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Module DXX-3709:
Using Georgraphic Data

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Simon Willcock

Overall aims and purpose

The purpose of this module is for students to undertake and present a piece of desk-based research into a topic of their choice within the subject of geography. The research will include the collation and analysis of secondary data-sets and will form part of students’ research training ahead of carrying out their M-level dissertation. Students will be required to identify a research question and contextualize this through the production of a literature review. Secondary datasets will need to be analysed using appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative methods.

Course content

The nature of students’ activities will vary given the differing topics that will be investigated. However, introductory lectures will focus upon identification of research questions, literature reviews and sourcing and analysis of secondary data. Students will attend seminars in which they will discuss progress made on their project and receive formative feedback from staff and their peers. Drop-in sessions will provide students the opportunity to seek guidance on their project. Students will be required to make a presentation of their research findings (summatively assessed) prior to the submission of a final written project.

Assessment Criteria


Grade C- to B+ Presentation covers all the main points of the brief but omits some minor details. Slides are clear, the talk is audible, and there is a good attempt to engage with the audience. Most of the questions asked by the audience are answered satisfactorily. The written report follows required format and contains required content. A review of the literature is present, which shows evidence critical evaluation that contextualizes and rationalizes a stated research question. Well-structured and executed data analysis and appropriate interpretation, which draws extensively on the literature.


Grade D- to D+ Presentation covers several of the main points of the brief but omits some important details. Slides are readable and the talk is audible, but there is little engagement with the audience. Some, but not all, of the questions asked by the audience are answered satisfactorily. The written report follows required format and contains required content. A review of the literature is present that contextualizes a stated research question. Adequate data analysis and appropriate interpretation.


Grade A- to A** Presentation covers all the main points of the brief in as much detail as time allows. Slides are of a high professional standard, the talk is audible, and there is excellent engagement with the audience. All of the questions asked by the audience are answered in detail. The written report is produced to an excellent standard and demonstrated clear evidence of critical thinking throughout. Error-free and discerning data analysis, professional-standard visuals and an extensive use of the literature.

Learning outcomes

  1. Identify and contextualize a research question within the subject of geography.

  2. Plan, conduct and report an investigation and draw valid conclusions.

  3. Identify and apply appropriate analytical methods for the analysis of secondary datasets.

  4. Present the findings of their investigation clearly and concisely using both oral and written means.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Research Question Rationale 10
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Data analysis and main findings 15
ESSAY Final essay submission 75

Teaching and Learning Strategy


1:1 meetings with students discussing progress and queries

Individual Project

Individual project time


Group seminar with students shared queries


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • 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.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

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.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.
  • Apply appropriate techniques for presenting spatial and/or temporal trends in data.
  • Preparation of effective maps, diagrams and visualizations.
  • Understand the provisional nature of information and appreciate competing and alternative explanations.


Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: