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GEO2043 : Key Methods for Human Geographers

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This is an important module for students taking the BA (Hons) Geography programmes. The module introduces students to the range and diversity of research methods used in human geography and in the social sciences more broadly. Human geographers engage with social, cultural, economic and political life, and human geography as a discipline is rooted in empirically-informed, conceptually-focused research which enables those social, cultural, economic and political relations to be explored. The aim of this module is to provide students with a solid understanding of the often bewildering array of research methods and techniques that are used to collect data and conduct analysis in order to address research questions and prove or disprove hypotheses.

The module’s core aims are:

•To introduce students to the diverse range of research methods used across human geography.
•To explore both conceptual and practical issues in research methodology and the use of research techniques.
•To draw connections between learning about tools and techniques for research on this module, and the production of research findings as explored through the range of modules offered across the Geography programme.
•To make explicit connection between research methods in human geography and the development of graduate-level transferable skills.
•To give students the confidence to proceed with original data collection and analysis for the dissertation at Stage 3.

Outline Of Syllabus

•Finding research questions; perspectives on the research process.
•Research design
•Primary and secondary data and datasets
•Sampling issues
•Triangulation and mixed methods
•Questionnaire surveys
•Interviews: standard and elite
•Focus Groups
•Visual methodologies
•Textual and document analysis
•Coding and analysis of qualitative data
•Reading landscapes
•Visualisation of data and GIS
•Internet-mediated research
•Quantitative techniques and statistical analysis
•Research ethics

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture211:0021:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion144:0044:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1120:00120:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery61:006:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

•Lectures provide the framework for learning on this module. All key ideas, concepts, techniques and practices are introduced in the lectures. Lectures are used to direct independent study through directed research and reading.
•Small group teaching sessions, with a maximum of 15 students per group, provide students with the opportunity to practice the application of different techniques of data collection and analysis.
•Drop-in surgeries provide students with the opportunity for one-to-one advice on assessment preparation, reading for assessments and reading for wider learning on the module.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination451A20CAA multiple choice
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M40To be submitted teaching week 9 - 1600 words
Portfolio1M40To be submitted after teaching week 12 - 1600 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

•The computer aided assessment (CAA) tests student learning on the introductory components of the module (lectures 1 and 2). This is a multiple choice test, which allows students to see whether they have grasped key concepts, and to reflect on whether they have started to do enough reading for the module. Students sit this test in teaching week 6.
• The portfolio on quantitative methods asks students to write on a continuous project built up over the course of the sessions on quantitative approach, using methods and techniques introduced in lectures. This assessment is designed to test students on their understanding of the concepts and techniques of quantitative approach introduced in this module and applying these techniques critically to real-world datasets. The report requires students to engage with relevant literatures, drawing both on textbooks and research articles, and asks students to construct an argument through hypotheses testing and synthesising ideas from different sources. Students submit the report in teaching week 9.
• The portfolio provides students with the opportunity to explore two (out of a possible five) different research methods, asking them to consider the specificity of that method, the practicalities of conducting research using that method (for which they draw on exercises conducted during small group teaching) and on their understanding of specific aspects of that method. Total portfolio length is 1600 words. Students submit the essay in the week following teaching week 12, at the end of the Semester.

RESIT INFO: Coursework 4,000 word essay

Reading Lists