Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Human Geography Theory and Method
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 3000-word reflexive journal on the Theory School  50%
Semester Assessment 3000-word reflexive journal on the Methods School  50%

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. Show an appreciation of the ways in which methodological concerns in human geography can be related to ethical issues and public policy debates.

3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of key themes and theoretical developments in Human Geography, their interconnections, and how these have developed.

4. Discuss and evaluate the deployment of key debates in Geographical and related literatures.

5. Articulate and justify an individual critical perspective in relation to debates on key themes and theoretical developments in Human Geography.

Brief description

The module develops competencies in the understanding and application of appropriate research theories and methodologies within the field of human geography.

Methodological training is 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, of the different methodological strategies required for addressing particular research problems in human geography.

Theoretical training is delivered through exposure to contemporary debates in the social sciences and aims to develop students’ understandings of the distinctive contribution of Geographical knowledges to these debates. The training provides students with the means to critically evaluate different conceptual approaches, to select theoretically informed perspectives for their research, and to position their work within broader debates.

Students engage with the active Human Geography research community within the ESRC-DTP enhancing their ability to reflect critically on their own research practice.


The module comprises two distinct intensive elements: a “theory school” and a “methods school”. These separate events are delivered in conjunction with staff, research students and the broader postgraduate cohort that make up the Wales ESRC DTP human geography pathway joining Aberystwyth with Cardiff and Swansea.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Discussion and sharing of best practice relating to quantitative research methodologies.
Communication Written communication skills developed through written assignments, organization, discussion, and developing an argument. Writing with clarity, referencing, demonstrating an ability to integrate and synthesize diverse literatures and forms of evidence. Debating skills with respect to complex arguments
Improving own Learning and Performance Interim formative feedback throughout module during reading group sessions and self-assessment.
Information Technology Writing essays using word processing software; conducting electronic research through academic reading using on-line journal sources. Accessing electronic feedback through turn-it-in submission software.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain an appreciation of their own skills and interests in relation to other student and staff expertise.
Problem solving Essay writing and critical engagement with complex arguments throughout.
Research skills Critical analysis and evaluation of diverse theories and concepts. Literature search and review skills
Subject Specific Skills Students will be introduced to the specific application of research methods in Human Geography
Team work Seminars, Theory School and Methods School involves group discussion working across and within institutions.


This module is at CQFW Level 7