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Study information

Research Methods and Design in Human Geography

Module titleResearch Methods and Design in Human Geography
Module codeGEOM105A
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Alicia Hazuki Lazzarini (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module is taught in the second term to enable you to build on and apply concepts learnt in Term 1 methods modules to human geography research practice. The module will provide training specifically in the development of research ideas, the formulation of a research plan and the design of an appropriate method.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims:

  • To train you in the application of a variety of appropriate social science methodologies and approaches for the undertaking of human geography research.
  • To facilitate your understanding of the inter-relationships between human geography theory and knowledge and research design.
  • To provide you with an active and supportive research environment which will allow you to develop your potential to formulate ideas and design research to make a contribution to your discipline. 

The practical knowledge and skills acquired by taking this module are relevant to many areas of employment and future study. The training in research methods and approaches will equip you for a variety of academic, public and other research-related professions. You will learn skills of research design, how geographers have used various methods, and will demonstrate critical thinking about such methods which are key to careers in social scientific research, public sector research and other research-related professions.

The module is taught by staff who will explore these issues in relation to their own research practice, covering significant and timely issues such as research impact and the research/policy interface. You will be encouraged to think about how a wide range of different research methods and issues might relate to, and reshape, your own dissertation research ideas.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Describe in detail the principles of research design in human geography
  • 2. Discuss the implications of methodological issues and debates to research design in human geography
  • 3. Identify and formulate competently research questions in research in human geography
  • 4. Use research tools and methods in human geography
  • 5. Apply general skills of research design to particular issues in human geographical research

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. Assimilate and understand appropriate theoretical material
  • 7. Critically evaluate issues and questions
  • 8. Present and synthesise arguments orally and in written form

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 9. Relate material appropriately to an intended audience
  • 10. Assess your own strengths and weaknesses

Syllabus plan

(Indicative syllabus plan – specific content may vary from year to year)

  • Introducing Research Design
  • Theory and research
  • Applying research methods
  • Digital Skills for Research
  • Research ethics
  • Impact and Research for Policy
  • Developing a Dissertation Plan
  • Writing a Research Proposal

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 Teaching20Lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Seminar presentation
Guided Independent Study128Reading and coursework preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar presentation10-15 minutes1-10Oral

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 Issue essay502000 words1-10Written
Research proposal502500 words1-10Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research Issue essayResearch Issue essay1-10Referral/deferral period
Research proposalResearch proposal1-10Referral/deferral period

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 50%) you will be required to resubmit the original assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Ash, J. Kitchin, R. and Leszczynki, A. (2018). Digital Geographies. Sage
  • Bouma, G. (1993) The Research Process OUP.
  • Butlin, R. (1993) Historical Geography: Through the Gates of Time and Space London: Arnold.
  • Crang, M. and I. Cook 2007 Doing Ethnographies London, Sage.
  • Flick, U. 2006 An Introduction to Qualitative Research, London,  Sage 
  • Flowerdew, R. and Martin, D. (eds) (1997). Research Methods in Human Geography. Harlow: LongmanGerring, J. 2001.  Social Science Methodology: A Criterial Framework. New York, Cambridge University Press. 
  • Hedrick, T., Bickman, L. and Ray, D. (1993) Applied Research Design London: Sage.
  • Iser, W 2006 How to Do Theory, Blackwell.
  • Kitchen, R. and Tate, N. (2000) Conducting Research in Human Geography: Theory Methodology and Practice Longman.
  • Livingstone, D. 2004 Putting Science in its Place: Geographies of Scientific Knowledge, Chicago University Press.
  • Neumann, W.L. 2006  Social Research Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, Boston, Pearson.
  • Pryke, M., Rose, G. and Whatmore, S. 2003 Using Social Theory, Sage.
  • Silverman, D. (1997) Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice. London: Sage

Key words search

Data collection, presentation, communication, methods, ethics, research design, human geography

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date