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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Research Skills in Physical Geography (GEGR08012)

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
SummaryThis course provides students with the opportunity to learn a range of field skills relevant to geomorphological, fluvial and biogeographical research during a seven day fieldtrip to Snowdonia. This field and practical-based course will allow students to formulate research questions and hypotheses and then test them with observations and appropriate analysis. Students will also learn how to plan a small research project and work in small groups in the field. These groups will work together to analyse data and present their results to their peers. Back in Edinburgh there will be a series of practical classes where students will further develop their analytical and visualisation skills and also create an ArcGIS Story Map. Students will write a detailed paper on their findings.

***This course is only available to, and is compulsory for, Geography BSc***
Course description The overall aim of this course is to build on the first year Physical Geography and Fundamental Methods in Geography and introduce the students to a range of skills needed to undertake field-based research. The core of this course is a week-long residential fieldtrip to Snowdonia, where students will be introduced to a range of field techniques to enable then to study geomorphological, fluvial and biogeographical issues. The first two days of the fieldtrip will consist of learning new field techniques, and reacquainting themselves with those covered briefly in the previous year's Fundamental Methods weekend fieldtrip. These will cover geomorphological mapping of mainly erosional glacial landforms and ice stream sediments, learning how to gauge a river and establish its water quality, as well as forestry and moorland biogeographical sampling techniques. A number of complementary surveying, GIS, remote sensing and statistical techniques will also be introduced. After a day planning their projects and carrying out class based work, the students will undertake a two research project, before presenting their results at an end of trip conference. On returning to Edinburgh, students will undertake four weeks of practical sessions, which will include further development of their skills in statistics, GIS, remote sensing and visualisation of data. This course will complement the Global Change and Geomorphology courses and result in a high level of methodological awareness.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework:
Group ArcGIS StoryMap (30%)
Individual 2500 word research project report (70%)

Group ArcGIS StoryMap: Week 6
Individual Research Report: Week 9
Feedback 1) During the residential field trip there will be continuous feedback in the field and the lab to individuals and to groups as they develop their projects. Feedback will also be given during the group presentations.
2) Students will receive formative feedback during the post-fieldtrip practical sessions.
3) Summative feedback will be given with the marked StoryMap and project report.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To develop skills by problem-solving, field data collection, analysis and interpretation.
  2. To gain an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of field and analytical techniques employed.
  3. To develop communication and interactive skills through group work.
  4. To further develop a range of statistical, mapping and visualisation skills.
  5. To develop skills in documenting fieldwork by the completion of a field notebook and writing a research report.
Reading List
Students will also be guided to appropriate academic papers guided by their choice of research project.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1) Gaining an awareness of all steps of project design
2) Experience in GIS and its application to project planning
3) Ability to work independently (practical work, undertaking independent background research)
4) Ability to work as part of a team
5) Presentation skills
6) Critical thinking
KeywordsFieldwork,Methodologies,Statistics,GIS and Remote Sensing
Course organiserDr Anthony Newton
Tel: (0131 6)50 2546
Course secretaryMiss Carry Arnold
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847
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