Module Catalogue 2019/20

GEO2043 : Key Methods for Human Geographers

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Wen Lin
  • Lecturer: Dr Alison Copeland, Dr Robert Shaw, Dr Jen Bagelman, Dr Niall Cunningham
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Code Title
GEO2111Doing Human Geography Research: Theory and Practice
Co Requisite Comment

(GEO 2111) Tutorial Programme


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
•Quantitative techniques and statistical analysis
•Visualisation of data and GIS
•Focus Groups
•Creative and theatre methods
•Participant observation
•Visual methodologies
•Research Diaries
•Textual and document analysis
•Coding and analysis of qualitative data
•Mixed Methods
•Research ethics

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

•By the end of the module, students will have knowledge and understanding of the strengths and limitations of a range of research methods used in contemporary human geography and across the social sciences.
•Students will be able to select an appropriate technique for a given research design or type of research question.
•Students will understand the distinctions between primary and secondary data, extensive and intensive research designs, qualitative and quantitative data and analysis, positionality and the ethics of research.
•Students will understand the issues of rigour and validity in the research process.

Intended Skill Outcomes

•By the end of the module, students will be able to identify a range of types of data (numeric, textual, experiential, verbal, visual) and will understand issues around the collection and analysis of these different data types.
•Students will be able to undertake collection and analysis of different types of data, including numeric, visual, experiential, verbal and textual data, or understand the principles and practices behind data collection and analysis.
•Students will have developed their transferable or graduate-level skills, particularly in critical thinking and the synthesis of ideas, written and oral communication, participation in small-group discussions, problem-solving, information literacy, numeracy, self-management and time-management.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:00N/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 teaching42:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery81:008:00N/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.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination451M20CAA 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 4.
• 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.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.