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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG2561 Research Methods: Ideas and Practice in Human Geography

30 creditsClass Size: 250

Module manager: Dr Stuart Hodkinson

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is mutually exclusive with

GEOG2762Research in Human Geography: Ideas, Methods and Tutorial

Module replaces

It replaces and absorbs GEOG2011 and GEOG2551

This module is not approved as a discovery module


This module strives to provide students with:
- a maturing understanding of the core ideas underpinning human geography and the ability to argue coherently on geographical topics
- skills in critical reading and reviewing
- a knowledge and understanding of research conducted by staff in the School of Geography.
- knowledge of the respective strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to conducting research in human geography and the social sciences
- an awareness of key principles in research in human geography focused around social data, GIS and spatial analysis, and qualitative research methods
- confidence in putting methods of data collection and analysis into practice
- advanced skills for writing up and evidencing geographical research effectively
- the ability to develop a proposal for a conceptually grounded piece of geographical research.

Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes comprise:

Ideas Strand:
1. The dynamic nature of geographical thought and practice and the inter-relationships between the discipline and the social sciences and humanities;
2. The history of geographical thought as it relates to a broader history of evolving thought in the social sciences;
3. Key concepts and thinkers in contemporary Human Geography;

Qualitative Research Methods Strand
5. Understanding of principles of qualitative research design;
6. Awareness of principles of data collection related to interview methods and participant observation;
7. Knowledge of techniques of strategies for analysing qualitative data;
8. Sensitivity to the particular ethical issues that can arise in qualitative research;
9. Awareness of a diversity of qualitative approaches;

Quantitative Research Methods Strand
10. Understanding different types of numerical data and techniques for their analysis;
11. Developing skills in interpreting numerical data;
12. Understanding of geographical information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis concepts;
13. Understanding of different types of geographic and attribute data (and their sources);
14. Awareness of different functions of GIS and techniques for spatial analysis and when to apply them;
15. Confidence in using GIS and spatial analysis in geographical enquiry/dissertation work.

Final Year Project Strand:

16. Research currently undertaken at the School of Geography, University of Leeds, and its wider societal implications.
17. Grounding in the analysis of geographical data that students might encounter;
18. Ability to formulate an independent research project;
19. Developing skills in compiling, summarising and critically analysing different literatures and data sources.

Skills outcomes
Use of techniques of data analysis in geography
- The use of Geographical Information Systems
- The use of Social Data Analysis
- The use of qualitative interviewing and other qualitative techniques within human geography and the social sciences


The module runs over semester 1 and semester 2.
Semester 1 focuses on the core ideas in Human Geography and Qualitative Research Design and Methods.
Lectures, seminars, practicals and tutorials will introduce students to:
1. The development of key ideas in human geography.
2. Different research approaches within the discipline and to the work undertaken by human geographers at Leeds.
3. Key methods and issues in qualitative research including: the rationales for using qualitative methods; principles of research design (such as site selection and sampling); research ethics; and techniques of data collection and analysis.
Semester 2 focuses on the development of writing and research design skills and Quantitative Research approaches
Lectures, seminars, practicals and tutorials will introduce students to:
4. Social Data, GIS and Spatial Analysis including: numerical approaches to research; spatial data analysis and visualisation; data acquisition and mapping; and cartography.
5. Bibliographical search methods and accessing data sources.
6. Literature review writing skills
7. Skills related to the development of ideas for research and the understanding of the early stages of research planning.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours216.00
Total Contact hours84.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

216 private study hours (a combination of independent reading; completion of assessment tasks; initial bibliographical research to help frame and develop a project research proposal)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

In addition to formal assessments, student progress will be monitored through:
- Seminar and tutorial discussions with staff to gauge the general understanding of the main concepts discussed in this module and assess progress over the 2 semesters.

- Practical sessions with staff to monitor students’ comprehension and ability to proceed with practical tasks and projects.

- Staff reviewing draft essay and literature review plans, and formative assessment of 500 word Final Year Project initiation form

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1800 words25.00
Group ProjectQualitative Methods: 1800 equivalent per student to a 4000 word group report with appendices20.00
ReportFinal Year Project - 1500 words20.00
AssignmentData analysis practical - 1200 words equivalent17.50
AssignmentGIS/spatial practical - 1200 words equivalent17.50
Written WorkFinal Year Project Initiation Form - 500 word formative only0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Final Year Project Initiation Form is 'pass-to-progress'.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/05/2018


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