Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap None.
Tied to L7K407


  • This proforma describes the content and assessment taken by MA in Risk students.


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module will provide advanced training in the use of geographic skills and techniques with the aim of developing a range of transferable skills relevant to professional and personal development. The emphasis will be on; (a) enhancing students’ existing quantitative and qualitative research skills (b) exploring issues involved in the design and conduct of different types of research project.


  • Principles of good research design and practice, including issues of rigour, creativity and validity
  • Understanding how to formulate researchable problems and an appreciation of alternative approaches to research
  • Reflection on the role of the researcher in the context of different approaches to knowledge production
  • The ethics and politics of doing Human Geographical research in the context of contemporary debates about research and its uses
  • Managing information, making sense of data, and styles of analysis, explanation, understanding and description in social research
  • Select advanced qualitative and quantitative research techniques in Human Geography that will (a) enhance existing knowledge of techniques such as interviews or questionnaires so as to ensure the ability to use essential techniques and (b) explore novel techniques at the forefront of current methodological development in human geography and the social sciences

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have developed their knowledge of key areas of debate around the production and use of different forms of geographic data, including around the effective co-production of knowledge
  • Students will have been exposed to a breadth of approaches, tools and techniques and acquired critical knowledge of a number of selected quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and techniques
  • Students will have developed an understanding of the range of issues involved in the conduct and use of geographical research
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The enhancement of practical skills needed for the design and planning of the research process and the management and use of data and information, including issues around ethics, legality and confidentiality
  • Students will have developed practical skills in the use of select quantitative and qualitative methodologies as appropriate to their developing research and professional interests
  • Students will have developed skills of data analysis
  • Students will be fully aware of what good practice is in human geography regarding the conduct of research
Key Skills:
  • Written communication skills
  • Ability to synthesize complex information
  • Ability to plan to manage qualitative and quantitative data

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

  • The module is delivered through eight pairs of 1 hour lecture and corresponding 1 hour practical in term 1.
  • Lectures introduce students to a range of key debates, questions and methods relevant to the use of geographical skills and techniques in human geography
  • The companion practicals are designed to help students reflect further on the lecture and put into practice a range of practical skills and methodological techniques
  • The Essay will evidence knowledge of key debates concerned with particular forms of data and a critical knowledge of selected techniques and methodologies, and the conduct of research
  • Summative Assessment: A 3000 word essay (100%) that critically assesses academic literatures on a chosen method for geographical research and reflects on your own methodological practice in your planned research.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 paired to practicals 1 hour 8
Practicals 8 paired to practicals 1 hour 8
Preparation and reading 134
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Verbal feedback on ideas for the summative will be ongoing throughout the course and delivered during workshops and/or individually. Feedback will be focused on the chosen method (and associated literatures) and how to integrate the student’s research experiences into the assignment.

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