Assessment task 2: Environmental Communication Tutorial Paper.
Students develop a tutorial paper based on original/independent research into a specific case study which interests them, which incorporates critical analysis of the communication of an environmental issue in the media or public policy sphere, and offers a synthesis of academic perspectives and contemporary practices of environmental communication.
The topic chosen should be relevant to the general topic of the week to which they are allocated by their tutor. The paper can be written on any topic of your choice within the broad area of the assigned week’s topic, pursuing relevant issues which arouse your passions or curiosity. Please use the A1 sheets and opportunities to consult with peers and your tutor in class for your ideas.
Students briefly present the outlines and key facts of the case study, and the central research question(s)/argument(s) of their draft paper to the class. This will provide opportunities to incorporate suggestions and feedback from peers and the tutor into the final written paper.
The submitted written work should represent a thorough examination of the issues at stake in the case study for environmental communication in the public sphere, offering close readings of relevant academic sources (eg. those provided in the DRR reserve, or independently sourced) and applying insights to a clearly defined case study clearly articulating and justifying the ethical and policy implications of the case study in a concluding discussion.
To develop your ideas about what is meant by a ‘case study’ see for example:
http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/casestudy NB: it is not expected that you follow this format !
Please use subheadings to divide the tutorial paper into clear sections such as below. This is only a suggestion, you may be creative, no need to follow this to the letter.
1. Your name, tutorial group etc, email etc.
2. Descriptive title of your paper. Eg. “What are the obstacles to 100% renewable energy in Australia?”, “Student strikes for climate action: students moral claims and the public responses of politicians” or “The acoustic ecology of whales and anti-whaling activists”, “Opportunities for and obstacles to desert species conservation in the Tanami Indigenous Protected Area”, “To sell or to ban? Elephant conservation and policy approaches to the ilicit trade in ivory” or the “The communication strategies of the Standing Rock Sioux Pipeline Protestors”, or “350.orgs vs. the Great Barrier Reef Foundation: Social Media Strategies of corporate and community actors on the Great Barrier Reef Bleaching”, “Is Earth Hour more than a tokenism?” etc.
3. Introduction: General out line of the environmental problem you will explore – history, scientific basics, political context, key actors, public policy issues etc (eg. impact of plastic pollution on seabirds). This should show why it is important (what is at stake?) and relevant to the broad weekly topic you have chosen. Here you should explain key concepts, and quote academic sources ( both provided and found by your own research) that have helped you conceptualise the issue, and sources of information. arch questions. State the questions you think interesting in all of this Why? When? How? What? Who.
Introduce key concepts: what are the concepts and theories involved: eg ‘polluter pays principle’ , ‘precautionary principle’, ‘sustainable development’, climate justice, ‘protected areas’, ‘the commons’ ‘externalities’, ‘ common but differentiated responsibilities’ ‘green washing’ ‘astroturfing’ . Seek definitions from academic sources and discuss as these concepts are highly contested.
4. Focus in. Define case study as an example of a general problem. Be specific about a place (a country, a town, a jurisdiction, a nation, a forest, a mine, a species, a policy objective). The actors (who are the key players? Individuals, organisations, corporations, NGOs, scientists, politicians, etc) Describe environmental issue; what is the problem? How and by whom is it defined? What are the facts of the case? What do the experts say? What data is available? What ‘nature’ are we talking about? What technology? What is your evidence? Is it reliable? What is known, unknown and hidden? Communication: who communicates what and how to whom by what means? What is the controversy? What evidence and ethical principles are debated? What strategies are or might be used in this field of environmental communication, what motives are behind these strategies. .
Examples fo case studies: the controversy over the chemical causes of bee colony collapse disorder in the European Union in the last 3 years. ). The events and PR campaigns that lead to the collapse of Australia’s pro-renewable energy climate change policies (introduced by Rudd/Gillard Labour and repealed by Abbott/Turnbull LNP. Who are the main players, what interests groups are there? How do they contest environmental politics, policy and science and influence public debate and belief? Again, cite your sources academic and non-academic.
5. Method. What you will do to explore the questions, investigate the issue and present findings. This should contain verbs like analyse, collate, critique, document, compare, produce, argue, compose etc.. Using Cox’s theory of environmental communication (p. 99) I will critically analyse the recent TV advertising strategy supporting coal on Australian commercial stations, comparing their framing of the relevant issues with the claims of #StopAdani. …. I will analyse the Landscape Guardians links to to fossil fuel interests and antienvironmentalist thinktanks and write an investigative journalism picece on how its strategy of anti-windfarm counter-science echoed similar campain tactics used in etc etc…..Margaret Atwoods novel Oryx and Crake presents a world where genetically engineered species dominate a post-mass extinction event. How plausible is her dystopia?
6. Discussion- What are the main issues that arise from your engagement with the question and the topic. What is at stake, for whom? What judgements do feel able to make in terms of responding to the questions arising from the topic and your own case study? What to relevant experts say? Are they or vested interests capable of defining the public policy debate and response?
7. Conclusions? Any comment on what you hope, anticipate or expect the outcome or finding might be? Any difficulties or complexities worthy of future research? Evaluation: what is at stake, what is your judgement? What is the truth likely to be? What would ‘justice’ look like? Who’s to blame ? Who has the agency to make change happen? What change is possible? What to we need to do?
8. Reference list. (not included in word count)
All sources cited referenced in full, consistent with an academic style eg. UTS Harvard (see library site). Only reference sources cited in-text should be referenced. Cite a range of academic articles and books, ‘grey literature’ eg reports produced by govts, NGOs, cultural or artistic works and artefacts, websites, advertisements, newspapers.
