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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG2000 Research Approaches in Human Geography

20 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Dr. Laura Loyola-Hernández

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

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module provides human geography students with an essential training programme in the fundamentals of devising, conducting and writing up research so that you are equipped to conduct your own final year independent research project. The module is composed of two coherent halves. In semester one you will learn about the core ideas and scientific approaches underpinning human geography, be introduced to the various types of research conducted by human geographers and their societal implications and be trained in the key skills of compiling, summarising and critically analysing different literatures and data sources. In semester 2 you will undertake practical training in research design, methodology and a variety of qualitative research methods before putting them into practice through conducting fieldwork, data collection, and data analysis in a research team.


This module strives to provide students with:

- a maturing understanding of the core ideas and scientific approaches underpinning human geography and the ability to argue coherently on geographical topics

- skills in compiling, summarising and critically analysing different literatures and data sources

- an introduction to and understanding of the various types of research conducted by human geographers and their societal implications

- knowledge of the respective strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to conducting geographical research

- an awareness of key principles in research design and methodology

- specific training in a variety of qualitative research methods

- confidence in putting methods of data collection and analysis into practice

- advanced skills for writing up and evidencing human geographical research effectively

- the ability to develop a proposal for a conceptually grounded piece of human geographical research

Learning outcomes
Students successfully completing the module should be able to:

1. understand the dynamic nature of human geographical thought and practice

2. search for, find and critically review existing literature and evidence, discuss which research approach has been used by the authors and the appropriateness of that approach

3. identify and explain the key principles of research design and data collection

4. reflect on the ethical issues that can arise in conducting and publishing research

5. formulate and carry out an independent research project through various strategies and techniques for collecting and analysing data

Skills outcomes
The module is built upon the learning and teaching of core QAA geographical skills:
- abstraction and synthesis of information
- developing a reasoned argument
- assessing the merits of contrasting theories and
- primary data generation, collection and recording, and the
use of secondary data sets

- critically evaluating, interpreting and combining different
types of geographical evidence

- analysis and problem-solving through quantitative and
qualitative methods
- planning, designing and executing a piece of rigorous
research or enquiry, both independently and in groups,
including the production of a final report
- conducting fieldwork and field data collection
- employing a variety of interpretative methods

- employing a variety of social survey methods

- taking responsibility for learning and reflection upon that
- recognising the moral, ethical and safety issues involved in
all aspects of geographical enquiry
- the concept of spatial variation
- an appreciation of temporal change
- a critical awareness of the significance of spatial and
temporal scale
- distinctiveness of place
- knowledge of the main dimensions and scales of
economic, social, political and environmental inequality and
- a critical understanding of the history of the subject
- knowledge and critical understanding of the diverse
manners of representation
- principles of research design
- geographical knowledge and understanding field skills


Semester 1 focuses on the theory of doing human geographical research:

- history of ideas and types of human geography research
- essential bibliographic searching and literature reviewing skills
- early stages of research planning
- key principles of research design

Semester 2 focuses on the practical steps of doing research:

- core skills in using different research methods and analytical techniques
- training in conducting qualitative research )
- experience in conducting fieldwork, field data collection and working in research teams
- knowledge of techniques and strategies for data analysis
- sensitivity to the particular ethical issues that can arise in research

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours160.00
Total Contact hours40.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will use their private study time to reinforce their own learning by devoting:
- c. 50 hours to additional reading to enhance their understanding of themes introduced in lectures;
- c. 24 hours to reading and other preparation for tutorials;
- c. 50 hours to bibliographical research, reading, critical reflection and writing linked to the completion of assessed tutorial work;
- c. 36 hours to group research activities and writing up.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Tutorials will monitor students’ general progress and development of core skills and knowledge through the planned tutorial topics and assignments;
Timetabled group conversations with lecturers will monitor students’ understanding of the core material introduced in lectures; these group sessions will also provide opportunities for students to ask questions and receive formative feedback in return. Students will also receive feedback on their semester 1 literature review assignment that will help them prepare for their semester 2 assignment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report1000 word dissertation project initiation form - tutorial (This element is Pass to Progress)0.00
Group Project1500 word equivalent contribution to 4000 word report40.00
Literature Review1500 word - tutorial60.00
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: 26/01/2024


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