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Course #2. More effective impact assessment: Tools for stronger argument and clearer writing





This course will help you think more clearly and write more effective impact assessments. Better arguments make key decisions more transparent and help reduce risks to projects. Environmental impact assessment—like all technical writing—constantly uses reasoning to reach conclusions. That process is called “argument,” which means to assemble a series of reasons, leading to conclusions, targeted for a specific audience.

This course shares two sets of tools collectively called “Organized Reasoning.” The first provides principles for creating clearer arguments relevant to phases of the IA process. The second shows how to better present arguments in the written text of your documents. The course shows how IA documents contain common errors in their arguments and weaknesses in their writing. Participants will assemble evidence and reasoning for several different kinds of argument found in IAs. We practice steps, and introduce computer-based tools, that show how to bring improved arguments into technical report writing. We discuss how people have implemented these steps in their IA practice. Participants learn a revised approach to planning, preparing, and writing technical reports and IAs that they can use immediately on the job. More details are available at
Level: Intermediate
Prerequisites: Previous participation in preparing and writing IA documents.
Language: English
Duration: 2 days (27-28 April)
Price: US$520
Min/Max: 10-24
Requirements: Personal Laptop is optional

Glenn Brown, Royal Roads University (Canada)


Dr. Glenn Brown is an ecologist, environmental manager and educator with over 25 years of experience working in Canada, United States, Central America, West Africa, Southeast Asia, China and Mongolia. Based in Vancouver, Canada, he teaches courses in Ecosystem Science and Management and Analytical Thinking and Communications in the Masters of Environment and Management program at Royal Roads University, where he received the university’s Outstanding Teaching award. He is also an independent consultant.
Glenn has worked on projects involving: impact assessment; mineral exploration; oil and gas development; rehabilitation of degraded land; ecotourism and economic development; parks and protected areas; science and environmental education; endangered and invasive species and ecosystem services. He has worked in arctic, temperate and tropical habitats. His research has explored population biology, landscape ecology, periglacial geomorphology and instructional effectiveness. As a teacher and trainer, he has designed curriculum and taught university students, working professionals, school teachers, ecotourism tour guides and rural villagers. As a consultant, he works with industry, government and NGO clients. He was also employed in the environment department of a mineral exploration company and as the executive director of a science education NGO. His most recent work is with ecosystem services and with applications of ‘organized reasoning’ to impact assessment.