SUST20010 Sustainability: Research Tools

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module builds on the foundational knowledge built through Introductions to Sustainability (SUST10010) and introduces the pragmatic research theory and practice required to effectively study global sustainability challenges. This includes natural- and social-science techniques across quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodologies. This will be supplemented by a common strand of innovation and creative problem solving throughout.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;
• Apply the theory of sustainability to identify and analyse real-world sustainability challenges
• Adopt appropriate quantitative or qualitative data collection and analysis tools, or a mix thereof, to find a solution to these challenges
• Collaborate in a team setting to address a real-world sustainability challenge, synthesise findings and communicate these effectively.
• Think creatively about sustainability challenges and approach solution-building with empathy.

Indicative Module Content:

• Mixed methods research
• Creativity and innovation
• Systems and Design thinking
• Biotic data collection and interpretation
• Socio-economic quantification: data sourcing, reliability, interpretation
• Qualitative methods: interviews, questionnaire, focus groups, etc.
• Analysing and interpreting qualitative data
• Problem-based learning

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module consists of lectures, small group work, and self-directed tasks. Lectures will demonstrate actionable methods for use, but also contextualise these in contemporary research applications through a select number of case studies by guest lectures. This is designed to introduce key research tools for sustainability, demonstrate pragmatic cases in applying these, and encourage innovative thought in generating mixed methods research applications where appropriate. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Sustainability: Research Tools (GEOG20240)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Essay: Designing a sustainability research project and selection of appropriate methods: Pros and Cons.
Approx 1000 words.
Week 8 n/a Graded No


Group Project: Designing a communication tool for a sustainability research issue. Week 10 n/a Graded Yes


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: MCQ exam covering material across the trimester End of trimester MCQ n/a Graded Yes



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

General group feedback will be provided post-assessment of stakeholder mapping exercise. Small group feedback will be given on group presentations along with peer-review. Individual feedback will be provided on final PBL report, along with anonymous peer performance review. Finally, online automated feedback will be given on the final MCQ.

Name Role
Professor Tasman Crowe Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Ainhoa Gonzalez Del Campo Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Adam Kane Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Orla Kelly Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Niamh Moore Cherry Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Serena Sgarzi Lecturer / Co-Lecturer