Global Opportunities

GEO2043 : Key Methods for Human Geographers

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
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 diverse array of research methods and techniques that are used to collect data and conduct analysis and how these might work together 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
•       Quantitative techniques and statistical analysis
•       Visualisation of data and GIS
•       Interviews
•       Focus Groups
•       Creative methods
•       Participant observation
•       Visual methodologies
•       Research Diaries
•       Textual and document analysis
•       Coding and analysis of qualitative data
•       Mixed Methods
•       Research ethics

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:0015 x 1 hr lectures + 1 x 2hr lecture. Total hours is 17
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Independent, assessment-orientated study with student- led staff-interaction, and ad-hoc staff input
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:0015 x 1 hr lectures + 1 x 2hr lecture. Total hours is 17
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical61:006:00Multiple computer lab sessions
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1114:00114:00Independent study with student-led staff-interaction, and ad-hoc staff input via messaging, discuss,
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:008:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion82:3020:00small writing and analysis tasks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery51:005:00Drop-in qualitative & quantitative (Semester 1 (2x1hr) & Semester 2 first session (1x1hr) ONLINE)
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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M50Qualitative Portfolio, 1600 words
Portfolio1M50Quantitative Portfolio, 1600 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

•       The portfolio on Qualitative Methods 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. The Qualitative Portfolio is 1600 words.
•       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. The Quantitative Portfolio is 1600 words.

Reading Lists