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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

No such Code for prog: LMV1
No such Code for prog: LMV2
No such Code for prog: X4F8

Department: Geography


Type Tied Level 1 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap 130 Location Durham
Tied to F800 Geography
Tied to F803 Geography with Year Abroad
Tied to CFG0 Natural Sciences
Tied to FGC0 Natural Sciences
Tied to CFG1 Natural Sciences with Year Abroad
Tied to CFG2 Natural Sciences with Placement
Tied to LA01 Liberal Arts
Tied to LA02 Liberal Arts (with Year Abroad)
Tied to LA03 Liberal Arts (with Placement Year)
Tied to LMV0 Combined Honours in Social Sciences
Tied to LMV1
Tied to LMV2
Tied to LMVA Combined Honours in Social Sciences (with Year Abroad)
Tied to LMVP Combined Honours in Social Sciences (with Placement Year)
Tied to X1F8 Education Studies - Geography
Tied to X2F8 Education Studies - Geography (with Year Abroad)
Tied to X3F8 Education Studies - Geography (with Placement Year)
Tied to X4F8


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to a variety of methods for research and analysis in physical geography
  • To introduce students to research in a variety of geographical environments
  • To enable students to select appropriate methods to study diverse geographical issues
  • To develop students' geographical skills of numeracy, data management, manipulation, analysis, display, interpretation and explanation


  • This module is designed to give students a broad introduction to research in Geography in Term 1. Lectures will focus on the philosophical and practical issues involved in different research approaches for a range of geographical environments. Students will learn how to approach a topic and formulate research questions, and will be offered a broad introduction to qualitative and quantitative research. In the practicals, students will practice this knowledge as applied to particular research techniques.
  • In Term 2, the module focuses more specifically on a range of current methods in physical geography, offering students more in-depth skills acquisition and field and practical learning. Students will undertake residential fieldwork between Term 1 and Term 2 (during the vacation), where they will practise a variety of field methods on a range of field research topics in fluvial, coastal and hillslope environments. The fieldwork is then the focus of a series of practical workshops and tutorials in Term 2, which provide support for the analysis and write up of the field data. In the event that a residential field trip cannot take place, it will be replaced by similar content delivered by field-trip leaders as separate components. These components will feed into the same set of workshops and practicals (as above). The module thereby offers a grounding in physical geography research that prepares students for more advanced technical training and skills development and implementation later in the degree programme
  • Lecture themes (Term 1): Research design, quantitative data analysis, qualitative methodology, GIS, and ethics in geographical research
  • Practicals (Term 1): Research design, use of Excel for data handling and data presentation, GIS, qualitative thinking, an introduction to remote sensing and image processing
  • Fieldwork (between Term 1 and Term 2): The physical environment: 1 week field course (in case of COVID-required replacement, see above)
  • Practicals (Term 2): Field course follow up workshops, Aerial photographs and map skills, field course support tutorials

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • Understand the linkages between research design, information collection, analysis, display and interpretation
  • Demonstrate understanding of basic statistical terminology
  • Demonstrate understanding of appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Demonstrate an understanding and practise aerial image interpretation and mapping
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical and conceptual underpinnings of research
  • Demonstrate an understanding of a range of methods to undertake geographical analysis and research
  • Demonstrate an understanding of sediment types and landform types
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • Formulate basic research questions and proposals in physical geography contexts
  • Design simple research projects using a diversity of approaches and techniques
  • Demonstrate ability to select appropriate software packages to undertake geographical analysis and research
  • Use a range of methods to undertake geographical analysis and research
  • Demonstrate basic competence with methods of observation and analysis of the physical environment
  • Apply basic statistics to geographical data
  • Use key software programmes with a basic level of competence (such as Excel and ArcGIS)
Key Skills:
  • Basic competence in the use of range of software packages
  • Analytical skills
  • Designing questionnaires
  • Ability to describe, analyse, interpret and synthesise data
  • Ability to present findings using oral, written and electronic media
  • Ability to work effectively within a group

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures will provide an introduction and theoretical background to underpin the fieldwork and practical work. These will be supported by additional reading lists, which will enable the student to build on information provided in the lectures.
  • Since learning outcomes are focused on skills and methods, practicals and fieldwork will play an important role in the module by providing active learning environments where the students are encouraged to engage with the subject matter.
  • Formative feedback will allow students to develop skills that will be the focus of summative assessment. This summative work will allow students to demonstrate their ability to describe, analyse, interpret and synthesise data, and present it using oral, written and electronic media
  • Fieldwork will enable the student to gain 'hands on' experience of group work, examining, describing and collecting data using a range of techniques and methods in a range of environments. Virtual and online replacements will be designed to replace these learning experiences as closely as possible.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Term 1 1 hour 10
Lectures (field H&S briefing) 1 Term 1 1 hour 1
Practicals 8 Term 1 1 hour 8
Practicals 8 Term 2 2 hours 16
Tutorials (post-field group work) 2 Term 2 1 hour 2
Fieldwork 1 1 week 40 hours 40
Preparation and Reading 323
Total 400

Summative Assessment

Component: Field Report Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Field Report Max 5 pages A4 100%
Component: Critical evaluation of methods Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Critical evaluation of methods Max 3 pages A4 100%
Component: Online multiple choice assessment Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Online multiple choice assessment 1 week to complete 10 eTest questions 100%

Formative Assessment:

Ongoing feedback on practical tasks. A set of self-paced questions and problems, accompanied with fully developed explanatory solutions that will allow students to work through problems of statistics and GIS as Term 1 progresses.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.