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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Research Design in Geography (GEGR09011)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course introduces students to diverse skills required for undertaking independent research and writing. Particular emphasis is given to providing materials and information that will prepare students for the Geography Dissertation. A variety of skills are introduced including: Research question formulation; Choice of appropriate methodologies; Critical reviewing of literature; Planning, analysis and write-up of work; Use of Computer-based and IT skills to enable efficient working.
Course description Research Design is divided into two streams: Human Geography, and Physical Geography.

Human Geography (Course Organisers: Hamish Kallin and Chris Dibben): This course will review research design with a specific emphasis on how to approach the writing of a human geography dissertation. The course will place particular emphasis on problem formation (or how to shape an engaging research question), writing skills and the integration of theory into the choice of methods and literature. We will explain what is expected from a good dissertation in terms of structure, approach and style. The course will also discuss engagement with more 'quantitative' data sources (Chris) as well as 'qualitative' sources (Hamish), and will help to inform you as to which approach (or both) will be most useful to help answer the central question of your research.
Wk 1: Research Design- Joint Lecture
Wk 2: Problem Formation
Wk 3: Theory and Literature
Wk 4: Doing Social Experiments and measuring society
Wk 5:Finding information and data: data archives, google, forms of data

Physical Geography (Course Organisers: Andy Hein and Noel Gourmelen). The course will review research design, use of Earth Observation datasets (access, principles, processing), acquiring field data (sampling strategies, key techniques) and analysing data. The focus will be on applying knowledge gained in previous courses to practical research application. It will prepare students for their dissertation projects by helping them to consider effective approached to data collection and analysis.
Wk 1: Research Design- Joint Lecture
Wk 2: Earth Observation data for Physical Geography
Wk 3: Earth Observation data for Physical Geography
Wk 4: Field data for Physical Geography
Wk 5: Field data for Physical Geography
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites Students MUST also take: Geography Dissertation (GEGR10053)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 3 (Sem 2)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 12, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 2, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 2, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 80 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Students will submit a research proposal not exceeding 2,500 words
Feedback Students will be able to discuss their research ideas during the course with staff.
Students will receive feedback on their research proposals from their dissertation advisors.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. have a better grasp of the basics of research design, and the purpose of doing a dissertation
  2. understand how to formulate a feasible and interesting research question
  3. have a better understanding of how research ideas develop from an identification of gaps in the literature, into appropriate research approaches and then well formulated projects
  4. feel more confident about accessing, collecting and analysing data relevant to their dissertation projects
Reading List
Reading material will be provided throughout the course.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Chris Dibben
Tel: (0131 6)50 2552
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Mcallister
Tel: (0131 6)50 4917
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