Course Title: Social Impact Assessment and Community Engagement

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Social Impact Assessment and Community Engagement

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning


Sem 2 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Distance / Correspondence or Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2016


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 1 2017


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019

Course Coordinator: Martin Mulligan

Course Coordinator Phone: 9925 2725

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Availability: By request

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course provides an introduction to social impact assessment principles and practices. The principles and history of SIA will be reviewed as a context for examining contemporary practices. The course will also critically examine how the notion of ‘community engagement’ is used either in the development of ‘participatory’ SIAs or in relation to change proposals more broadly.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development


Graduate Capabilities:


The core graduate capabilities enhanced by this course are:

Historical sensibility – the ability to:

  • appreciate the development of SIA thought and practice

Knowledge - the knowledge of:

  • the strands of thought that underlie an SIA
  • the sociological and other theories which inform SIA practice

Technical and professional skills- the ability to:

  • scope out a methodology to conduct a basic SIA
  • identify key stakeholders and communities
  • undertake basic social risk assessment

Critical analysis- the ability to:

  • critically evaluate an SIA

Critical awareness- the ability to:

  • distinguish between good and bad practices

Communication- the ability to:

  • work in groups to identify social impacts and affected communities and report back in a workshop format
  • Report on an SIA project or review

Teamwork and leadership- the ability to:

  • work in small groups doing a SIA exercise


By the conclusion of this course students will:

  • Have an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of social impact assessment practices
  • Be aware of the range of social impact assessment practices occurring in Australia and in other countries
  • Be aware of the various theoretical frameworks and sociological issues which should be addressed in a social impact assessment
  • Have a sufficient working knowledge of SIA principles and methodologies to undertake or commission future SIAs
  • Be aware of dangers, pitfalls and opportunities involved in community engagement practices


Overview of Learning Activities

Face-to-face classes and online discussions will feature lectures, guest presentations and discussion of key readings. As well as discussing the history and principles of SIA practice, you will be taken through some recent examples of SIA development to understand how they were constructed and to critically appreciate their strengths and weakness. Lectures and discussions will also focus on the nuances and complexities associated with ‘community engagement’.

Overview of Learning Resources

There is no prescribed text book, however the ones which will be referred to most in class are Ziller (2012) and Vanclay et al (2015).

Overview of Assessment

Assessment Tasks and Value

Assessment 1 (worth 40%):         SIA Critical Review

Assessment 2 (worth 40%):         An SIA Scoping Exercise

Assessment 3 (worth 20%):         Engagement and Participation