This course will help you reason 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 that apply to phases of the IA process. The second shows how to better present arguments in written 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 to technical reports. Participants learn a revised approach to planning, preparing and writing documents that they can use immediately on the job. More details at www.glennbrown.ca.
The course takes two days. There will be a half-day online follow-up session three months later. You’ll receive handouts documenting the main ideas.
Prerequisites: Participation in preparing and writing IA documents
Duration: 2 days (6-7 May)
Instructor: Glenn Brown, Adjunct Professor, Royal Roads University, School of Environment and Sustainability (Canada)
Dr. 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, Mongolia, Australia and New Zealand. Based in Vancouver, Canada, for 15 years he taught 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 projects have been about ecosystem services and with applications of ‘organized reasoning’ to impact assessment. Glenn is the chair of IAIA’s Training and Professional Development Committee.