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DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2022/2023

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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Research Design for Physical Geography (GEGR10131)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to diverse skills required for writing a research proposal. Particular emphasis is given to providing materials and information that will prepare students for the Dissertation. A variety of skills are introduced including: 1) Research question formulation 2) Choice of appropriate theoretical and methodological frameworks 3) Critical reviewing of literature 4) Planning, analysis and write-up of work 5) Development of Presentation skills and general IT literacy in the creation of proposals.
Course description Research Design for Physical Geography is focussed on producing research proposals and preparing students to undertake the research and writing of their dissertation. The course will introduce students to typical projects undertaken in the Physical sciences; it will build on the methods training and illustrate the multiple approaches to designing a research project, including advice on developing and integrating, literature, theory and methods, as well as general information on health and safety and ethics. The course will be delivered through a combination of case studies, lectures and small group workshops.

Week - Lecture Content
1 Outlining the ambition of the course
- A strong launch (and steer) of the dissertation project
- knowing how and when to apply key methods in research
- understanding the importance / significance of research
- ideas of managing research and the opportunities for independent study
2 Case studies Theme 1: tbc (Earth Science/Geography staff expert as coordinator)
3 Case studies Theme 2: tbc (Earth Science/Geography staff expert coordinator)
4 Writing an excellent proposal (Recipe & essential ingredients)
- turning a topic into a focussed research question
- building on current state of the art
- development of a methodological framework
- creating a Gantt chart to plan activities
5 Case studies Theme 3: tbc (Earth Science/Geography staff expert coordinator)
6 Supervisor Fair
(All Physical, earth science, environmental geography, GIS, & remote sensing staff)
- presenting ideas to staff in round table groups, gaining feedback on their ideas
- Students will pitch their ideas to experts in the field in order to test out the feasibility of what is being proposed. The aim is to understand the nature of critique and feedback. This first round provides guidance to Wk 7 activities. The students will be placed in groups, each group chaired by a PhD student or member of staff
7 Pitch to peers
- feedback from peers on draft research proposals
- Student led activity in which each student submits a draft research proposal that is critiqued by their peers. The student first pitches their idea to a panel (obtains feedback), and then participates in the panel and review of others, reflecting on each other's ideas and responding to questions from the panel.
8 Proposal Conference
9 Health & Safety, field-based considerations
Ethical considerations in physical geography research
Administrative requirements
10 Surgery session: a chance to meet with staff on points of clarification in the write up of their proposals.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
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 %
Feedback Formative feedback will be provided throughout the course via the workshop style sessions which constitute the majority of contact time. This will be provided by a combination of academic staff and postgraduate tutors. Summative feedback will be provided via written comments from the coursework assessments. The first assessment will be a 'first go' at a research proposal providing students with written feedback designed to help them develop their research ideas and give an indication where they can improve for the final assessment, the full research proposal.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop, design and finalise research proposals
  2. Identify research project topics and formulate research questions appropriate for long term (12 month) undergraduate research projects
  3. Locate proposed research projects in wider academic literature and critically review relevant literature
  4. Identify and describe theories and methods appropriate for a given research question
  5. Understand ethical debates in applied research and apply this understanding to ensure research meets ethical standards
Reading List
Davis J.C. (1990) Statistics and Data Analysis in Geology Wiley
Ebdon, D. (1985) Statistics in Geography: A Practical Approach, Second Edition (Wiley, London).
Haines-Young, R. and Petch, J. (1986) Physical Geography: Its nature and methods (Harper Row, London).
Hay, I. (2006) Ethical practice in geographical research. In: Clifford, N. and Valentine,G. (2004) (eds) Key Methods in Geography (Sage, London).
Heywood, I., Cornelius, S., and Carver, S. (2011) An Introduction to Geographical Information Systems, Fourth Edition (Prentice Hall/Pearson, Harlow).
Hubbard, B. and Glasser, N. (2005) Field Techniques in Glaciology and Glacial Geomorphology.
Kneale, P (2011) Study Skills for Geography, Earth and Environmental Science Students. Hodder Education.
McKellup, S and Dyar, M.D (2010) Geostatistics explained: an introductory guide for earth scientists. Cambridge
Rogerson, P.A. (2001) Statistical Methods for Geographers, 2nd edition (Sage, London).
Smith, D.M. (2010) The Politics and Ethics of Research, in: Jones, J.P. and Gomez, B. (Eds) Research Methods in Geography: A Critical Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, New York).
Jones, J.P. and Gomez, B. (2010) Research Methods in Geography: A Critical Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, New York).
Clifford, N. and Valentine, G. (2003) Key Methods in Geography (Sage, London).
Walliman, N (2004) Your undergraduate dissertation. London: Sage
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Develop, design and finalise research proposals.
2. Identify research project topics and formulate research questions appropriate for an undergraduate research project
3. Be able to locate proposed research projects in wider academic literature and critically review relevant literature
4. Identify and describe theories and methods appropriate for a given research question
5. Understand ethical debates in applied research and apply this understanding to ensure research meets ethical standards.
6. Planning strategies associated with long term projects.
KeywordsResearch Design,Research Proposal,Literature Reviews,Research Questions,Research Ethics
Contacts
Course organiserDr Andrew Hein
Tel: (0131 6)50 9140
Email: Andy.Hein@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMiss Eloise Hepburn
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847
Email: eloise.hepburn@ed.ac.uk
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