Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
To be taken alongside other core and optional modules for the relevant MA schemes.
Mutually Exclusive
GGM3540 Training for Policy Research

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 16 x 2 hrs
Practical 12 x 1 hrs
Other Oral presentation session: 1 x 3 hrs


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay of 5,000 words  30%
Semester Assessment Research proposal of 4,000 words  25%
Semester Assessment Portfolio of 10 practical exercises based on practical workshops 1-10.  30%
Semester Assessment Oral presentation of research proposal (15 mins) (to be recorded using lecture capture (video + sound))   15%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission or re-presentation of any failed component only if the overall module mark is a fail. 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the role of methodology as it mediates the abstract theories of ontology and epistemology on the one hand and the narrower, more practical concerns of methods and techniques on the other.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between, and rationale for using, quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis.
  3. Appropriately identify and utilize a range of sources of qualitative and quantitative data.
  4. Appropriately select and apply a range of methods for the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.
  5. Show an appreciation of the ways in which methodological concerns in human geography can be related to ethical issues and public policy debates.
  6. Effectively plan a research project, including research design, data collection and data analysis, and time management.
  7. Communicate a research proposal through written and oral presentations.

Brief description

This module develops competencies in the understanding and application of appropriate research methods within the field of human geography, with an emphasis upon their geographic implementation. Throughout the module methodological issues are explicitly linked to forms of data collection, research design, and the changing practice of human geography. Students will acquire an understanding, through reading and critically engaging with both quantitative and qualitative sources of data, and of the different methodological strategies required for addressing particular research problems in human geography. In doing this, the module will specifically focus on the connections between theoretically-driven research questions, research design, data collection, and data analysis.


Section 1: Methodological Approaches in Human Geography
1. Introduction to Methodology
2. Spatial Science
3. Humanistic Geography
4. Marxism
5. Feminist Geographies
6. Post-geographies

Section 2: Data and Evidence for Research - Sources and Collection
7. Qualitative data 1: Archives, iconographic and textual sources
Practical workshop 1: Archival research
Practical workshop 2: Iconographic and textual sources
8. Qualitative data 2: Interviews and participant observation
Practical workshop 3: Interviews
Practical workshop 4: Participant observation
9. Quantitative data 1: Primary statistical sources
Practical workshop 5: Qualtrics survey tool
10. Quantitative data 2: Secondary statistical sources
Practical workshop 6: Web-based statistical resources

Section 3: Data Analysis for Research
11. Qualitative analysis 1: Conversational and ethnographic analysis
Practical workshop 7: Ethnographic analysis
12. Qualitative analysis 2: Iconographic and content analysis
Practical workshop 8: Iconographic analysis
13. Qualitative analysis 3: Discourse analysis
Practical workshop 9: Discourse analysis
14. Quantitative analysis: GIS and spatial analysis
Practical workshop 10: GIS
15. Mixing methods
Practical workshop 11: Dissertation planning - methods

Section 4: Ethics and Research
16. Research ethics and fieldwork safety
Practical workshop 12: Dissertation planning - ethics and safety

17. Presentation of research proposals

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will be introduced to quantitative data sources and methods for quantitative data analysis, and will discuss issues concerned with the use and interpretation of statistical analysis.
Communication Written communication skills developed through written assignments and oral communication skills through oral presentation. Approaches for communicating research to a range of audiences introduced and discussed, but not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be expected to undertake a significant amount of self-directed study and will reflect on their own capabilities, strengths and performance in designing a research project.
Information Technology Students will be introduced to digital and IT data sources and to software packages for qualitative and quantitative data handling, analysis and presentation.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is orientated towards developing skills and perspectives appropriate for a wide variety of careers.
Problem solving Problem solving skills will be developed through the design of a dissertation proposal
Research skills A wide range of research skills will be developed through the module, including skills of data collection and analysis, and research planning and management.
Subject Specific Skills Students will be introduced to the specific application of research methods in Human Geography
Team work Practicals will involve group discussion and exercises.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Clifford, N. and Valentine, G. (eds) (2003) Key methods in geography. London: Sage Primo search Cloke, P., Crang, P. and Goodwin, M. (eds) (2001-2) Practising Human Geography Arnold, London Primo search Eyles, J., and Smith, D. (eds) (1988) Qualitative Methods in Human Geography Polity: Cambridge Primo search Macmillan, B. (1989) Remodelling Geography Blackwell (Oxford) Primo search Mason, J. (1996) Qualitative Research Sage, London Primo search Sayer, A. (1992) Method in Social Science Routledge, London Primo search Walliman, N. (2001) Your Research Project Sage, London Primo search Wilson, A. and Bennett, R. (1985) Mathematical methods in Human Geography and Planning Wiley, Chichester Primo search Wrigley, N. and Bennett, R. (eds) (1981) Quantitative Geography Routledge, London Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7