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Answer: MN3131 Ecology and Sustainability: Contemporary Issues

MN3131 Ecology and Sustainability: Contemporary Issues

Assessment Brief 2019-20

The assessment for this module is a 2500-word essay on a topic of your choice drawing upon theories and materials relevant to the module. You have the choice to adopt an empirical (focused on an example) or a conceptual approach (focusing on a theory or concept) or a combination of both.

For an empirical focus

Focus your essay on an example taken from a company or organisation, for instance: a sustainability policy (e.g. evaluating its ecological value); a product/object/innovation that has been developed to tackle an environmental concern (e.g. a recyclable phone) or known to have caused environmental problems; a management process (e.g. recycling electronic waste, saving water) a confrontation with an environmental protest (e.g. anti-fracking, south Dakota water protectors), or a specific response to an environmental issue more broadly (e.g. water pollution, climate change, water stewardship). This list is not exhaustive, you are welcome to explore other ideas and discuss them with the module leader. If you choose an empirical approach your essay should include

• A detailed description of your organisation and problem of focus. What do they do, how, users and stakeholders? Describe the problem and environmental issue or issues you are focusing on.

• A critical analysis of its ecological implications using a theoretical approach from the module completed with your own private study and reading of academic literature (e.g. you can choose to analyse a company’s policy for environmental sustainability from the perspective of the recycling of waste, and look at how this puts in practice elements of ecology (cyclic thinking) ecological management (supply chain loops) and how it could be done better (implementing principles or business models from the “circular economy”).

• You can also include relevant information from the press (but remember this does not replace the appropriate use of academic literature).

For a conceptual or theoretical focus:

Choose a concept or a theory presented in the module and use the essay to expand your knowledge on it. For instance, you could explicate and analyse the concept of socio-ecological resilience, one aspect of the theory of ecological commons, or to comparatively analyse the Anthropocene versus the Capitalocene concepts. You can also choose a theory relevant to ecology and sustainability that has not been discussed in the module (but please let the module leader know if you do). If you choose a theoretical approach your essay should include:

• A detailed presentation of the concept or theory you are focusing on.

• Critical analysis of its ecological implications using materials from the module complemented with your own private study and reading of academic literature.

• If relevant have your discussion include one or two organisational examples (obviously presented with less detail than if your essay takes an empirical approach) to illustrate the theory and evaluate its relevance.

Whether you prefer to work on an empirical or conceptual approach we recommend that you choose your examples from a sector you are interested in or have some knowledge of (whether this is retail marketing, banking, tourism, non-profit sector…). It is better to choose examples on which there is abundant information – a website explaining how an organisation, a project, or object came to be, press articles, reports or interviews with company leaders. You can choose examples mentioned during lectures but you obviously need to go further in your research than the information that has been already discussed in class or is available in slides and set readings. The deadline for submission is April 2nd 2020, 3pm. NB. Please try to choose at least an essay topic by WEEK FIVE and email it to oz.gore@leicester.ac.uk --- you can still change topic but this way you can get early on the right track. I will not be reading essay drafts but I can comment on essay outlines. *** General guidelines on good essay writing Literature Your essay should demonstrate that you have understood the key concepts you are using and give evidence of critical analysis. The more you read, explore, and reflect critically the more you are likely to write an essay that obtains higher marks

• Read the weekly set readings. Your thinking on this topic will progress gradually and you will develop in-depth understanding.

• When preparing your essay you can work with the set and complementary readings as well as the lectures to get you started but using only these will not be enough to write a good essay focused on your topic.

• The essay needs to show you have done your own research, read, analysed, understood and made reasoned use of academic literature to support your arguments

• Use the search engine at the library to look for academic papers by typing keywords on a chosen topic (e.g.: resilience management, circular economy, sports industry recycling, mobile technologies waste management…).

• Play with search engine filters (e.g. “Scholarly & Peer-Review Articles” “Book/e-Book”) when you are looking for academic literature.

• Browsing specialised journals mentioned in the module outline can be helpful (you don’t need however to limit yourself to these as sustainability and ecological issues are discussed in a wide range of academic contexts).

• If relevant have your discussion include one or two organisational examples (obviously presented with less detail than if your essay takes an empirical approach) to illustrate the theory and evaluate its relevance. Whether you prefer to work on an empirical or conceptual approach we recommend that you choose your examples from a sector you are interested in or have some knowledge of (whether this is retail marketing, banking, tourism, non-profit sector…). It is better to choose examples on which there is abundant information – a website explaining how an organisation, a project, or object came to be, press articles, reports or interviews with company leaders. You can choose examples mentioned during lectures but you obviously need to go further in your research than the information that has been already discussed in class or is available in slides and set readings. The deadline for submission is April 2nd 2020, 3pm. NB. Please try to choose at least an essay topic by WEEK FIVE and email it to oz.gore@leicester.ac.uk --- you can still change topic but this way you can get early on the right track. I will not be reading essay drafts but I can comment on essay outlines. *** General guidelines on good essay writing Literature Your essay should demonstrate that you have understood the key concepts you are using and give evidence of critical analysis. The more you read, explore, and reflect critically the more you are likely to write an essay that obtains higher marks • Read the weekly set readings. Your thinking on this topic will progress gradually and you will develop in-depth understanding. • When preparing your essay you can work with the set and complementary readings as well as the lectures to get you started but using only these will not be enough to write a good essay focused on your topic. • The essay needs to show you have done your own research, read, analysed, understood and made reasoned use of academic literature to support your arguments • Use the search engine at the library to look for academic papers by typing keywords on a chosen topic (e.g.: resilience management, circular economy, sports industry recycling, mobile technologies waste management…). • Play with search engine filters (e.g. “Scholarly & Peer-Review Articles” “Book/e-Book”) when you are looking for academic literature. • Browsing specialised journals mentioned in the module outline can be helpful (you don’t need however to limit yourself to these as sustainability and ecological issues are discussed in a wide range of academic contexts).

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