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Study information

Study Skills for Human Geographers

Module titleStudy Skills for Human Geographers
Module codeGEO1309
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Jennifer Lea (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This foundation module is an essential toolkit for your undergraduate degree. It will raise your awareness of your role within the learning process, ease your transition to University-level study and independent learning, and provide a range of specialist and generic skills. Weekly independent learning activities provide the foundation for a series of small group tutorials and workshops that will allow you to learn key study and geographical research skills, through peer-to-peer discussion sessions, and group work. The study skills you learn will complement the approaches and ideas used in parallel first year modules (particularly GEO1316 Concepts in Geography and GEO1313Learning Through Place) as well as lay the foundations for successful study throughout your entire degree, and the research skills you will learn will underpin your development as an independent geographical researcher. Tutorials are also a place for on-going discussions about other modules and other academic affairs. 


This is a compulsory and non-condonable module for the BA Geography programmes


Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims: 


  • To provide you with an essential tool kit of study and learning skills required for your undergraduate degree. 

  • To raise awareness of the role that you play in the learning process 

  • To facilitate your development as an independent learner. 

  • To introduce you to a range of specialist geographical research skills.  


Through active participation in the module, the aim is that you will further develop the following academic and professional skills:  


  • working independently (developing your skills in self-awareness and self-assessment, taking initiative, evaluating what information or support you need and where best to find it) 

  • time management (managing time effectively individually and in a group) 

  • managing structure (identifying key demands of the task, setting clearly defined goals,?conceptualising central issues within the task, developing strategies to ensure individual progress) 

  • collaboration (respecting the views and values of others, taking initiative and leading others, supporting others in their work, maintaining group cohesiveness and purpose) 

  • problem solving (developing own ideas with confidence, identifying and using appropriate sources of information, selectively collecting and collating appropriate information) 

  • the application of critical geographical analytical skills including qualitative, quantitative and data visualisation.  

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Develop key study and research skills in human geography
  • 2. Demonstrate key study and research skills in human geography

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Analyse and synthesise information and recognise relevance
  • 4. Develop a sustained and reasoned argument and evaluate and articulate weaknesses in the arguments of others
  • 5. Use knowledge derived from research journals, text and other media to support arguments and to reference sources appropriately

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Communicate ideas effectively and fluently by written, oral and/or visual means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience (e.g. via essays, in class or online presentations or short reports)
  • 7. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
  • 8. Work as a participant and leader of a group and contribute effectively to the achievement of objectives

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics: 


  • Introduction to University learning 

  • Avoiding plagiarism and assessment 

  • Reviewing literature 

  • Library use and how to build effective library research skills 

  • Academic writing 

  • Revision skills 

  • Employability 

  • Critical reading, questioning sources  

  • Critical thinking and building arguments 

  • Presentations 

  • Review and priorities 

  • Qualitative methods 

  • Quantitative methods 

  • GIS 

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Group tutorials
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Workshops
Guided Independent Study46Researching and writing formative and summative assessments
Guided Independent Study90Completing weekly independent learning

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 11500 words1-7,Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 2602000 words1-7Written
Group presentation (in-class or online)4010 minutesAllWritten
Online plagiarism test (this assessment must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module; there is no limit to the number of times you can take the test)030 minutes1Online embedded

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay 2Essay 21-7Referral/Deferral period
Group presentationPresentation slides and text individual presentationAllReferral/Deferral period
Online plagiarism testOnline plagiarism testAllOngoing until passed

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to re-submit the relevant assessment. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative basic reading list:

• Bonnett, A. (2001) How to Argue. A Student’s Guide. Harlow: Prentice Hall
• Clark, G. and Wareham, T. (2003) Geography@University. London: Sage
• Cottrell, S. (2017) Critical thinking skills: effective analysis, argument and reflection. London: Palgrave
• Cottrell, S. (2019) The study skills handbook. London: Red Globe Press
• Dixon, T. M. (2004) How to Get a First: The Essential Guide to Academic Success, London: Routledge
• Kneale, P. (2011) Study Skills for Geography, Earth and Environmental Science Students. London: Hodder Education
• Kneale, P. (1999) Study Skills for Geography Students: a practical guide. London: Arnold
• Moon, J. (1999) Learning Journals: A Handbook for Academics, Students and Professional Development, London: Kogan Page


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Human geography, study skills, group work, essay writing, reflective learning

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date