The Role of Scientific Information in Environmental Decisions
PbAf 595 / ENVIR 500
Group Project Information
The objectives of the group project are:
- to provide students the opportunity to apply the tools and frameworks they have learned to real world decisions of interest to them, and to communicate the results to a decision maker;
- to lead students to recognize both the strengths of using various methods of analysis but also the requirements, implications, and limits of such approaches; and
- to give students experience with working in a team.
Students will be assigned into teams of three to four individuals. Each team will focus on a decision of interest based on feedback on the first assignment or individual consultation.
Groups are asked to carry out an analysis for their decision. Each group is asked to turn in one final report describing the decision issue and analysis. The form of the report should be a memo of 8-10 pages (double spaced) written to the person or group who would make the decision. Be sure to include an executive summary. The page limit also includes tables, figures, and references. The report should describe the group's examination and analysis of the pertinent elements of the decision including, at a minimum, a discussion of:
- the decision
- the decision maker(s)
- the constituents - who benefits, who loses under various outcomes
- the time frame, the spatial scope, etc.
- sources of information - measurement, modeling, expert judgment
- the decision options and alternatives, the reversibility of the outcomes
- tradeoffs and consequences in the decision
- sources of uncertainty - including an identification of those that are significant or thwart the decision
The analysis could include a discussion of the importance of context to the decision analysis. For example, what would change if the decision took place in the US vs. the European Union? How does the analysis change if the decision is considered at a different "scale" (of size or time or another dimension).
It is expected that teams will use materials and resources beyond the textbook. Web searches and other kinds of literature searches should support the effort.
There will be homework assignments throughout the quarter that will encourage students to address some of the elements outlined above.
The following dates are important for the group project:
|April 20||Group Project Workshop .. Each group will have 5 minutes to present to the class basic information about their decision of interest, and to solicit input from classmates. The project proposal is also due on this day.|
|May 3, 4||Group meetings with the instructor|
|May 30 & June 1||Group presentations in class|
|June 7, 5 pm||Final project due|
- Handout on strategies for overcoming difficulties and enhancing group cohesion