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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: ENGM065 Module Title: INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT
Module Provider: Civil, Chemical & Enviromental Eng Short Name: SE2M19
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: ELGHALI AL Dr (C, C & E Eng)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability

Spring Semester

Assessment Pattern

Components of Assessment




Written assignment, group work


Module Overview


Module Aims

The aims of the course are to:

  • Provide an introduction to current knowledge about judgement and decision making;
  • Provide an introduction to methods relevant for supporting environmental decisions;
  • Describe common characteristics of sustainable development decisions;
  • Compare and contrast a number of different decision support techniques, in terms of their ability to provide support for different aspects of sustainable development decisions.
  • Use case studies to demonstrate how they can be used in practice;
  • Provide experience of working in project teams and the practical implications of working on decision support problems a) with clients as a consultant and b) as a policy maker needing to make judgements about the adequacy of scientific evidence.
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of methods relevant for environmental decisions.
  • Summarise common characteristics of sustainable development decisions.
  • Give an account of a situation involving a sustainable development decision, using it as a case study to provide examples of these characteristics.
  • Suggest appropriate decision support and analytical techniques for the case study described and justify their choice.
  • Identify and include relevant data in decision processes, in a way that demonstrates an appreciation of the need to communicate issues such as uncertainty and quality.
  • Demonstrate the ability to make sound judgements about the quality of scientific arguments and supporting evidence.
  • Demonstrate good team-working, presenting and report writing skills in the case study.
Module Content

Integrated assessment (IA) has been defined as:

1. A reflective and iterative participatory process that links knowledge (science) and action (policy) regarding complex global change issues such as acidification and climate change. IA can be defined as an interdisciplinary process of combining, interpreting and communicating knowledge from diverse scientific disciplines in such a way that the whole cause–effect chain of a problem can be evaluated from a synoptic perspective with two characteristics: (i) it should have added value compared to single disciplinary assessment; and (ii) it should provide useful information to decision makers (van der Sluijs, 2002).

2. An assessment that brings together data about the condition (past, current and future) of ecosystems; the impact of humans and our lifestyles on the ecosystems; and the effects upon humans of the changed environment. Integrated assessments combine the following scientific disciplines: ecology, social sciences, health science, and engineering (EPA, 2004).

This module aims to explore the interface between scientific evaluations of environmental impacts and their use in policy decision processes, by engaging participants in a case study. The content includes information on judgement and decision making in environmental policy.


van der Sluijs JP “Definition of Integrated Assessment. Volume 4, Responding to global environmental change”,. in Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change, pp 249–250, (ed. Tolba NK), Wiley, 2002.

EPA (2004). Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment: a Glossary. (last accessed 26 January 2005).

Methods of Teaching/Learning

Preparatory reading, lectures, group discussion and exercises.

Total student learning time 150 hours.

Selected Texts/Journals

Required reading

Provided in advance for the case study

Recommended background reading

Beach LR, The Psychology of Decision Making: People in Organisations, Sage Publications Ltd, 1997.

Funtowicz S and Ravetz J, Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990.

Jason G, Critical Thinking: Developing an Effective Worldview. Wadsworth / Thomson Learning, 2001

Plous S, The Psychology of Judgement and Decision Making. McGraw-Hill Inc, 1993.

Shand S, Arguing Well, Routledge, 2000.
Last Updated

17 August 2009