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2014/15 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG1070 Physical Geography Tutorial

10 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Professor Andy Baird

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2014/15

This module is not approved as a discovery module


1. To introduce students to how physical geography is 'done'. That is, to introduce students to the scientific approaches used by physical geographers when trying to understand the natural environment.
2. To introduce students to the reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for university-level study of physical geography.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Identify and explain the differences between observational, experimental and theoretical/modelling research approaches.
2. Read selected research papers and to discuss which research approach has been used by the authors of the papers and the appropriateness of the approach.
3. Write cogently and critically on the research approaches used in a range of contrasting published geographical studies.

Skills outcomes
The main subject-specific skill that students will develop is that of understanding the different research approaches used by physical geographers. In terms of skills that are an important part of Geography but which are also transferable, students on the module will gain the following:

A. Knowledge and understanding
A1. The dynamic nature of geographical thought and practice and the inter-relationships between the discipline and the physical and natural sciences, the social sciences and humanities.

B. Cognitive skills
B1. Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources.
B2. Assessment and critical evaluation of the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, policies.
B3. Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text.
B4. Developing reasoned arguments.

D. Key skills
D2. Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
D7. Manage time and organise work effectively.


Semester 1:
Week 1. Introduction to the module and an explanation of the transition from A-level to university-level study: adopting a critical perspective.
Week 3. From the field and laboratory to the journal paper: how is physical geography research done and reported? Examples from geomorphology, Quaternary science, and landscape ecology.
Week 5. Review of practice essay, followed by:
The different research approaches used by physical geographers 1: observational and experimental.
Week 7. The different research approaches used by physical geographers 2: theoretical/modelling.
Week 9. Essay review: feedback and peer review of first assessed essay on three example physical geography research papers.
Week 10. One to one progress review session.

Semester 2:
Week 1. Life on the edge: methodological approaches used in research that involves both human and physical geography.
Week 3. Making the case for a piece of research: the rationale.
Week 5. Essay review: feedback and peer review of second essay on research approaches in physical geography.
Week 7. Choosing the right research approach 1: examples from hydrology, geomorphology, and ecology.
Week 9. Choosing the right research approach 2: examples from Quaternary and climate-change science.
Week 10. One to one progress review session.

The module will incorporate Leeds for Life personal tutorial tasks/

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours20.00
Private study hours69.33
Total Contact hours10.67
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Students will be set work to prepare for each tutorial. Typically, preparation for a tutorial will involve four-five hours of study time. The tutorial preparation will be supported by online resources.

The remaining time spent learning will be work towards three assessments: two essays and one research-design report.

It should be noted that the contact time given in the table above is a minimum for each student.

Almost all students seek one to one help (outside of tutorials) from their tutors several times during the academic year.

Students will make use of Leeds for Life online resources to reflect on their academic and personal development, and use these with tutors in designated tutorials.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored via a trial (non-assessed) essay - set at the beginning of Semester 1 - and via marking and feedback on two assessed essays. In addition, every tutorial - not just those giving feedback on assessment - can be used to review student progress.

All tutors will keep notes of the academic development of each of their students and will be expected to record student performance in an end-of-year report. These reports will be discussed with each student at the end of the academic year.

Leeds for Life forms will also be used to reflect on student progress.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,500 words for first essay40.00
Essay1,500 words for second essay (this essay is designed to be more reflective)40.00
ProjectProject report20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/01/2015


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