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GEO2127 : Doing Physical Geography Research: Theory and Practice

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Andrew Russell
  • Lecturer: Dr Stuart Dunning, Professor Rachel Carr, Dr Nick Cutler, Dr Christopher Hackney, Dr Christine Batchelor, Dr Matthew Perks, Dr Bethan Davies, Miss Ailsa McLeod
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


To further develop the skills acquired in GEO1096: Geographical Study Skills, to focus specifically on preparing for the dissertation (GEO3099).

To complement and support GEO2137: Key Methods for Physical Geographers.

To explore the discipline of physical geography, including its academic history and scientific framework.

To enable students to develop a physical geography dissertation research proposal.

To explore the links between key skills (those required for a degree) and transferable skills (those required for subsequent careers).

Outline Of Syllabus

The scientific method and its application in physical geography research.

Research approaches in physical geography, including the collection and use of primary and secondary data.

Research/experimental design and methods, including developing research questions.

Presenting physical geography data, including the preparation of diagrams and figures.

Tackling the Dissertation Research Plan (DRP): literature reviews; developing links with broader theory; structuring a dissertation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1150:00150:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture171:0017:00In-person lectures.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading92:0018:00Seminar / 1-to-1 meeting preparation.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical22:004:00Computer practicals with member of staff present.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00In-person seminars, led by Staff and TAs in Semester 1 (3 seminars) and staff members in Semester 2 (2 seminars).
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision40:302:00Individual meeting with Geo2127 DRP Mentor
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk22:004:001. Overseas expedition opportunities. 2. ‘Dissertation Conference’ (presentations by Stage 3 students; convened by Module Leader).
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module is taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars, practicals and tutorials. The semester 1 lectures, related seminars and tutorials enable students to develop a working knowledge of key ideas relevant to undertaking geographical research. The semester 2 lectures, seminars, practicals and tutorials introduce students to the research process, including the development of their own dissertation research proposals. This mix of teaching enables all components of the theory and practice of independent research to be introduced. It also allows students the time and space to develop their own research proposals, building on content from this and other Stage 2 modules.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster1M30Group poster to summarise a research topic and identify contested knowledge and research questions.
Research proposal2M702,400 word Dissertation Research Proposal
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first assessment tests students’ ability to critically review literature to identify contested ideas and identify research questions. This is a necessary skill set to enable the Stage 3 Dissertation to be undertaken successfully. The second assessment – the Dissertation Research Proposal - assesses students’ knowledge, understanding and ability to plan the research process (essential for the Stage 3 dissertation).

Reading Lists