Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 30 hours
Practical 15 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment ESSAY  4,000 word (max) essay  50%
Semester Assessment THESIS PLAN  4,000 word (max) thesis plan  30%
Semester Assessment ORAL PRESENTATION  presentation of thesis plan to staff and students  20%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed components:  essay and thesis plan  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Appreciate the role of methodology, as it lies between and 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 knowledge of the emergence and development of a range of methodologies within Human Geography;
  3. Display knowledge of the ways in which methodological issues are linked to forms of research design, data collection and analysis, and the changing practice of human-geographical analysis;
  4. Form an understanding of the relationship between, and rationale for using, quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis;
  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. Establish a critical position on methodological debates, especially in relation to their own field of inquiry;
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the issues involved in planning a Masters' Thesis, including research design, data collection, and data analysis, and provide a detailed timetable and schedule of work regarding that thesis;
  8. Develop oral presentational skills in relation to communicating the content and timetable of their Masters thesis to their peers and academic staff.

Brief description

Students will acquire an understanding, through reading and critically engaging with both quantitative and qualitative sources of data, 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.


I. What is Methodology?
  • Positivist Ontology and Spatial Science: Hypotheses, Validity and Context
  • The Humanist Universe and the Analysis of Experience: Hermeneutics, Situatedness and Ethics
  • Marxism and the Dialectical Imagination: Materialism, Retroduction and Ideology
  • Feminist Theory and the Re-engagement with Geography: Reflexivity, Power and the Personal
  • 'Post' Methodologies: Representation, Discourse and Affect
II. Data and Evidence in Political Geography - Sources and Collection
  • Qualitative 1 - archives, iconographic and textual sources
  • Qualitative 2 - interviews and participant observation
  • Quantitative 1 - primary statistical sources
  • Quantitative 2 - secondary statistical sources
III. Data Analysis in Political Geography
  • Qualitative 1 - conversational and ethnographic analysis
  • Qualitative 2 - forms of iconographic and content analysis
  • Qualitative 3 - forms of discourse analysis
  • Quantitative 1 - GIS and computer cartography
  • Quantitative 2 - spatial analysis and modeling
  • Quantitative 3 - mixing methods and ethical concerns

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will be expected to analyze and interpret, through a range of complementary methods, different forms of quantitative and qualitative data, and linked to addressing specific research questions (assessed through the essay).
Communication Students will be expected to play a full role in small group discussions with their peers and with academic staff. The development of presentation skills will be assessed through the oral delivery of the MA thesis plan (20% of the module mark). In addition, students will be expected to present coursework with a high standard of academic writing, examined through the 4,000 word essay and the 4,000 word thesis plan.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be expected to undertake a significant amount of self-directed study, including extensive reading for the 4,000 word essay and 4,000 word thesis plan. In both cases, students will be required to develop self and time-management skills.
Information Technology Students will be expected to use Information Technology in the presentation of their coursework. They will also become familiar with the use of Internet in the provision of academic writing, for example on-line journals (assessed through the essay and thesis plan). And, they will be exposed to a range of data management and analysis packages as part of their seminar and workshop participation (assessed through the essay).
Personal Development and Career planning The module provides knowledge and understanding that is central to teaching geography at the tertiary and higher education sector level.
Problem solving Students will generate research questions and appropriate means of answering them through the 4,000 word thesis plan
Research skills Students will undertake a significant degree of independent reading for the 4,000 word essay and 4,000 word thesis plan. Preparatory work will also be required for the oral presentation of the thesis plan.
Subject Specific Skills Students will be encouraged to situate themselves, and their work, within the broad sweep of recent developments in human geography (through the thesis plan).
Team work The seminar and workshop components of this module enable students to develop skills and awareness of their role in the immediate context of discussion based interaction.

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