ENVR 300 · Introduction to Research in Environmental Science

Environmental research. Students investigate research methodologies and reporting in a range of scientific disciplines and fields. [3-0-0]
Prerequisite: Open to all students with third-year, or higher, standing in the Faculty of Science.

Course Availability & Schedule

Learning Goals

Course level learning goals:

Conceptual skills:

  • Understand, evaluate, and synthesize relevant environmental information from a variety of quantitative and qualitative information sources and viewpoints and draw reasonable conclusions.
  • Characterize the strengths and limitations of the major technical tools used in environmental science (e.g., models, statistical analysis, network monitoring, population surveys, …..).
  • Understand the distinctions between data, experiment, theory and model.
  • Understand the distinctions between observation, interpretation, pattern and process.
  • Understand the distinctions between uncertainty, precision, error and bias.
  • Understand systems thinking and interconnectedness, and the different purposes of reductionist and holistic approaches to science.
  • Understand scale and scale dependence of environmental phenomena, and how those are reflected in environmental information.

Research skills:

  • Find relevant environmental information of all types.
  • Formulate and ask multiple relevant and testable research questions about the environment, and construct a proposal to answer such questions.
  • Critically review environmental information so as to illuminate a research question.

Communication skills:

  • Communicate a coherent synthesis and analysis of environmental information, orally, graphically, and in writing.
  • Explain the multi-faceted nature of major environmental issues (e.g., biodiversity loss, climate change, air quality, and land/seascape management), especially the science and its contribution to policy, politics, etc.
  • Present your analysis of a body of environmental information to your peers and also for non-scientists.

Collaboration skills:

  • Effectively work on group projects, playing all possible roles within the group.
  • Evaluate the work of other groups, from an external perspective.
  • Evaluate the work of other individuals.


  • Understand at least three areas of environmental science in some depth.


Tara Ivanochko and Valentina Radic

Course Content

ENVR 300 is designed to develop conceptual-, research-, communication- and collaboration skills in the context of developing capability for the conduct and synthesis of environmental research. Students will, through research they conduct, develop their understanding of substantive knowledge in at least three areas of environmental science in some depth.

Course content topics will be:
· Science as a Process;
· Environmental Monitoring;
· Environmental Modelling;

Graded Class Activities
· Group Project: Data Analysis, Report and Oral Presentation
· Group Project: Environmental Modelling, Report and Oral Presentation
· Individual Project: Research Proposal
· Learning Portfolio

Also check out the Environmental Sciences home page.