ENVPL490-22A (HAM)

Directed Study

30 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Environmental Planning


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: frances.douch@waikato.ac.nz

Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)


Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)


: melanie.chivers@waikato.ac.nz
: nat.enright@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
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Paper Description

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This paper provides students with the opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of an issue relating to environmental planning theory and/or practice. Students will develop a detailed understanding of how to conduct research, how to evaluate information, and a deeper knowledge of a specialised aspect of environmental planning.

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Paper Structure

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The paper comprises two elements. The first of these is the process of identifying a suitable topic or focus for independent study. Students will be able to choose a topic within three broad topic areas: Urban development, climate change and disaster resilience, and water. This will be undertaken in consultation with the student’s supervisor and will result in the preparation of a short introductory Research Brief which outlines the proposed topic, the rationale for its choice and identifies the core research questions to be addressed. The brief will provide a foundation for and direction to the study and will be supported by preliminary literature investigation.This first element of the paper must be successfully completed before the student may progress to the main task of writing a directed study of a maximum 5000 words.

The focus of the directed study must be some aspect of the theory and practice of environmental planning in New Zealand or internationally. Students will be encouraged to undertake theoretical challenges, for example relating to the application of current debates in planning theory to practical planning issues, or more practice based issues, for example critical evaluations of current planning policy at local, regional, national or international levels. In all cases, the expectation is that students will have a clear focus to their work represented through the identification of a clear research question or questions to be answered, and that they will draw upon an appropriate range of data, literature and research evidence to support their case.

Throughout the paper, students will be expected to attend and contribute to Focus Groups with their allocated supervisor, where they will be reporting progress and be able to raise issues that require guidance and discussion

Students will not be expected to engage in the collection of empirical data, for example through surveys or interviews. However, it is anticipated that students will make full use of existing data sources and information in support of their investigation.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Outcomes

    1. Demonstrate a clear capacity to reflect critically upon a key issue of environmental planning theory and practice;
    2. Demonstrate an ability to conduct an in-depth study of an appropriate issue supported by reference to, and use of, existing
    data, published sources and research evidence; and,
    3. Develop skills in researching for and writing a substantial document which will prepare them for tasks likely to be required in
    professional practice and further academic study.

    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessment for the paper is fully internal and is composed of 4 aspects. Preparation of a Research Brief, attendance and participation in Focus Groups, a Presentation, and a Final Report.
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Research Brief
27 Mar 2022
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Focus Groups
  • Other: In Focus Groups
3. Directed Study Presentation
2 May 2022
11:00 AM
  • Presentation: In Class
4. Directed Study Report
12 Jun 2022
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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MacCallum, D., Babb, C. Curtis, C. (2019) Doing Research in urban and regional planning: methods and methodology for beginners. Routledge: New York.

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Recommended Readings

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Hay, I. 2012: Communicating in Geography and the Environmental Sciences. South Melbourne, Vic. : Oxford University Press.
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Other Resources

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Environmental Planning Librarian: Melanie Chivers is our subject librarian. She can assist you with on line and hard copy searches in the library. (Ask at the information desk, or look under subject portals in the library catalogue or on extension 9129 or melanie.chivers@waikato.ac.nz).

Report writing resources: There are several resources/databases on research and report writing that you can access through the library:



Facebook: Come join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Environmental-Planning-University-of-Waikato/616898128337115. Don’t feel shy to post something interesting or add a comment.

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Online Support

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This paper will be supported online through Moodle.
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The 490 is a semester course.The bulk of the assessment is based on one element, the Directed Study report. It is thus essential that students carefully plan their workload. Ideally, each 15 point course should comprise approximately 150 hours of work over the period of the semester. It is important that this load is well spread and that students take into account the balance of their programme of study.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: ENVP390

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