Assessment task 2 Marking Rubric
Fail Pass Credit Distinction High Distinction
Depth and accuracy of research and
investigation Unable to determine the topic under investigation
Little or no engagement with relevant topic and ideas
Inadequate research with little or poor synthesis of materials.
Topic is discussed at a general level. Adequate engagement with relevant topic and ideas
Reasonable reading and synthesis with room for improvement in depth and breadth of reading and synthesis.
Good engagement with relevant topic and ideas
Well researched with some diversity of reading and good synthesis of materials
Thorough engagement topic and ideas relevant to the subject
Widely researched with evidence of very good comprehension of diverse perspectives
Intellectual initiative and creativity used to engage topic and relevant ideas
Relevant research materials thoroughly synthesised and discussed in a way that demonstrates integrated understanding of a range of perspectives
Strength of argument, Depth of critical reflection Relevant issues not identified
Little or no evidence of analysis or interpretation;
Viewpoints of experts are taken as fact, without question.
Use of inappropriate or off-topic generalisations
Errors of fact
Work is both traditional and predictable, reflects minimal original thought, lacks identification of or critical approach to sources and topics. Descriptive and anecdotal with little use of theory or relevant concepts
Some relevant issues introduced
Some evidence of analysis and interpretation;
Rudimentary analysis and interpretation of selected issues;
Sources of are taken at face value, with little questioning of how authoritive or credible sources might be..
Some inappropriate repetition of detail
Relies largely upon the arguments and evidence developed by others
Little evidence of reflection and insight
Identifies key theories, concepts and issues but is unable to draw inferences
Limited acknowledgement of different perspectives
Little development of own ideas, insights or conclusions Substantial level of interpretative and analytical ability, evidenced by sound analysis of some issues;
Use of key theories, concepts and frameworks for interpretation of significant issues;
Contains some appropriate details and/or examples
Viewpoints of experts are subject to questioning
Some evidence of reflection and insight
May acknowledge different perspectives, approaches or aspects of an issue
Assumptions or biases of self and others are not always recognised
Very high level of interpretative and analytical ability, evidenced by effective analysis of all issues;
Effective use of key theories, concepts and frameworks for sound interpretation of significant issues.
Details are convincingly interpreted
Can describe and defend own position
Viewpoints of experts are questioned thoroughly.
Clear evidence of reflection and insight
Key theories, concepts, issues and opinions gained from research are clearly and thoroughly assessed and evaluated
Different perspectives, approaches or aspects of an issue are identified
Own and others assumptions and biases are made explicit
Extremely high level of interpretative and analytical ability, evidenced by thorough and effective analysis and synthesis of all issues;
Thorough use of key theories, concepts and frameworks for insightful interpretation of significant issues.
Limited nature of own argument is articulated and boundaries of disciplinary understanding challenged.
Rich evidence of reflection and insight
Recognises multiple perspectives and dimensions of issues in context through nuanced, complex understanding
Evidence of deep, critical reflection upon one’s own personal assumptions or beliefs in response to theories, ideas or practices explored, and in light of other perspectives.
Clarity of expression and structure Inadequate or inadequate definition of topic
Unclear introduction and/or conclusion;
Inconsistent or inadequate use of structure to clarify ideas;
Insufficient evidence of central argument Some definition of topic; and/or
Basic structure of ideas and some linkage evident; and/or
Some structure apparent;
Central argument developed or supported minimally.
Topic well defined;
Effective structure of ideas for clarity;
Use of ideas and evidence to develop and support central argument;
Clear and careful definition of topic;
Presentation of a reasoned and well-paced argument;
Linkage between different parts, with very good development and support of central argument;
Meaningful conclusion drawn.
Very clear and careful definition of topic;
Presentation of a well-reasoned and well-paced argument;
Logical links between different parts;
Different parts strongly support central thesis of argument;
Insightful conclusion drawn.
Credibility, variety and quantity of
sources Inadequate reading and research; and/or
Research is evident but sources are not credible and/or relevant
Overuse of quotations Minimal reading and research (some use of provided references);
Limited use of relevant research, demonstrating minimally adequate engagement with readings
Quotations may be too long or not used.
Reading and research beyond recommended general references;
Use of relevant research to support findings
Effective use of quotations
Evidence of wide reading and research;
Specific reference made to a range of relevant literature, policy discussion papers, and articles;
Evidence of critical and analytical use of relevant literature. Evidence of extensive reading and research;
Specific reference made to a range of relevant literature, policy discussion papers and articles;
Relevant literature used critically and analytically, presenting a balance of perspectives.
Originality, focus and relevance of case study Unclear what the focus of the study is: lacking adequate detail and context on the specific site, problem, history, stakeholders or localityy of the environmnetal communication issue, unrelated or only vaguely related evidence and problem definition. Work shows inspiration from ideas borrowed from others to identify a releveant case study and address relevant issue or problem
Relies upon narrow base of arguments and evidence developed by others, needing further research to show the complexity of the issue.
Little development of own ideas, insights or conclusions Work is unique but somewhat lacking in independent inquiry.
Some originality in developing new arguments or relating independently researched ideas or facts in original ways to subject themes and set materials.
Some development of ideas, insights or conclusions
Work is intellectually creative and novel, showing a clear grasp of subject themes and set materials and original application of them to an independently researched context or issue.
Own ideas and insights are well developed
Work is highly innovative, unusual and novel, ideas display inventiveness with originality in the analysis, choice of case study, and development of theoretical ideas from relevant academic sources as well as evidence from environmental communication in the public sphere
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