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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Fieldwork in Human Geography (A) (GEGR09025)

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 is a week-long residential field course in human geography for 3rd year single honours geography students. The field course builds on and extends the more theoretical work already encountered in human geography courses, as well as the research methods introduced in Fundamental Methods in Geography, Fundamentals of Research Design and Key Methods in Human Geography. The course also provides an opportunity for students to practice preparing for and practicing the fieldwork skills and data analysis skills required for independent dissertation work. As well as teaching students about the fascinating geography and history of a particular field site, the course emphasises the development of research design and field research skills in human geography.
Course description During the course students will select from a range of methodologies currently practised in many subfields of human geography. In groups, and with staff supervision, they will examine and undertake major elements of the research experience including project design, the application of theoretical frameworks for research, look for data sources, select and deploy methods, respond to the challenges of the field, and conduct analysis on their data. Students will also be introduced to the practical and ethical considerations that are required to undertake fieldwork in human geography. Throughout the course, students will conduct work in small groups to design, prepare and undertake a research project in the field. Upon return, students will complete an individual research project report.

Workshop One: Introduction to the field site and the concepts and themes of the course. Groups allocated.
Workshop Two: Introduction to research methods, risk assessment and ethics. Supervised project work.
Workshop Three: Supervised project work.
More sessions may be added at the discretion of the course organiser and teaching team.

The course is designed for a group of 45 students. It follows the RGS-IBG Principles for Undergraduate Field Courses. Decisions about locations, assessments, staffing and fieldwork activities consider the course¿s potential environmental impact, its accessibility and inclusivity for staff and students, and the course¿s impact on host communities and local interlocutors.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  38
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Fieldwork Hours 70, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 120 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework

Group Research Proposal- 20%
Group Presentation (end of trip, in the field)- 20%
Individual Field Notebook (to be completed throughout the trip, submitted at the end)- 10%
Individual Research Report- 50%
Feedback Formative feedback is built into the structure of the course. Feedback is provided to groups in the pre-trip classroom sessions, particularly in session three, when they work specifically on their project design and research proposals. Formative feedback on field notebooks will take place on day 2 or 3, when staff will review notebooks and have students reflect in conversation on how they are using their notebooks. Formative feedback on the group presentations takes place during the final stages of the fieldtrip, when staff support the groups in analysing and presenting their data. This feeds into the research report, which is a more polished written report of the same data.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Make connections between theoretical concepts in geography and case studies drawn from the field.
  2. An understanding of the relationship between alternative/Southern theories and dominant paradigms so as to appreciate how it contests dominant thought.
  3. A grounding in a range of methodologies, and an ability to critically assess their weaknesses and strengths.
  4. Practical experience of designing and completing a small research project.
  5. 5. Work as part of a team to plan and conduct collaborative research, with attentiveness to ethics, safety, and respect for peers and your research constituents.
Reading List
Indicative Reading List
Clifford, N. Cope, M., Gillespie, T. and French, S. (2016), Key Methods in Geography, London: Sage.
Cloke, Paul, Philip Crang and Mark Goodwin (2014) Introducing Human Geographies (relevant concepts and sections)
Connell, Raewyn (RW) (2007) Southern Theory: Social Science and the Global Dynamics of Knowledge (relevant chapters)
Crang, Mike and Ian Cook (2007) Doing Ethnographies
Phillips, Richard and Jennifer Johns (2012). Fieldwork for Human Geography. London: Sage
Rose, Gillian (2011) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials
Silverman, D (ed) (2012 and other editions) Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice, Third Edition, London: Sage.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Hamish Kallin
Tel: (0131 6)50 2533
Course secretaryMiss Leigh Corstorphine
Tel: (01316) 502572
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