Earth Science Honours 4420

Course code GEOS4420Units 20Level 4000Faculty of Science and Information TechnologySchool of Environmental and Life Sciences

GEOS4420 is a largely self-directed course that provides students in the Earth Science Honours program with skills in critically reviewing the Earth Sciences literature. The specific areas of Earth Science that are covered by each student relate to two topic areas: one which forms the basis of their Honours thesis, and a second that forms the basis of their Coursework Essay and Seminar.

In the process of working through their Honours thesis proposal (see GEOS4410), students will consult the literature that relates to the specific research problem that their thesis addresses. This allows them to focus on the background to their research problem and how earth scientists have approached the problem in the past. This process also provides students with valuable insights into which field or laboratory methods are most appropriate. Students with appreciate how their research results can plug existing gaps in knowledge.

In the case of the Coursework Essay, students have the opportunity to hone their literature review skills. Here, they choose a topic in the earth sciences (not directly related to their thesis) where there exists more than one viewpoint. They trace the development of ideas about the topic, and critically evaluate these viewpoints. Based on this critical evaluation, students must then assess which viewpoint(s) they "support", if any, and, importantly, why they favour one over others. The choice of topic is discussed with the Earth Sciences Honours coordinator before being approved. This is written up as an essay. Following feedback from essay examiners, a student presents an oral version of their coursework topic. This course does not count with GEOS4121.

In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory Workplace Health and Safety requirement. Students will receive full information on this compulsory course component in the course outline provided by the school.

Available in 2015

Callaghan CampusSemester 1, Semester 2
Previously offered in 2014
ObjectivesOn successful completion of this course, students will have:

1. Experience in searching and critically reviewing the literature in two major topic areas.
2. Gained fundamental insights into how earth science knowledge is conveyed
3. Developed skills in critically evaluating scientific debates.
4. Extensive experience in using electronic databases
5. Valuable experience in critical oral and written presentation.
Content1. Discussion of coursework essay options with the coordinator
2. One Earth Science workshop on the practical aspects of conducting literature reviews, electronic databases, interlibrary loans, previous theses.
3. Submission of coursework essay for review by two examiners.
4. Preparation of coursework seminar for critical review by Discipline staff.
Replacing Course(s)NA
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeA major in Earth Sciences or Environmental Science and Management with a credit average at 3000 level.
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsProblem Based Learning
Self Directed Learning
Assessment Items
Essays / Written Assignments
Presentations - IndividualOral coursework seminar presentation.
Contact HoursSelf Directed Learning: for 18 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Seminar: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Workshop: for 2 hour(s) per Week for 1 weeks
Compulsory Components
Compulsory Course ComponentWHS-Safety Induction or Risk Assessment. Compulsory Course Component: In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory safety and/or fieldwork induction.
Timetables2015 Course Timetables for GEOS4420