Environmental Research Methods: Epistemological Foundations

Course Description: 
Environmental Research Methods: Epistemological Foundations is designed to help students build a critical epistemological base consistent with environmental studies.  This course will introduce the fundamentals of environmental research from the standpoints of objectivity and subjectivity based on different scientific traditions including positivism and constructionism (interpretivism).  It will specifically explore these traditions in light of their assumptions regarding sound research design.


Learning Outcomes: 

Students who successfully complete all the requirements for this course can: 

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.

1) Epistemological bases in environmental studies research

Assessment: Class exercise based on required reading (25%)  

2) Bridging epistemological understandings with theoretical and methodological tools

Assessment: "Bridge" exercise (25%)

3)  Critical sense of scientific research

Assessment: Poster presentation on selected ENVSCI thesis

--Presentation and organization of poster (20%)

--Analytical quality of poster presentation (20%)

4) Class participation

Assessment: Participation in class exercises (10%).