sustainability assignment

Purpose and aims:

2000 words

This assessment is designed to apply the knowledge and skills developed by the students in evaluating the role of systems thinking in global and local sustainability challenges.  The topic for your paper is:


‘Systems thinking is critical in developing solutions to sustainability challenges.’


To what extent do you agree with this statement, and why?  Draw on one of the following wicked problems to illustrate your answer:

  • Ice (Crystal meth) use in Australia
  • Pollution in oceans
  • Placing a price on carbon

 How to write a Research Essay

 1. Finding, reading and selecting your sources

At a minimum, this essay will reference sources identified by the student, in addition to the subject readings (10-15 references in total).  Your references should primarily include academic journals and books.  The University library has developed a useful resource on how to evaluate your sources, and can be found in the subject LMS page.


2.  Writing the Introduction

In the introduction you will need to do the following things:

  • Present relevant background to the topic and its significance
  • Introduce your ‘wicked problem’
  • Define terms or concepts when necessary
  • Explain the aim/purpose of the essay
  • Reveal your plan of organization for the essay


3. Writing the Body

  • Build your essay around points you want to make (i.e., don’t let your sources organize your paper)
  • Integrate your sources into your discussion
  • Be critical, and where relevant present two sides of an argument
  • Give examples where relevant
  • Summarize, analyse, explain, and evaluate published work rather than merely reporting it
  • Make sure you have answered the topic question – to what extent do you agree with the statement?


4. Writing the Conclusion

  • If the argument or point of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your reader.
  • If prior to your conclusion you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper to add your points up, to explain their significance.
  • Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction.


5. Revising the Final Draft

  • Check overall organization: logical flow of introduction, coherence and depth of discussion in body, effectiveness of conclusion.
  • Paragraph level concerns: topic sentences, sequence of ideas within paragraphs, use of details to support generalizations, summary sentences where necessary, use of transitions within and between paragraphs.
  • Sentence level concerns: sentence structure, word choices, punctuation, spelling.


Source: Adapted from The writing centre at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. 


Reference List and sources:

Students are required to reference at least 3 types of resources in the essay:


  1. Minimum of 6 journal articles (students are required to use scholarly and peer-reviewed articles) and textbooks.
  2. Newspaper/Magazine articles
  3. Company/NGO Websites


A total of 10-15 references are expected for the essay.


Students are required to use the LTU referencing style and to list resources in alphabetical order using the LTU Harvard Referencing Style. More information at:

Australian/Melbourne time 5pm due date

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