UP504 • Critique of Planning Methods
last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2008
due Monday, Feb 11
You are to work in teams of two students. (Note: in group projects, you are to turn in a single, integrated write-up. All group members receive the same grade.)
You have two options for this assignment: Choose either (a) or (b):
(a) Critique of quantitative methods used in a planning document, report or article.
(b) Interview a planner regarding methods used in practice.
suggested length: 3 pages (double-spaced)
Find a document with a substantive use of quantitative analysis. The article or report should present enough of the data, methods and conclusions so that you can adequately critique the methodology. (Sometimes the relevant discussion of methods and sources is listed in a separate "technical documentation.") Types of documents may include: articles in planning journals; reports written by planning departments or related agencies; reports by state and federal agencies; etc.
Provide a concise introductory paragraph that summarizes the document and its context (author, goals and key findings of report, etc.).
Then address the following questions. (You need not follow this sequence, but do address all these points.)
Please attach a copy of the article/report to your assignment.
Interview a practicing planner about her/his use of quantitative methods on the job. Summarize your interview findings and interpretations in your assignment write-up. You may interview the planner in-person or by telephone. Provide a concise introductory paragraph that briefly introduces the subject of the interview, their education and work experience. (If requested by the interviewee, you should maintain the subject's confidentiality.) [Note: you need only interview one planner, but you may interview more if interested.]
Possible questions include (but are certainly not limited to):
background reading: Kaufman, Sanda, and Robert Simons. 1995. "Quantitative and research methods in planning: Are schools teaching what practitioners practice?" Journal of Planning Education and Research 15 (1):17-34. [online] [somewhat out-of-date but it does give you an idea of supply vs. demand for methods]