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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Fundamental Methods in Geography (GEGR08009)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
The overall aim of the course is to provide an introduction to fundamental methods of geographical research. The course will provide an introduction to qualitative methodologies in Geography, statistical techniques and the purpose and scope of both qualitative and quantitative methods within geographical research. We will consider relevant examples from across the full range of the discipline. We will examine methods for data collection, data description, analysis and tests of association and difference. Fieldwork is included to give students experience in undertaking geographical research to evaluate real world information. This will provide insights into the characteristics of the techniques and their overall value and utility within research.
The goal to enhance the student learning experience within the Geography programme by developing underpinning methodological training at an early stage of the curriculum. Additionally it will assist in developing a strong group identity and better sense of belonging to the degree programme, particularly through the inclusion of the residential field experience. Student are expected to undertake ONE ONLY of the following dates: Friday 4pm to Sunday 5pm on 6-8th October OR 13-15th October.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Fieldcourse costs: 85
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  142
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 12, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 4, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 8, Fieldwork Hours 16, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 150 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Multiple Choice Exam: 50%, Course Work: 50 %,
BOTH parts MUST be passed to pass the course as a whole.

50% of the degree assessment is on a research project of 1,500 words presented at the end of the teaching period (Thursday, week 11). You have to identify one research question of your own choice developed from a list of topics provided. You must:
1. Clearly state the research question (one that must be able to be tackled using at least one of the methods considered in the course).
2. Explain why the research question is important.
3. Present an apt methodology: Explain what methods from the course you will use and why.
4. Gather data from secondary or primary sources
5. Apply your chosen methods
6. Analyse the data
7. Discuss the findings with reference to the wider academic literature
8. Present considered conclusions
Feedback Feedback on field note books will be returned in the related tutorial following your fieldtrip

Feedback on the research report will be delivered three weeks after the submission date; please note that the research report exercise is very different to the multiple choice exam and so summative feedback on the project will not necessarily be available before you sit the exam. Both components have to be passed to pass the course. If your research report fails to reach an appropriate standard then a revised submission must be made; if the exam is failed then there will be a similar exam resit.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To develop a broad and integrated understanding of geographical methods, their principles and appropriate application
  2. To have a critical awareness of the values, limitations and interpretation of qualitative and statistical techniques for both descriptive and inferential purposes.
  3. To gain practical experience and awareness of some principal methods and specialised techniques of data collection and analysis used in Geography
  4. To provide a basic knowledge of the skills needed to carry out analysis using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and basic computer-based statistical analysis, and to understand particular issues associated with the analysis of quantitative data.
  5. To synthesize and critically evaluate the ideas and issues identified during the lectures and fieldwork through project work.
Reading List
Clifford, N. and Valentine, G. (2010), Key Methods in Geography, London: Sage.
Madsen, B. (2011) Statistics for non-statisticians. Springer.
DeLyser, D., Herbert, S., Aitken, S. C., Crang, M., & McDowell, L. (2010). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Geography. Sage Publications Limited.
Ebdon D (1985) Statistics in Geography, (2nd edn). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Robinson G M (1998) Methods & Techniques in Human Geography. Chichester: John Wiley.
Rogerson P (2001) Statistical Methods for Geographers. London: Sage
Shaw G and Wheeler D (1985, 1994, 2005) Statistical techniques in geographical analysis. Chichester: John Wiley.
Wheelan, C.(2014) Naked Statistics. W. W. Norton & Company.
Wheater C P and Cook P A (2000) Using statistics to understand the environment. Oxford: Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will be able to demonstrate a critical awareness of the values, limitations and interpretation of qualitative methods. Students will also show the ability to use statistical methods for both descriptive and inferential purposes, and demonstrate an awareness of GIS.
Finally, students will gain team and group working skills, and experience of problem solving.
Special Arrangements None
KeywordsStatistics,qualitative methodologies,GIS,fieldwork
Course organiserProf Andrew Dugmore
Tel: (0131 6)50 8156
Course secretaryMiss Kirsty Allan
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847
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