Sociology 585
Population and Environment

Summer I 2004


Case Studies Assignment


Printer Friendly Version

You will prepare a 7 to 8-page research paper in which you compare demographic and environmental conditions in two countries.  The paper is due on Friday, June 25.  You will share the results of your research with the class during the final week of classes (June 30July 2).

Research Paper:

(1)  Select two countries, one in the industrialized world and one in the developing world.


(2)  Conduct research on the current demographic conditions in these two countries, as well as environmental problems the population faces.  Your research should be based on hard data, available on websites such as those linked from the course home page.  It is also acceptable to use articles from peer-reviewed scientific journals.  Avoid using anecdotal data, newspaper or news magazine reports, or websites from non-reputable sources as the basis of your research.


(3)  Prepare a paper in which you compare the population and environmental conditions in the two countries.  You should explain population change in each country, and show how population change has affected environmental conditions.  Briefly survey the food, environmental, and health conditions in each country.  Then, select one important issue pertaining to food production, environmental conditions, or health care, and present a comparison of this issue in the two countries.


Some points to consider:


What is the current population of each country?  How is the population in each country structured in terms of age, gender, and other relevant factors?  What does a population pyramid for each country look like?

How is the population distributed?  What portion of each country lives in urban areas?


How has each country's population changed recently and over the long term?  What noticeable population trends have occurred?  What is the projection for future population conditions?  Where is each country located on the demographic transition?

How do people in each country feed themselves?  How secure is each country's food supply, and what prospects does each country have for feeding themselves in the future?


What are the most significant environmental concerns facing the population of each country?  How are these related to population conditions in the country?

What significant health care concerns exist in each country?  How are these related to population conditions in the country?  Do environmental conditions play a role in health conditions?


(4)  Your paper should include tables and graphs that summarize conditions in the country.  Do not simply copy these off of websites; construct them yourself from the data you acquire.

(5)  Your paper should be analytical and comparative, not merely descriptive.  Make sure you explain the conditions in each country by establishing clear connections between population, food production, and environmental conditions.  Also, make sure you compare the conditions in the two countries.  Do not simply provide data that describe the conditions.




(1)  Prepare a brief 10-minute presentation of your findings.  You will give this presentation to the class.  Do not exceed 10 minutes!

(2)  Your presentation should focus on presenting the data you have collected, and explaining the connections between population change and the food, environment, or health issue on which you have focused.

(3)  You can use PowerPoint or overhead slides to summarize your data, or you can make Xeroxed handouts for the class.

Please speak to the instructor if you have any questions pertaining to the case studies assignment.