemological Foundations is designed to help students build a critical epistemological base in environmental studies. This course will introduce the fundamentals of environmental research from the standpoints of objectivity and subjectivity and deductive and inductive reasoning based on different scientific traditions including positivism and constructionism (interpretivism) in the context of quantitative and qualitative research, and geospatial visualization and modelling. It will specifically explore these traditions in light of their assumptions regarding sound research methodologies.

 

Learning Outcomes: 

Students who commit to learning in this course by attending and participating in all the classes and conducting the blogging exercises will be able to:

1) understand the epistemological bases from which knowledge, derived through scientific methods, is produced in the field of environmental studies.

2) identify epistemological assumptions in relationship to theoretical and methodological approaches to environmental research.

3) develop a critical sense of scientific research by understanding some of the strengths and challenges of the assumptions supporting particular research methodologies.

Assessment: 

The course will be offered on a Pass/Fail basis and be contingent on class attendance and participation in the blogging exercises. In order to meet the learning objectives, a blogging exercise will be associated with each class to engage and explore epistemological questions based on the particular epistemological assumptions covered in the course from the standpoints of quantitative and qualitative research, and geospatial visualization and modelling. 

Prerequisites: 

None