Course #7-- 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, 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 www.glennbrown.ca.

Level: Intermediate
Prerequisites: Previous participation in preparing and writing IA documents.
Special Note: Pre-reading in electronic format will be provided.
Language: English
Duration: 2 days (24-25 May)
Price: US$575
Min/Max: 10-25


Glenn Brown, Royal Roads University (Canada)



Glenn Brown is an ecologist, environmental manager and educator with over 30 years’ experience working in Canada, United States, Central America, West Africa, Southeast Asia, China and Mongolia. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Glenn is an independent consultant and has been teaching in the Masters of Environment and Management program at Royal Roads University since 2005.

Projects he has worked on involve: impact assessment; mineral exploration; oil and gas development; rehabilitation of degraded land; ecotourism and economic development; parks and protected areas; science and environmental education; and endangered and invasive species. He has done research on population biology, landscape ecology, periglacial geomorphology and instructional effectiveness. As a consultant, he works with industry, government and NGO clients, and has been employed in the environment department of a mineral exploration company and as the executive director of a science education NGO.

Although Glenn is a practicing scientist, he has long been interested in education for professional practice. He completed a PhD in Education from Simon Fraser University to further that interest, and since then Glenn has taught and continued his consulting work. The master’s program at Royal Roads University is specifically designed for professional practice; while it is taught in standard units (3 credit courses), the content and the delivery (breakout sessions, small group work, team projects) are designed like practical training. Glenn also created a course in Analytical Thinking, as thinking and writing are important practical skills for professionals, and he received an ‘outstanding teaching’ award from the university for his contributions.

Aside from university courses, Glenn has delivered over 200 short-term (half day, one day, multiple day) training workshops related to jobs or consulting projects involving staff training and capacity development, and has additionally written over 100 professional reports, publications and conference papers.