Module Code: SOC10005

Module Title: Environment and Society

Assignment Three: Essay (1700 words – 48% of mark)

This assessment presents you with an opportunity to find out more about an environmental issue you are interested in. It will help you to develop skills in analysing and applying both empirical and theoretical research.  As a practical exercise in analysing the social aspects of environmental problems and solutions, it will assist you in developing an understanding informed by the social sciences, of the relationship between the society and the environment we live within and experience.

  • Step One

Analyse the research that you have gathered for your Annotated Bibliography in order to identify themes within this literature, and create an argument informed by these themes and literature.


Themes show the links between the research content. Simple themes may include for example a) an overview of the problem itself b) a discussion of the impact of the problem and c) what can be done to address it. You are welcome to use these three themes for your essay, or you are welcome to use other themes that you have identified as significant to structure your essay. Each theme would represent a substantive paragraph within the main body of your essay.


Throughout the essay, you need to show your reader how the research and analysis you have undertaken, have led you to the argument you have created to make sense of the environmental problem you have explored. As such, your argument should be clearly stated in the essay’s introduction. In the main body, you should show how each theme supports your argument. In the conclusion you should aim to show how your argument has been consolidated. To develop your argument, you need to be able to take a step back from all of your reading, and be able to put forward an overarching position that links this content, and offers insight and understanding that could help to address the environmental problem. This can take time and shouldn’t be rushed. It can be helpful to chat with others about your ideas to help you refine your argument.

  • Step Two

Think about key concepts/theories from the unit’s lectures and from your own reading, that help to explain and make sense of what you are exploring. If there are some that are relevant, think about where and how you can apply them within your themes to help inform and strengthen your argument. This will involve further reading (don’t rely on lecture slides, find original sources), so you should have more than 10 sources cited in your essay.

  • Step Three

Using TEEL: Topic Sentence (what is this theme about), Explanation (unpack the relevance of this theme for your reader), Evidence (discuss and cite your literature that supports this), Link to argument (show how this information supports your argument), write out your main body paragraphs according to the themes that you have identified. For an essay of this size, three or four themes would allow you to go into sufficient depth. This is a helpful guide only and does not need to be followed rigidly.

  • Step Four

Write your Conclusion next, summarising how you have supported your argument. The goal of all academic writing is to create an argument that offers insight and understanding that can help to address what has been explored.

  • Step Five

Finish by writing your Introduction (this seems counter-intuitive, but it isn’t until the end of the process that we have all the pieces we need to write the introduction). In your Introduction you should include context to show where your research fits within the broader area, highlight to the reader why the topic is important and worth exploring, provide an overview of the themes that shall be discussed, identify any key concepts and/or theories that you shall apply, and state your argument clearly.

  • Step Six

Write up your Reference List using the Swinburne Harvard Style, including all sources cited within your essay.


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