University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: The Nature of Geographical Knowledge (GEGR09012)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course examines the history and contested nature of what counts as knowledge in geography. It deals with how geographers have investigated and understood the world in the past, and how they do so now, and considers the implications of those histories and practices.

Please note this is a core course for students on the Geography Degree Programmes, and Sustainable Development (Geography Pathway). This course is open to all university students, however priority will be given to the degree programmes listed here.
Course description The course asks questions about the construction of geographical knowledge in terms of trust and epistemology and of the bases to truth claims in, for example, geographical fieldwork.

Attention is paid to theories and ideas drawn from the history of science and to feminist and radical perspectives, in the past and in contemporary context.

Please note this is a core course for students on the Geography Degree Programmes, and Sustainable Development (Geography Pathway). This course is open to all university students; priority will be given, however, to the degree programmes listed here.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 175 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 60%, Course Work: 40 %, Practical Exam: 0%.
Degree Essay (40%) of 2000 words (not including bibliography) and exam (2 questions from 6) (60%)
Feedback Feedback is provided via comments upon the class assessment. Feedback on the degree assessment (essay and examination) is provided in written form and via the timetabled Feedback session in semester 2.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the ways in which geographers construct geographical knowledge
  2. Assess the philosophical approaches and ideas used in thinking about the situated nature of geographical knowledge
  3. Assess the merits of different claims to geographical knowledge
  4. Present and defend reasoned arguments on the nature of knowledge in geography
  5. Understand the "scientific method" and associated critiques.
Reading List
There is no single text which covers the course's entire scope, but the following books each contain useful material. A wide variety of readings will be provided via LEARN.

1. Clifford N., S. Holloway, S. Rice and G. Valentine 2009 Key Concepts in Geography. London, Sage.

2. Johnston, Ron J., and James D. Sidaway. Geography and Geographers: Anglo-American Human Geography since 1945. 7 ed. London: Arnold, 2004. [GF13 Joh.]

3. Livingstone, David N. The Geographical Tradition: Episodes in the History of a Contested Enterprise. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992. [G80 Liv.]

4. Martin, Geoffrey J. All Possible Worlds: A History of Geographical Ideas. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. [G80 Mar.]

5. Dictionary of Human Geography (eds. Johnston R., D. Gregory, G. Pratt and M. Watts, Blackwell, 2000) contains many useful definitions of key terms.

6. Inkpen, R. and W. Graham (2013) Science, Philosophy and Physical Geography, 2nd ed. London: Routledge
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will be able to demonstrate skills in researching, assessing, presenting and defending reasoned arguments on the nature of knowledge in geography.
Students will also be able to demonstrate an ability to acquire and apply specialist knowledge.
Finally, students will be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
KeywordsGEGR09012,geographical knowledge
Course organiserProf Charles Withers
Tel: (0131 6)50 2559
Course secretaryMiss Carry Arnold
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information