Political Science

To what extent is there conflict among four pillars of Sustainable Development?

General Marking Scheme

For all essays the following marking scheme will be used. Please scroll down to see the advice for the individual essays.


It is most important that you appreciate what academics mean by the term feedback. Each module has objectives, or what academics call learning outcomes. You must also cultivate competent written communication skills in an academic setting and develop individual initiative. Hence the summative assessment on this module is the submission of two academic written pieces of work.


The essays are marked according to explicit assessment criteria. You will see specific feedback related to the assessment criteria by clicking on the general comments icon.


These general comments will normally focus upon what you did well, what was missing and/or what needed improving. The essay itself may also be annotated by the Tutor with specific comments/queries for your assistance. These annotations will be highlighted by a blue icon which you can click upon. Finally, the summative feedback will include an explicit percentage mark out of 100 (also broken down into its constituent parts). This mark will be inputted onto the University system for the examination board



The guidelines for the submission of the essay assignment are as follows.


Submit an electronic version of your essay via the .
The essay should be word processed. It should not exceed 2000 words in length
The essay should be properly referenced throughout. It should include a bibliography, and where appropriate endnotes.
Please ensure your essay has no appendices.
Ensure the essay includes a word count on the first page – this figure does not include tables, endnotes or the bibliography;
The essay should be produced with a typeface of Arial font size 11 or 12. Please use the same typeface throughout.
The essay should be set out double-spaced (including bibliography and endnotes).
All text should be ranged left and unjustified.
The essay should include the following statement of authenticity.





The order of the essay should be as follows:


Your name (forename and then surname)
Essay Question and the name of your Module tutor
Statement of Authenticity (make sure you sign and date the statement)
Word Count Figure
Main body of essay


The failure to fulfil one or more of these requirements will mean that marks will be deducted at the discretion of the Module tutors.


Any essay handed in late will be subject to the University penalties for the late submission of work.


Marking grid for essays Name:


















Question answered














Structured Argument







Clear Introduction







Logical argument







Critical analysis and Evaluation







Evidence of Reading







Range of competing arguments







Clarity and Conciseness







Understanding debates, issues,

concepts, theories














Concise Essay Style







Academic Standards







Range of sources







Independent Research







Correctly Referenced







Grammar and Spelling









Feedback Sheet


Your tutor will indicate on the sheet above the areas of strength and weakness in relation to the marking criteria below.


Essay Content




Does the content of the essay directly answer the question?




The essay should have a structured argument which answers the question set. In your introduction you should clearly state what you are going to argue and how you will substantiate this. You should refer to theories and concepts that you will employ and indicate how you are going to arrive at your conclusion. The main section of your essay will logically develop this argument and you will show how you deal with alternative explanations. You final conclusion should follow logically from your main section. It should not introduce new material.


Critical Analysis and Evaluation


A good essay will involve critical engagement with the arguments and ideas that you are examining. Theories and concepts in the study of international politics are contested and your essay should show awareness and understanding of relevant debates. It is vital here that you show that you have done as much of the relevant reading as possible.


Clarity and Conciseness


Your essay should be clearly written avoiding confusing or ambiguous statements. You need to be precise and avoid descriptive passages. Your ability to synthesise complex arguments is being assessed.


Academic Techniques


To what extent have you read widely and found sources independently? You should pay careful attention to your spelling and grammar and above all attention needs to be given to your referencing. Under no circumstances must you plagiarise someone else’s work. If you use other sources you must reference them using the Harvard Method. The best way to steer clear of plagiarism is to read as widely as possible, reference accordingly and attempt to develop your own analysis and argument based on what you have read.


You must include in your bibliography only sources cited in the text and all sources cited in the text. Be accurate in your referencing. If you are quoting a source from second hand then you must write the source of where the second hand source was quoted.




There are 6 important stages to writing a good academic submission. They are:-


examine the question;
find and organise relevant material;
make an structure plan;
product an initial draft;
edit and amend initial draft;
complete the final draft within the word limit specified.


The last two stages however (i.e. editing and amending and writing the piece) may involve a great deal of trial and error and changes, but this is necessary in order to gain the best mark possible. Of great importance, at these two last stages, is to ensure that all citations and bibliographical references are correct.


Examining the Question


The essay title/assessment brief should be interpreted as literally as possible. Start by breaking the question down phrase by phrase, word by word. Look for the key words and concepts in the question, especially what the question is asking you to do (e.g. define, outline, collect, explain, evaluate, discuss etc).


Finding and Organising Your Material


You should follow up on recommended reading from the seminar topics. This will give you the essential reading you require. Good students will find additional sources. The Library has over 500,000 books so you should use it to provide additional texts where required. You will need to read and make notes from the relevant texts. Try not to take notes verbatim; summarise using your own words. If you want to quote key pieces of text make sure you reference a quotation clearly. DO NOT PLAGIARISE i.e. do not use another author’s words without acknowledgement.


Planning Your Work


With your notes complete you need to select those parts which are most relevant to the question/brief. Go back and read the question again. Try to find a LOGICAL structure for answering the question. Make sure that key concepts are defined. Decide your main points and put them in logical order. Put alongside this all the supporting points, examples, data and illustrations.

Editing and Amending the Initial Draft.


THE INITIAL AND SUBSEQUENT DRAFTS MUST BE WORD-PROCESSED. Remember to keep at least two back-up copies of your work on separate UBS.


