ENVS8519 Environmental Health

Assessment Task 2
Research Project Report
Climate and Infectious Disease in Australia

Due: Tuesday 19 October 2021 (Week 11)
Submit via Turnitin
Weighting: 50%
Word limit: 1500 words (as given by Word’s Word Count tool on the entire document but not including the References section)

Assessment task description
Write a climate and infectious disease research report. The report should examine the temporal variation in one notifiable infectious disease and one or more climate variables in New South Wales. Your report must include some analysis of the relationship between the infectious disease and the climate variable(s). Some examples of topics/report titles include:

 The association between monthly temperature and salmonellosis notifications in New South Wales from 2010 to 2019.
 The association between monthly rainfall, maximum temperature, and giardiasis notifications in New South Wales from 1991 to 2019.

You are to obtain all your climate data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s web site:

You are to obtain all your infectious disease notifications data from the New South Wales Department of Health’s web site:

It is suggested that you use Google Chrome for the above web sites (especially the Department of Health web site) rather than Firefox.

The Workshop activity in Week 6 will include discussion of this assessment task and opportunity to explore the above web sites and available data. It will also go through the data acquisition and formatting process and the expected graphing and statistical analysis.

The criteria for the notifiable infectious disease that you select to do your research on are as follows:
 Monthly data must be available.
 Data must be available for a minimum of 10 years.

The following is the list of notifiable infectious diseases that meet these criteria. You must use monthly notifications data. You must select one disease and inform Paul which disease you have selected. Only four students will be permitted to study each disease, so it is recommended that you start work on this assessment task early and select the disease you will do research on so that you do not have to select a different disease.
Barmah Forest virus
Pneumococcal infection (Invasive)
Ross River Virus

The climate variables that you may analyse include the following. Your climate data should be monthly (select the “All months” Period option) for the New South Wales/ACT region.
Rainfall – Total
Maximum Temperature*
Minimum Temperature*
Mean Temperature*

The web site will give you the temperature anomaly which is simply the departure from the 1961–1990 average because temperature anomalies tend to be more consistent throughout wide areas than actual temperatures.
Your analysis must include a 10-year period but exclude the data in 2020 and 2021 given infectious disease notifications in these two years have been anomalously low and might adversely affect your analysis of associations with climate.
Your results must include at least the following:
 A time series graph of your notifiable infectious disease data.
 A time series graph of the climate data that you have analysed.
 Descriptive statistics of your notifiable infectious disease data.
 A scatterplot of your notifiable infectious disease data and each of the climate variables you have analysed.
 Correlation analysis of your notifiable infectious disease data and climate variable data.

Report preparation
 Reports should be typed in double-line spacing throughout with at least 2.5 cm margins.
 Use Times New Roman or Arial font for text. Use 12pt font size.
 Use the automatic page numbering function to number the pages.
 Abbreviations should be defined at first mention and used consistently thereafter.
 SI units should be used throughout except where non-SI units are more common [e.g., litre (l) for volume].
Please arrange your report as follows:

 Title page
Including a concise and informative title, and your name, student number, and e-mail address.
 Abstract
Include an abstract which summarises the report and presents the most important results and conclusions, in no more than 150 words.
 Introduction
The introduction should state the purpose of the investigation, provide relevant background and introduce the disease to be studied, and give a short review of the pertinent literature.
You should conduct a literature search to find previous work on the topic you have chosen. This search should include use of the databases available via the Library’s web site. Specifically, you should use the “Web of Science” or Scopus databases.
 Methods
This section should follow the Introduction and should describe what was done, how it was done, where was studied, what was studied, and over what period was it studied. It should provide enough information to permit repetition of the research work.
 Results
This section should describe the outcome or findings of the study. Data should be presented as concisely as possible, if appropriate in the form of tables or figures. You must produce the graphs of your climate and infectious disease data yourself, not use graphs produced by the websites the data were obtained from.
 Discussion
The discussion should be an interpretation of the results and their significance with reference to relevant literature. The discussion should also summaries any significant limitations of the research.
 References
Citations in the text should indicate the author’s surname and the year of publication, e.g., Carlin (2019); Brooks and Carlin (2018). If there are more than two authors, only the first should be named, followed by “et al.”, e.g., Beggs et al. (2015).
References should be listed at the end of the report in alphabetical order by the first author’s surname. If there is more than one work by the same author or team of authors in the same year, a, b, etc. is added to the year both in the text and in the list of references.
The format for references in the References list should be as follows. Provision of all relevant bibliographic information and consistency of presentation are, as always, important. Ensure the original documents are accessed in order to check the information for each reference is correct. For journal articles, this means accessing the PDF of the article and checking the reference details against that. Do not assume reference details in databases such as Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar, etc., or even in the reference lists of published works, are accurate.
*Journal papers:
Surname(s) and Initial(s) of all authors. Title of article (in sentence case). Journal Title (With the First Letter of Each Word Capitalised) year;volume number(issue number): first and last page numbers (or article number). doi:
Park SK, Sack C, Sirén MJ, Hu H. Environmental cadmium and mortality from influenza and pneumonia in U.S. adults. Environmental Health Perspectives 2020;128(12):

doi: 10.1289/EHP7598
*Single contributions in a book (book chapters):
Surname(s) and Initial(s) of all authors. Title of chapter (in sentence case). In: Surname(s) and Initial(s) of all editors followed by (ed) or (eds). Title of book (With the First Letter of Each Word Capitalised). Edition. Publisher, Place of publication, year, page numbers.
Jones PD. Instrumental temperature change in the context of the last 1000 years. In: Brunet India M, Lopez Bonillo D (eds). Detecting and Modelling Regional Climate Change. Springer, Berlin, 2001, pp 6-55.
Surname(s) and Initial(s) of all authors. Title of book (With the First Letter of Each Word Capitalised). Edition. Publisher, Place of publication, year.
Pinardi N, Woods J (eds). Ocean Forecasting. Springer, Berlin, 2002.

Tables and figures
Tables must be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (i.e., Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, etc.). Similarly, figures must be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (i.e., Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3, etc.). Each table and figure must appear in the text after it has been referred to in the text, not before it has been referred to. Tables must have a heading/caption that is placed above the table. Figure captions must be selfsufficient explanations of the illustrations, and appear below the figure. Very large tables should be avoided.

Ensure you proofread your report. This requires you to complete the report at least a day or two ahead of the due date. Ideally you should leave a day or two between completing the report and doing the proofreading, so that you can look through the
report with a fresh pair of eyes.
Proofreading means going through your report from start to finish a number of times, carefully checking a different aspect each time. One proofread should check the referencing (both within the text and the References list itself). One should check the figures and tables (including their positioning, numbering, headings/legends, size, clarity, content, etc.). And one should focus on content, spelling, grammar, etc. You should, of course, also do a spelling and grammar check using your word processor’s Spelling and Grammar tool, but this does not remove the need to do a proofread checking for these things (for example, your spelling checker will not necessarily detect typos and incorrect spelling, e.g., space vs. pace; there vs. their; etc.). Make sure your spelling and grammar checker has Dictionary language set to English (Australia).

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