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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG1081 Data analysis and physical geography tutorials

20 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Dr Clare Woulds

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

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The aim of this module is to support the transition to university, and develop essential understanding and skills for conducting physical geographical work. These will include critical reading of the research literature, presenting and analysing geographical data (statistical and spatial analysis), and writing essays and reports.


The aims are
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 essential data analysis skills in physical geography. This includes discussing the nature of geographical data, data analysis (including statistical and spatial analysis), drawing graphs and writing a project report.
3. To introduce students to the reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for university-level study of physical geography.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this course 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.
4. Demonstrate an ability to analyse and present geographical data.
5. Understand the range of sources of, and techniques available for analysing, geographical data, including the link between the question being asked and the most appropriate method required to answer it.
6. Use Information Technology, including statistical software and GIS, to explore geographical questions.
7. Write a scientific report.

Skills outcomes
The subject-specific skills that students will develop include understanding how physical geographical research is conducted, presenting and analysing data, and critical writing of essays and reports. In terms of skills that are an important part of Geography but which are also transferable, students on the module will gain the following:
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.
A9 The theory and application of quantitative, visualisation and other spatial techniques across a wide range of geographical contexts

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
B5 Solving problems and making reasoned decisions

C Practical/professional skills
C3 Employ a variety of technical methods for the analysis and presentation of spatial and environmental information (e.g. GIS)
C4 Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of quantitative and qualitative geographical data

D Key skills
D2. Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
D3 Apply numerical and computational skills to geographical information
D4 Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail)
D6 Work as part of a team and to recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
D7 Manage time and organise work effectively


Semester 1
Tutorials to facilitate the transition to university, introduce critical reading of research papers, and support the development of essay writing skills.
Lectures and practical sessions covering the use of Excel and Minitab, and the presentation and analysis of data using graphs, descriptive statistics, and basic statistical tests. Practical support will also be provided to ensure that all students have the necessary maths skills for this and other modules.
Semester 2
Tutorials covering research approaches and rationale, and support with statistics and report writing.
Lectures and practical sessions providing a foundation in geographical information systems, including basic cartography and data retrieval and manipulation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours142.00
Total Contact hours58.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Tutorial work will include preparation for each tutorial, supported by online resources. In addition there will be work towards an assessed paper on study design.
Statistics and GIS practicals will give rise to private study for finishing the exercises set (exercises to be completed online). Formative feedback will be given. Further private study will be required for the preparation of an assessed maths worksheet and a final report.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress in tutorials will be monitored via a trial (non-assessed) essay – set at the beginning of Semester 1 – and via marking and feedback on two pieces of assessed writing. In addition, Leeds for Life forms will be used to reflect on student progress during designated tutorials.
Statistical and GIS practical skills via a weekly formative worksheet associated with each computer practical. Class feedback on worksheets completed during/after each computer practical will be provided online, and individual feedback will be provided on the final report.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report1600 words50.00
PracticalMaths worksheet15.00
Written WorkSet of three short answer questions on research approaches (1500 words)35.00
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: 29/04/2022 15:32:19


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