POPST201-19A (HAM)

Population Studies

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
National Institute Demographic Economic Analysis


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: sheree.findon@waikato.ac.nz

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: jillene.bydder@waikato.ac.nz

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Paper Description

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This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the exciting multi-disciplinary field of Population Studies. Students will gain a sound understanding of the demographic foundations of Population Studies, and explore some of the rich theories and methods drawn from related fields such as economics, geography, sociology and anthropology. This course includes local, national and global content to ensure that students understand both the population dynamics of Aotearoa New Zealand – including the distinctive nature of indigenous Māori demography - and the broader international context.

The paper has five modules.

Module 1 introduces students to Population Studies as a discipline, as well as a central concept, The Demographic Transition.

Module 2 explores the underlying building blocks of population change: fertility, family formation, mortality and migration.

Module 3 explores different forms of migration and the impacts that immigration has had on New Zealand’s population growth and composition.

Module 4 covers the applications and implications of population research with a particular focus on the policy implications of population composition. We also examine why and how populations are projected into the future.

Module 5 introduces students to the relationship between Population Studies and other core contributing disciplines, and are encouraged to develop a critical lens about how populations are studied and represented.

A new module will be made available in Moodle fortnightly and includes self-paced lectures (uploaded weekly) and course readings. Each module is accompanied by a workshop devoted to related concepts, indices, theories, and analytical techniques.

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Paper Structure

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The course is entirely internally assessed (1:0). Assessment includes a mixture of practical workshops, population briefs on focus topics, and a research report (2,500 word max).
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Describe population processes in their local, national and global contexts.
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  • Describe how population change is both cause and effect of societal change.
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  • Describe the drivers and implications of population change.
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  • Apply a range of demographic, social, geographic and economic concepts and methods to provide an understanding of populations.
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  • Communicate your ideas in written form for a professional audience.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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This paper utilises a mix of traditional and practical assessment. Traditional assessment refers to conventional short answer tests, discursive essays, etc. By contrast, practical assessment is an integrated form of teaching, learning and assessment via which students are required to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate a meaningful understanding and application of the knowledge and skills that they are acquiring. The course does not require mathematical ability. The focus is on communicating the ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘who’, ‘why’ and ‘so what?’ of population change. If nothing else, this should make you an interesting dinner guest.

Assessment Schedule

Workshops are uploaded to Moodle every Tuesday at noon. Workshop assignments are due Friday of that week at noon.

All assessments are to be accessed and submitted through Moodle.

Open date/timeClose date/timeAssessmentValue (%)
Tuesday 5 March, 1pmFriday 8 March, 1pmWorkshop 15%
Tuesday 19 March, 1pmFriday 22 March, 1pmWorkshop 25%
Tuesday 2 April, 1pmFriday 5 April, 1pmWorkshop 35%
Friday 12 April, 1pmPop brief #115%
Friday 10 May, 1pmPop brief #215%
Tuesday 14 May, 1pmFriday 17 May, 1pmWorkshop 45%
Friday 24 May, 1pmReport outline15%
Tuesday 28 May, 1pmFriday 31 May, 1pmBonus workshop (optional)5%
Friday 7 June, 1pmFinal report35%

Note: a very useful site for checking your knowledge is: http://quizlet.com/529702/population-and-migration-flash-cards/

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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. Workshops 4 @ 5% each
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Population briefs 2 @ 15% each
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Report outline
24 May 2019
1:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Final Report
7 Jun 2019
1:00 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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Weeks JR. 2015. Population. An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, Twelfth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

(10th and 11th Editions are suitable).

There are copies of the 2015 edition as well as earlier editions in the University of Waikato library. The e-book can be purchased from Cengage online for $74.95 - https://cengage.co.nz/product/title/population-an-introduction-to-concepts-and-is/isbn/9781305094505

Additional Resources: available on Moodle

There will be assigned readings for each lecture available on Moodle – ensure that you do the readings before the lecture. Throughout the course, supplementary items (e.g. related to emerging issues) will be provided as issues arise. Students are encouraged to keep an eye on the mass media generally for relevant, topical material. Use should also be made of the internet to keep abreast of major debates in the area of population and development: websites for the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Bank are particularly useful. Statistics New Zealand and the Australian Bureau of Statistics websites are also valuable sources of freely available demographic data.

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Online Support

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Online support is via Moodle. Students are able to access in-person support by booking a meeting time with the teaching staff.
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This 20 point course requires approximately 200 hours of active engagement, reading and preparation over the 14 week period (break included). This translates to about 13-14 hours per week, inclusive of the 2 * 1 hour lectures. Allocate your time to allow for a heavier workload in the weeks leading up to assignments.

The lectures should be seen as an entry point for deeper inquiry. You will be expected to use your initiative, and to read and reflect to gain a deeper understanding of the topics introduced in the lectures.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: POPS201

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