Skip to main content

Study information

Doing Human Geography Research

Module titleDoing Human Geography Research
Module codeGEO2465
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Lizzie Hobson (Convenor)

Dr Matt Finn (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module provides you with an opportunity to gain an advanced understanding of how to design and do high-quality research in human geography. The module is designed to prepare you for undertaking research within and beyond the university context; especially dissertation research, and seeks to equip you with key employability attributes for professional careers. The module will be taught using a variety of formats and is one of the compulsory modules you study as part of a BA Geography degree, as well as being a required module for Flexible Combined Honours students wishing to undertake a residential human geography field course in the final year and / or a dissertation. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

In this module you will:


  • Develop a critically engaged understanding of how human geographers design and implement research projects;
  • Gain practical experience of designing and doing human geography research and through this learn about the geographies of consumption;
  • Work through a process to explore, develop and articulate ideas for dissertation research.


The module has the following objectives:


  • To consider the research process and the ethical implications of different research practices;
  • To understand key research design approaches and issues, drawing on different traditions in the social sciences;
  • To analyse research data and consider how research can be communicated to different audiences;
  • To evaluate different forms of research design and their likely impacts and outcomes;
  • To lead you through a process by which you explore and articulate your ideas for dissertation research.


The module develops a range of skills of value in employment particularly around understanding and taking part in the process of creating, developing and communicating ideas and taking initiative to translate these into programmes of ethical and rigorous action through project management approaches. It allows you to extend your knowledge of an area of interest in an enquiry-led approach and to develop a dissertation topic and, where relevant, results in networking for research which can also be used to aid future employment opportunities. The module encourages the development of creative and imaginative problem-solving skills and specific parts of the course focus on employability in relation to research skills and the dissertation.


The module is informed by research expertise both in and beyond Geography at Exeter and literature on designing effective research in Human Geography. It is also informed by pedagogic research on effective approaches to support students in developing dissertation plans.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Engage with various approaches to producing and interpreting knowledge about the geographies of consumption
  • 2. Develop a working understanding of research design and its associated practical issues and challenges in human geography

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Identify/formulate and evaluate questions or problems
  • 4. Make informed choices between a number of approaches and issues involved in collecting, analysing and presenting geographical information, whether qualitative or quantitative
  • 5. Evaluate the issues involved in research design and its application in the context of human geography
  • 6. Show consideration of relevant ethical issues

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Use ICT effectively and appropriately to analyse and present geographical information
  • 8. Effectively and appropriately interpret and evaluate different forms of research design and practice

Syllabus plan

The module has three parts


Part 1: Fundamentals of Research Design

Part 2: Doing Human Geography Research

Part 3: Developing Dissertation Research Plans


The module is taught mainly through online ELE resources which support on campus or online workshops and tutorials with a significant component of research conducted as research teams and supported by module tutors who act as project advisors.


The syllabus plan is indicative of the kinds of issues we will explore in the module:


  • Principles of research design
  • Approaches to research design
  • Introducing the geographies of consumption
  • Formulating ideas for research projects
  • Forming research questions and reviewing literature
  • Ethical practice in research
  • Methods and methodologies
  • Practical considerations in research design
  • Issues of rigour, validity and generalisability
  • The process of analysing and writing-up
  • Preparing for a longer projects i.e. a dissertation

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 Teaching activities10Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities20Workshops including drop-in advice and research team working time
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities10Group tutorial meetings with module/dissertation tutor
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities10Research team meetings (not supervised by staff)
Guided Independent Study249Research team meetings and group work, background reading and coursework preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation proposalUp to 2000 words using template2-4, 6Verbal

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
Research report603000 words 1-8Written
Essay402000 words1-8Written
Ethics form (non-submission of a completed form by the designated date results in process to assess whether an individual’s research report mark should be reduced – including to zero - if appropriate ethical practice and reflection is not in evidence).0Template provided6None. Submission of a completed form is a requirement of the ethics process set out for this module.

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research reportResearch report (3000 words, 60%)1-8August Ref/Def period
EssayEssay (2000 words, 40%)1-8August Ref/Def period

Re-assessment notes

RE-ASSESSMENT NOTES  – 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 submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


The following represents an indicative list of basic reading to accompany key components of this module. Guidance on additional reading will be provided alongside sessions during the module.



Web-based and electronic resources:


  • ELE page 

Key words search

Geography, consumption, human geography, research design

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date