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Price: $36.95

Paperback 328 pp.
44 figures; 11 tables; 5 maps (b&w), 6" x 9"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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Communicating in Geography and the Environmental Sciences

Canadian Edition, Second Edition

Iain Hay and Philip Giles

A concise yet comprehensive guide to effective communication in geography and the environmental sciences, this text helps students develop the skills required to produce high quality work. Drawing on Canadian sources and examples, the text examines the forms of communication that students will encounter throughout their academic and professional careers, including essays, lab reports, maps, graphs, and more.

Readership : Communicating in Geography and the Environmental Sciences, 2Ce has the ability to serve all course levels in any geography or environmental science course with a writing or communication component.


  • "The book is clear, relevant, and a useful tool for geography and environmental science students."
    --Arthur Green, Okanagan College

  • "The focus on new technological approaches (such as blogs, GIS, etc.) allows students to advance their skills and geographical knowledge and transfer them to the workplace."
    --Giselle Valarezo, Queen's University

1. Introducing Writing in Geography and the Environmental Science
Key Topics
Why Write?
Keys to Good Writing
- Write for your audience
- Avoid plagiarism
- Get help with writing
How to Improve the Quality of Your Written Expression
- Write fluently and succinctly
- Pay attention to paragraph structure
- Use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling
- Keep your assignment to a reasonable length
How to Improve the Presentation of Your Work
- Select a brief and informative title
- Make sure your work is legible and well-presented
- Use headings to show structure
- Format source citations and references properly
- Demonstrate a level of individual scholarship
How to Use Supplementary Materials Correctly
- Make effective use of figures and tables
- Present the supplementary materials correctly
Further Reading
2. Finding, Evaluating, and Using Sources
Key Topics
Why Are Sources Important in Scholarly Writing?
Differentiating Academic from Non-Academic Sources
Finding Sources with Useful and Relevant Information
- Ensure you have enough sources
- Types of sources
Evaluating the Credibility of Sources
- Questions to help you evaluate the of credibility of sources
Incorporating Reference Material into Your Writing
- Acknowledge your sources
- Paraphrase and quote your source materia
- Common knowledge does not need to be cited
Steering Clear of Academic Dishonesty, Including Plagiarism
Preparing a Research Ethics Application or Environmental Impact Statement
Further Reading
3. Writing an Essay
Key Topics
Quality of Argument
- Ensure that the essay addresses the question fully
- Be sure that your essay is developed logically
- Write a thesis statement
- Create a structure for your essay
- Review and revise your essay drafts
Quality of evidence
- Ensure your essay is well supported by evidence and examples
A Self-Assessment Form for Your Essay
Further Reading
4. Writing a Research Report
Key Topics
Why Write a Research Report?
What Are Readers Looking For in a Report?
Writing a Research Report
- Preliminary material
- Introduction
- Literature review
- Materials and methods
- Results
- Discussion and conclusion
- Recommendations
- Reference List
- Appendices
- Written expression and presentation
Writing a Laboratory Report
Writing a Research Proposal
- Purpose
- Characteristics
Further Reading
5. Writing an Annotated Bibliography, Summary, or Review
Key Topics
Preparing an Annotated Bibliography
- What is the purpose of an annotated bibliography?
- What is the reader looking for in an annotated bibliography?
Writing a Summary or Précis
- What is the reader of a summary looking for?
Writing a Review
- Summary: What is this work about?
- Analysis: What are the strengths and weaknesses of this work?
- Evaluation: What is this work's contribution to the discipline?
- Written expression and presentation of the review
- Examples of published reviews
Further Reading
6. Referencing and Language Matters
Key Topics
What Are Citations and References? Why Do We Need Them?
Principal Reference Systems: Author-Date and Note Systems
- Variants of reference systems: Reference styles
- The author-date (Harvard) System
- The note system
Avoiding Biased Language and Stereotyping
- Sexual bias and stereotyping
- Other biases and stereotyping
Salient Notes on Punctuation and Spelling
- Comma [ , ]
- Period [ . ]
- Ellipsis points [ ... ]
- Semicolon [ ; ]
- Colon [ : ]
- Quotation marks (double or single) [ " "or ' ' ]
- Apostrophe [ ' ]
- Uppercase letters
- Numerals
Further Reading
7. Making a Poster
Key Topics
Why Make a Poster?
How Are Posters Produced?
What Are Your Markers Looking For in a Poster?
Guidelines for Designing a Poster
- Preliminary layout
- Organization
- Text
- Colour
- Tables, figures, and photographs
- List of sources
Further Reading
8. Communicating with Graphs and Tables
Key Topics
Why Communicate with Graphs and Tables?
General Guidelines for Communicating Clearly with Graphs
Computerized versus Manual Production of Graphs
Different Types of Graphs
- Scatter plots
- Line graphs
- Bar graphs
- Histograms
- Population pyramids or age-sex pyramids
- Pie graphs
- Graphs with logarithmic axes
- Elements of a table
- Designing a table
Further Reading
9. Communicating with Maps
What Is the Purpose of a Map?
What Are the Different Types of Maps?
- Dot maps
- Proportional dot maps
- Choropleth maps
- Isoline maps
- Other thematic maps
- Topographic maps
- Orthophoto maps
How Is Map Scale Related to Detail?
- Cartographic scale
- How to display the scale of map
- Scale and map generalization
What are the Characteristics of a Good Map?
- Standard map elements
- Map design elements
Further Reading
10. Preparing and Delivering an Oral Presentation
Key Topics
Why Is Public Speaking Important?
How to Prepare for an Oral Presentation
- Establish the context and goals
- Organize the material for presentation
- Structure your presentation
- Prepare your text and aids to delivery
- Rehearse
- Final points of preparation
How to Deliver a Successful Oral Presentation
How to Cope with Questions from the Audience
Further Reading
11. Writing for the Media and Public Audiences
Key Topics
Communicating with Public Audiences through the Media
- Types of media
Using Media Releases to Disseminate Information
- How to write a media release
- How to format a media release
- How to enhance a media release for the digital environment
- How to follow up on a media release
Disseminating Information by Self-Publishing on the Internet
- Opportunity comes with responsibility
- Is self-publishing effective?
- Content and presentation
Further Reading
12. Succeeding in Examinations
Key Topics
Purposes of Examinations
Types of Examinations
- How to Prepare for an Examination
- Ongoing preparatory activities during the term
- Activities for successful exam preparation during review period
- Preparations on the day of the examination
Techniques for Success in Examinations
- Steps to take before answering your first question
- Advice for questions requiring written answers
- Advice for multiple-choice examinations
- Advice for oral examinations
- Advice for open-book examinations
- Advice for take-home examinations
- Advice for online examinations
Further Reading
Appendix: Sample Paper for a Short Written Assignment

