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辅导ENST20001 Human Behaviour and Environment

ENST20001 Human Behaviour and Environment

Assignment 2: Assessing factors that influence environmental action
Due Date: 11pm Sunday May 15, 2022
Word limit: 1500 words (+/-10%) excluding reference list, interviewee quotes, coding table and transcripts of
interviews and field notes
Submission: Electronic copy submitted online through LMS (in the assessment section)
Assessment weighting: 35% of final grade
Late penalty: 5% per day

Objective
The objective of this assignment is to explore the relative importance of contextual and attitudinal factors in shaping
environmentally significant behaviour.
It responds in part to Stern (2000)’s assertion that: “The attitude-behaviour relationship is strongest when
contextual factors are neutral and approaches zero when contextual factors are strongly positive or negative,
effectively compelling or prohibiting the behaviour in question” (Stern 2000, p415).
Learning outcomes
Through completing this assignment, you will develop:
- a deeper understanding of theories of human-environment action and how these apply to issues of interest
to you
- a better understanding of why people do and do not take environmental action
- basic research skills for understanding human-environment interactions, including:
o introductory level skills in qualitative data collection and analysis
o skills for reporting social scientific information and applying this to questions about human-
environment interactions
Task
In this project you will research how attitudes and contextual factors shape the action or inaction of a small number
of people on an environmental issue. Through an interview and observation of one case (e.g. person or household),
you will undertake a qualitative exploration of Stern’s (2000) hypothesis regarding the influence of contextual and
attitudinal factors on behaviour.
You will answer the general research question:
How important are contextual and attitudinal factors in shaping a particular environmental behaviour?
Further advice on this assignment is provided on pages 3-6.

Assessment criteria
Read through these criteria before preparing your report since you will be assessed against these:
Clear argument and
effective use of
evidence (25%)
States the research question and aim clearly (and in line with assignment instructions)
Explains the relevance of that research question to the environment or species selected
Expresses a clear argument throughout the paper in response to the stated research question
Defends the argument effectively with evidence from academic publications and empirical
observation
Selects theory and past research that is relevant to the aim and topic, and explains how it is
relevant
Explains implications of methods (selection of participant, design of questions, analysis of
data) for achieving the aim
Organises and explains data analysis in relation to the stated aim and research question
Develops conclusions that directly relate to the stated research question and are based on
the findings presented
Understanding of
theory (30%)
Defines and explains all key terms or with explicit reference to subject readings
Demonstrates breadth of understanding of theory that is appropriate to the aim (i.e. covers
all necessary concepts necessary to the aim, and irrelevant concepts are not included)
Demonstrates evidence of broad reading, drawing on multiple sources including required
subject readings and academic articles reporting relevant empirical studies
Explains relevance and quality of any empirical research through brief account of the aim,
methods, and results of that work
Synthesises knowledge from different published sources (e.g. organising, comparing,
criticising)
Proposes hypotheses or expectations of findings that are plausible based on analysis theory
and empirical studies described
Interprets data with correct reference to theory, showing where this confirms, extends or
challenges the concepts in published literature
Understanding and
appropriate
application of basic
social science methods
(25%)
Describes methods comprehensively yet succinctly
Conducts data collection in a way that allows insights to participant’s perspective and is
consistent with assignment requirements, as evidenced by interview transcript [and field
notes – Research Report 2 only]
Analyses interview with appropriate attention to the research question, theory, and
sensitivity to language, behaviour and context of the participant, as evidenced by results
section and coding table
Selects appropriate quotes from interview transcript [and field notes in Research Report 2
only] to defend interpretations, and presents these appropriately (contextualised, explained)
Evaluates strengths and weaknesses of methods used in the study and draws appropriate
conclusions (i.e. not results are not generalised inappropriately, causal relationships are not
claimed where these cannot be defended).
Effective scientific
writing (20%)
Structures the report clearly, with appropriate headings and subheadings
Expresses ideas clearly with logical flow of well-structured paragraphs, professional language,
with correct spelling and grammar.
Complies with word limits as set for the assignment
Attributes and cites sources correctly and in APA style (both intext and in reference list). Note
that failure to acknowledge sources will be penalised in line with University academic honesty
processes.
Advice on completing this assignment
1 Preparing for data collection
1.1 Set topic and research question/s
Choose one topic for your research. This should be an environmental behaviour (action). Examples of
environmentally significant behaviours include specific transport choices, recycling, growing vegetables at home,
composting, and installation of solar panels, attending an environmental protest, using products made from wildlife,
signing a petition or voting for a particular issue.
You do not have to choose one of these examples but can select a behavior that is of interest to you, however in
selecting that behaviour please consider:
whether it is a ‘single, indivisible’ behaviour with a clear link to environmental impact (see Topic 6 lectures)
whether it is practical and ethical to observe the behaviour (see Topic 6.7 – reflection questions for some
questions to help you consider this)
whether there is suitable background research on the behaviour (Some behaviours are very well researched,
others not so. You will find clues on this in readings for Topic 6-9. You will also find guidance on researching
background literature in the Assessment Module in Canvas)
Determine the research question you will answer through your research, following the template provided on page 1
and specifying the behaviour you have chosen to study: How important are contextual and attitudinal factors in
shaping [insert a particular environmental behaviour]?

1.2 Search for and read background information
Before you start, ensure you understand the theory and past research that informs the question you will investigate.
Ensure you have read the required readings for Topics 5-9, which cover key general theories on
environmental behaviour.
Search for and read academic research on similar questions to the one you will address. For example, if your
research question is concerned with recycling, you will find research examining factors that encourage or
discourage recycling behaviour. Particularly search for academic, empirical research on this topic (Research
that is published in a peer reviewed journal and was based on observation - perhaps through interviews,
surveys or document analysis - of relevant attitudes and behaviour). See guidance on this in the Assessment
Module ‘Researching Published Literature on your Topic’.

1.3 Preparing for the data collection
You need to interview and observe relevant behaviour or one person. Interview and observations can be conducted
face-to-face or via video conference apps if that is feasible for the relevant behaviour. Interviews must be
transcribed, and observations must be documented in field notes. Support for planning this is briefly outlined below,
and dealt with in more detail across:
reading and reflection activity 6.3 in Canvas
tutorial activities in Week 2 and 8
online video (research skills) 2.5 and 6.10

Plan your observations: Your interview and observations should allow you to understand the links between the key
theories and the topic you are exploring. Plan what you will observe and ask to get this information. Keep in mind
that observations and interviews can provide very different kinds of information. Some possible focuses for
observation and interview are provided below. These are not intended to be comprehensive. You should select,
adapt and add to these to suit your topic. As you do so, consider the ethical issues that might arise through
observations. Make sure you plan your topic and observations to avoid discomfort for participants and protect their
confidentiality. Once you have planned your approach, practice them with a friend or someone from the class.
Potential approaches for observing behaviour:
Ask the participant to “show me how you do [a particular behaviour]”
Ask permission to observe the participant while they undertake a behaviour
Ask permission to take photographs of relevant behaviour settings (see example in required reading 6.3) –
make sure you don’t include any identifying information
Ask permission to view documents that are relevant to the behaviour – e.g. energy use bills or food receipts
– make sure you don’t include any identifying information

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