POPST302-20B (HAM)

Exploring Population Change

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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: shefali.pawar@waikato.ac.nz

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Paper Description

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The paper covers basic population measures of fertility, nuptiality, mortality, migration and health; life table construction and its link to survival analysis; population projection; and mixed methods. Several newer approaches and uses (such as administrative data and big data) are also introduced. Presentations in lectures and tutorials include algebra and students should have completed POPST201. It is assumed that students are up to date on access and processing of electronic research material, both through Moodle, and other resources provided through the library (such as JSTOR, Web of Knowledge, etc). The paper will make significant use of the excel spreadsheet software and students will get hands on experience applying that to population studies through tutorials.

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Paper Structure

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This paper is entirely internally assessed (1:0). Assessment includes three short commentaries, five assignments, one report outline and one final report.

POPST302 is a 15 point paper at level three. Students are expected to do 8-10 hours per week (over the 14 week semester) of study, reading, writing, and data manipulation through assignments in addition to the following:

  • Weekly lectures: 12 x 2 = 24 hours
  • Tutorial sessions: 5 x 2 = 10 hours
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • 1. Understand and describe the processes that cause population change;
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  • 2. Understand and apply various concepts and methods to study population change;
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  • 3. Understand and interpret various demographic measures;
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  • 4. Understand, construct, calculate and interpret basic demographic indicators;
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  • 5. Access various demographic data sources and understand their relative strengths and weaknesses;
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  • 6. Understand the relationship between population change and policy
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  • 6. Understand the relationship between population change and policy;
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  • 7. Read and communicate ideas regarding population issues in written form.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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This paper makes use of the following assessments:

  1. Three short commentaries (4% each, 12% total) on media and opinion pieces (including videos) referring to population issues. These will be short (200-250 words long).
  2. Five assignments (8% each, 40% total) will include problem sets that make significant use of spreadsheet software.
  3. Report submitted in two parts:
    1. Report Outline (10%), up to two pages.
    2. Final Report (38%), between 2000-2500 words.

Detailed guidelines for commentaries, report outline and final report will be provided well in advance based on the assessment schedule below.

Assessment Schedule

Open Date/TimeClose Date/TimeAssessmentValue (%)
Thursday 16 July, 10 amWednesday 22 July, 4 pmAssignment 18
Thursday 23 July, 10 amWednesday 29 July, 4 pmAssignment 28
Thursday 30 July, 10 amWednesday 5 August, 4 pmAssignment 38
Monday 10 August, 10 amFriday 14 August, 4 pmCommentary 14
Thursday 20 August, 10 amWednesday 26 August, 4 pmAssignment 48
Thursday 20 August, 10 amFriday 18 September, 4 pmReport Outline10
Monday 14 September, 10 am Friday 18 September, 4 pmCommentary 2 4
Thursday 24 September, 10 amWednesday 30 September 4 pmAssignment 5 8
Monday 5 October, 10 amFriday 9 October, 4 pm Commentary 3 4
Thursday 20 August, 10 amFriday 23 October, 4 pmFinal Report38
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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. Short Commentaries (3 x 4% each)
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Assignments (5 x 8% each)
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Report outline
18 Sep 2020
4:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Final report
23 Oct 2020
4:00 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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This course will make use of Moodle. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the field of population studies, we will have several virtual local and international guest lecturers throughout this semester. A comprehensive schedule with required readings, journal articles citations, guest lecturers bios, and links to available course material, as appropriate will be listed there. Students are encouraged to keep an eye on the mass media for relevant, topical material. Use should also be made of the internet to keep abreast of major debates. The course will draw mainly from the following text books:

Rowland, D. (2003). Demographic Methods and Concepts. Oxford University Press. Multiple copies of this book are available in the Library. See also http://www.oup.com/uk/orc/bin/9780198752639/

Yusuf, F., Martins, J., & Swanson, D. (2013). Methods of Demographic analysis. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. Copies of this book are available in the Library and online see: https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.waikato.ac.nz/lib/waikato/detail.action?docID=1538857

Carmichael, G. (2016). Fundamentals of Demographic Analysis: Concepts, Measures and Methods. Springer. Copies of this book are available in the Library and online see: https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.waikato.ac.nz/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-23255-3

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Recommended Readings

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In addition, you may wish to consult other recommended materials. All are useful in their own way and take up population methods from different viewpoints. I will draw on some of them during lectures.

Preston, S., P. Heuveline and M. Guillot.(2001). Demography: Measuring and Modeling Population Processes. Oxford. A standard text that contains formal demographic development of key material, emphasizing fertility, mortality, and age structure.

Poston, D., & Micklin, M. (2005).Handbook of Population. Springer. Contains comprehensive overviews of major topics in demography.Several chapters treat methodological issues. Also in paper and an e-book via Josiah.

Haupt, A., Kane, T., & Haub, C. (2011). The Population Handbook. Population Reference Bureau. Available at: https://www.prb.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/prb-population-handbook-2011.pdf

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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 15 point course requires two hours of active engagement with lectures per week and five two-hour tutorials during the semester. Successful completion of the course will require at least a further 8-10 hours per week of self-directed study following up on essential reading, content revision and completion of written assignments.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite papers: POPS201 or POPST201




Restricted papers: POPS302

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