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Philip Giles is an associate professor in the geography department at Saint Mary's University. His research areas include remote sensing, geomorphology, and coastal geography. Giles is the newest co-author on the third Canadian edition of Geosystems (PEC, 2012) with Robert Christopherson and Mary Louise Byrne (WLU).

Making Sense in Geography and Environmental Sciences - Margot Northey, David B. Knight and Dianne Draper
A Field Guide to Communication - Pamela Shaw
The Canadian Writer's Handbook - The late William E. Messenger, Jan de Bruyn, Judy Brown and Ramona Montagnes

Special Features

  • Draws on Canadian sources and examples making the material relevant for students in this country.
  • Uses clear and accessible language to describe how students can become effective communicators and develop the skills necessary to succeed in both academic and professional environments.
  • Written specifically for geography and environmental science students, covering discipline-specific topics such as working with maps; writing for both the media and a general audience; and creating an annotated bibliography.
  • Offers the latest information on key topics such as avoiding plagiarism, evaluating the credibility of sources, and using modern technologies to present visual material.
  • Practical tips and notes guide students through some of the more complex issues of researching, writing, and referencing.
New to this Edition
  • New coverage of delivering effective presentations using PowerPoint, as well as more traditional visual aids, such as a flipcharts, whiteboards, and overhead projectors. (Ch. 10)
  • Two annotated sample papers, including a weak version that demonstrates common errors and a revised version for students to use as a model. (Appendix)
  • New section on preparing a research ethics application and an environmental impact statement highlights the importance of collecting data in an ethical way and receiving necessary approval for research projects. (Ch. 2)
  • New section on writing an outline and a thesis statement covers how good planning helps produce clear written work.