The initial draft should seek to answer the question/brief in our own words. Inevitably, your ideas, at this point, will not be fully thought through. You may place too much emphasis on one point or argument and too little on another, the logical flow of the arguments may be weak, key concepts may not be properly defined, the work may be too long, some ambiguous points may be included, and the like. But, your initial ideas are word-processed and can be worked upon.


The process of editing and amending is absolutely vital to any good answer. It allows you to refine and amend your initial ideas and delete irrelevant material. At this point you need to make sure items are sourced correctly, the logical flow of your essay is strong, there is no unnecessary padding and that each sentence is properly constructed. It is also important to decide which points are important enough to go into the main text of the answer and which can be included as endnotes.


Material included in endnotes should AMPLIFY AND CLARIFY the content included in the main body of the answer. However, material in endnotes will not directly answer the question. Endnotes help you focus logically in the main text on answering the question, whilst showing you are aware of other related materials. The main text should take the reader on the road to a destination as quickly as possible; endnotes show the interesting diversions and side streets along the way.


Think carefully before including a quotation. Ask why are you including it? Can you summarise it in your own words? Are you including it because you do not have the confidence to summarise material in your own words? You must have a good and clear reason for including a quote (e.g. it is a famous quote, or it so well written is sums up a key point succinctly). The inclusion of many quotes, included for no apparent reason, suggests a lack of confidence on the part of the writer. It will lose you marks.


The windows software is particularly helpful in the process of editing and amending an initial draft. It allows you to cut and paste material, delete and add with great ease. It also allows the introduction of endnotes with great simplicity. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS….ASK THE TUTOR!

The Final Draft


THE FINAL DRAFT MUST BE WORD-PROCESSED. Remember to keep at least two back-up copies of your work on a separate UBS.


This is the most important part of the whole exercise; this is the material that will be assessed. REMEMBER ONLY YOUR OUTPUTS (e.g. the final submitted work) ARE ASSESSED, NOT YOU INPUTS (reading of materials, drafting and editing etc). If the submitted work is not good enough then all your other efforts have been wasted.


The final draft should be the polished piece of work in which your ideas are fully developed. The question posed should be answered, and as soon as possible in the text. Key concepts and ideas must be clearly defined. The essay should have a logical flow. Each paragraph should be linked to the one prior to it and subsequent to it. The arguments of the authors should be fairly summarised and referenced using the Harvard method. Endnotes should be include at the relevant time, and referenced using the Harvard method. The bibliography should be set out using the Harvard method and be referred to in the text and endnotes where appropriate. There should be an appropriate introduction and conclusion.


The importance of citation and referencing cannot be overstated. In an academic piece of work it is essential that the sources you have read and summarised are TRANSPARENT. The reader should be able to follow-up on your citations to check that you have summarised the arguments fairly and appropriately. If you do not cite and reference properly such transparency is not evident. For the appropriate Harvard method of citations and referencing see Quote, Unquote.


Finally, draft out an appropriate introduction, which SIGNPOSTS the contents of the submitted work. After reading the introduction, the reader should have a very clear idea what to expect; it is vital to signpost important insights made. Finally, write out a conclusion. This should summarise the salient points of the work – highlighting, once again, any key insights. It should NOT include your opinions; you should never use the phrases such as “I believe”, or “I think”, and the like.


When completing the final draft consider the following points.

Has the actual question/brief posed been answered (not one you would have liked to answer)?
Are key concepts properly defined?
Is there a logical, balanced structure? Have the arguments of the key authors been summarised fairly?
Is there any irrelevant material included?
Does the introduction signpost the contents, and does the conclusion summarise the salient points?
Are endnotes included when appropriate?
Are all the relevant arguments properly cited?
Is the bibliography set out correctly; are bibliographical references consistent with the citations in the main body of the work and endnotes?
Lecture 3 Sustainable Development

• To understand the development of and debate surrounding the concept of sustainable development

1. What are the range of perspectives that are applied to concept of sustainable development
2. What is the Brundtland Commission’s standard definition of sustainable development?
3. Is the concept an oxymoron? Do you agree? If not why not?
4. What are the pillars of sustainable development?
5. Kates suggest several different ways of approaching the issue of sustainable development, what are they?
6. What do intergenerational and intra-generational equity mean?
7. Who is responsible for trying to ensure that development is sustainable?
8. Williams and Millington introduce the distinction between weak and strong sustainable development. What is the difference?

Key Reading
Coate, R. A (2014) ‘Sustainable Development’ in Weiss, T and Wilkinson, R ( eds) International Organisation and Global Governance Oxon; Routledge
Kates, R, Parris, T and Leiserowitz, A (2005) ‘What is sustainable development? Goals, indicators, values and practice?’ Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 47(3): 8-21 available at: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/sustsci/ists/docs/whatisSD_env_kates_0504.pdf
Williams, C and Millington, A (2004) ‘The diverse and contested meanings of sustainable development’, The Geographical Journal 170(2): 99-104

Additional Reading
Rogers PP, Jalal KF & Boyd JA. (2008) An introduction to sustainable development. London: Earthscan. Also available as e-book
Blewitt J (2008) Understanding Sustainable Development, London: Earthscan. (This book is available as an e-book on the library catalogue)
King, M (2008) ‘What should sustainability mean?’ Challenge 51(2): 27-39
Beckerman, W (1994) ‘Sustainable development: Is it a useful concept?’ Environmental Values 3(3): 191-209
Dryzek, J.S. and Schlosberg D (2007) Debating the Earth- The Environmental Politics Reader, Oxford; OUP Part 1 Section 1 Chapter 3, and Section II chapters 4, 5 and 6