BSc Environmental Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Applied Research for Environmental Management (with fieldtrip)

Course unit fact file
Unit code PLAN26032
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


An understanding of research methods is essential to the practice of collecting and analysing primary and/or secondary data. Approaches to environmental management research incorporate qualitative and quantitative methodologies. This course unit introduces students to the breadth of techniques available to students undertaking research across environmental management, enabling them to design and implement independent research, while embedding an understanding of ethics into their research practices. The course provides a foundation in research methods training, so students have the knowledge and understanding to design, implement and evaluate their own independent research. Through the incorporation of a residential field visit, students will consolidate their learning on a variety of research methods and reflect on the challenges and opportunities of undertaking research in the field. By the end of the course unit, students will have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to produce a research proposal for their undergraduate dissertation, with the potential for data collection during the summer vacation.


The unit aims to:

  • Introduce principles of research design, including the formulation of research questions and hypotheses.
  • Develop knowledge of a range of research skills needed to collect, analyse, present and interpret quantitative and qualitative data relevant to the study of environmental management.
  • Apply knowledge of research design processes through the development and execution of an independent piece of research in the field.
  • Assess, in a fieldwork setting, the interrelationships between environmental, social and economic processes in a specified location.
  • Reflect critically on the research design process and field work experiences to develop a research proposal for the dissertation.

Learning outcomes

Students should/will be able to:


Core content includes:

The research process and ethics

Baseline knowledge, research aims and developing objectives

Data collection methods 1

Data collection methods 2

Quantitative data analysis

Qualitative data analysis

Field visit introduction

Writing a research proposal

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture-based sessions: 7 x 2 hour sessions (14 hours)

Core content on research methods is taught in sessions before the field visit. After the field visit, additional learning is provided on developing a dissertation proposal. E-learning content is provided on Blackboard including interactive material using a range of multimedia sources.

Field Visit: 7 x 7 hour days (49 hours)

A residential field visit that applies students’ learning on a range of research methods, including the opportunity for students to implement their own group research project and reflect on the opportunities and challenges of carrying out research. Digital methodologies are employed where appropriate on the field visit to aid learning and comprehension.

Directed reading: 5 x 2 hours (10 hours)

Students are encouraged to extend their knowledge of specific research methods and to consider the ethical implications of these, ahead of interactive lecture sessions. Links to readings will be provided through appropriate e-learning tools, e.g. Reading Lists Online.

Assessment and independent learning (127)

Students will be assisted with independent learning through the provision of different multimedia sources available om Blackboard.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Evaluate the processes of research design including designing, implementing and evaluating research methodologies.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research in the discipline of environmental management.
  • Identify the key environmental, social and economic characteristics of a specified case-study / location and describe appropriate ways to research them.

Intellectual skills

  • Design research plans that employ a range of research methods.
  • Identify appropriate methods for researching how environmental, social and economic challenges and opportunities have influenced environmental management in a specified location.
  • Plan an independent research project drawing on appropriate research design and methodological techniques.

Practical skills

  • Identify appropriate data collection and analysis methods for conducting independent research.
  • Evaluate experiences of research in a specified case study location.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Collaborate effectively in a team to deliver a specified output.
  • Communicate effectively in both verbal and written form.
  • Evaluate the ethical implications of different research methods.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Report 75%
Oral assessment/presentation 25%

Feedback methods

Immediate formative feedback, written or audio feedback via Turnitin within the standard timeframe specified by the University

Written or audio feedback via Turnitin within the standard timeframe specified by the University

Recommended reading

Babey, A.M., 2020. Doing your research project. A guide for first-time researchers, McGraw-Hill Education, 2014, 273 pages.

Cottrell, S., 2019. The study skills handbook. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. Sage, London.

Montello, D. and Sutton, P., 2012. An introduction to scientific research methods in geography and environmental studies (Vol. 1). Sage, London.

Vero, S.E., 2021. Fieldwork Ready: An Introductory Guide to Field Research for Agriculture, Environment, and Soil Scientists (Vol. 188). John Wiley & Sons.

Walliman, N (2006) Social Research Methods. Sage, London (available online to read/download via University Library)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 49
Lectures 14
Independent study hours
Independent study 148

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Anna Gilchrist Unit coordinator

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