Module DXX-4104:
Geographical Thought

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Graham Bird

Overall aims and purpose

The over-arching aim of the module is to encourage students to think critically about the development of the subject of Geography, to understand relevant conceptual frameworks in which the subject operates and how this is manifest within geographical research. The module will also focus upon how geographical research develops, both in terms of conceptual epistemologies but also practically in terms of research design.

Course content

The module will begin with a focus on the development of geography as a subject and the paradigms that have developed within the subject. The module will then move on to focus on how research within geography has developed and the nature of key epistemologies within the subject. Finally, the module will turn towards the issue of evaluating existing literature, identifying research gaps and developing a research proposal and agenda. Key themes include: • The foundation of Geography and the cosmographic tradition o ‘-graphy’ not ‘-ology o The Renaissance o Geography and empire • Key paradigms o Postivism o Critical rationalism o Uniformitarianism o Feminist and Marxist geographies o Critical realism • Realities, entities and classification • Knowledge gaps within the geography • Research questions: context and rationale • Planning research

Assessment Criteria

excellent

A- and above High-level and critically-aware understanding of key theories and concepts and an ability to synthesize information from a wide variety of sources with accuracy. A thorough understanding of how geography has developed as a subject and an ability to communicate this to others. Demonstrates an ability to critically-evaluate existing research and use this to identify a novel and original research gap. An ability to produce a highly-developed research proposal in a suitable style that fully meets the brief provided.

good

B- to B+ Demonstrates a good understanding of key concepts and theories and is able to explain in some detail their relevance to the development of geography. A well-developed awareness of how geography has developed as a subject and an ability to communicate this clearly to others. Demonstrates engagement with the relevant literature with accurate referencing skills and is able to identify areas for further research. Demonstrates an ability to produce a research proposal that addresses a majority of the requirements but one that could be improved in terms of style and/or content.

threshold

C- to C+ Demonstrates an understanding of key concepts and theories and is able to explain their relevance to the development of geography. An awareness of how geography has developed as a subject and an ability to communicate this clearly to others. Demonstrates some limited engagement with the relevant literature and is able to identify areas for further research. An ability to produce a research proposal that meets most of the requirements, but one that could be improved in terms of style and/or content.

Learning outcomes

  1. An ability to critically apply knowledge of key geographical concepts to the study of a range of fields within the discipline.

  2. An ability to critically evaluate and synthesize existing research.

  3. An ability to identify avenues for further research and produce a research proposal.

  4. An ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Seminar paper 1 10
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Seminar paper 2 10
COURSEWORK Annotated Bibliography 30
COURSEWORK Research Proposal 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Private and guided self-study including preparing for assessments.

168
Seminar

3 * 1 hour and 2 * 3 hour seminars

9
Workshop

1 * 2 hour workshop

2
Lecture

10 * 2 hour and 1 * 1 hour lectures

21

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.

Resources

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: