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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Key Methods in Human Geography (GEGR09020)

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 Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides a broad introduction to the types of quantitative (principally statistical) and qualitative methods used mainly in human geography, with the goal of readying students for the use of these methods in their dissertation (and other) research. The course is delivered through both lectures and practicals, in which the practical sessions will build on the material introduced in lecture and provide opportunities to apply these new methods to real examples.
Course description This course provides an introduction to the use of qualitative and quantitative methodologies in geography. The course work is designed to give students experience in using methods to collect and analyse real world data and, thereby, to gain insights into the characteristics of the techniques and their overall value, merits and limitations as a means of investigation. It establishes the value and importance of a core set of methodologies, and the means by which data is generated, analysed and presented. The course covers the process through which appropriate research methods are selected, and will introduce the use of participant-observation, secondary data (i.e. documents), social media, correlation and regression, probability, significance and hypothesis testing, and nonparametric statistics (such as logistic regression). The course also considers rigour in research, validation and reliability of findings, and research ethics.

The output of the course is two pieces of coursework that will develop skills in collecting, analysing and presenting qualitative and quantitative data. The first piece of coursework is a 2500 word project report (worth 50%, due in Week 6) which will assess your ability to accomplish key aspects of your selected qualitative method, focusing on introducing a project, drawing on relevant thematic and methods literature, collecting data, analysing data and presenting data using the selected method. The second is an assignment (worth 50%, due in Week 11) with a combination of numerical answers and short-form (non-essay) answers testing interpretation of statistical evidence. Students will work with similar but unique data sets, so each student will be required to use their own data to complete the assessment.

This course is only available to 3rd year students on the Geography MA Degree Programme.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is only available to 3rd year students on the Geography MA Degree Programme.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 16, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 158 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 2500 word report - qualitative (50%), due Week 6
Produce a research report of on a topic of the student's choice. The report will utilise one of the methods taught in the course. The student will formulate their own research question and do a minor amount of background reading on the topic. The major reading will be on their chosen methodology.

1 x Report assignment (approx. 1000 words and additional numerical answers) quantitative (50%), due Week 11
The report assignment will be a combination of numerical answers and short-form essay answers testing interpretation of statistical evidence. Students will work with similar but unique data sets, so each student will be supplied with their own bespoke data to complete the assessment.
Feedback We will provide formative feedback in the course via practicals in Weeks 3 - 10. A combination of academic staff and postgraduate tutors will provide this feedback. We will provide summative feedback via written comments on the coursework assessments.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. to develop a broad, integrated and critical understanding of methods, their principles and appropriate application in Human Geography
  2. to gain practical experience of the methods introduced so that students are aware of core and specialised techniques of data collection and analyses
  3. understand differences between types of data (ethnographic, interview-based, primary/secondary categorical, ordinal, scale etc.) and when they are relevant
  4. carry out tests of the relationships between different variables and determine which tests are most appropriate for a given set of data. To carry out formal statistical testing and be able to critique the test in terms of its results and assumptions
  5. students are expected to use the methods studied to collect and analyse real world data at a professional level, taking account of research ethics; in the assessed project work, students are expected to demonstrate their understanding of both a qualitative and a quantitative method introduced during the course
Reading List
Clifford, N. Cope, M., Gillespie, T. and French, S. (2016), Key Methods in Geography, London: Sage.
DeLyser, D., Herbert, S., Aitken, S. C., Crang, M., & McDowell, L. (2010). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Geography. Sage Publications Limited.
Silverman, D (ed) (2012 and other editions) Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice, Third Edition, London: Sage.
Silverman, D (2011 and other editions) Interpreting Qualitative Data: 4th Edition, London: Sage
Silverman, D (2007 and other editions), Very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about qualitative research, London: Sage.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Students will be able to demonstrate skills in the collection, organisation and analysis of qualitative data
2. Students will be confident in using real world examples,
3. Students will be able to develop and manage a project and work independently at a professional level.
4. Students will be able to demonstrate an ability to acquire and apply specialist practical knowledge.
5. Students will be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
KeywordsResearch Design,Research Proposal,Literature Reviews,Research Questions,Research Ethics,Method
Course organiserDr Thomas Clemens
Tel: (01316) 51 40 16
Course secretaryMiss Leigh Corstorphine
Tel: (01316) 502572
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