Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module GEOG56115: Perspectives on Research in Environmental Science

Department: Geography

GEOG56115: Perspectives on Research in Environmental Science

Type Tied Level 5 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.
Tied to L7K514 May only be taken as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Environmental Research Methods (L7K514) by students who are part of the IAPETUS2 NERC DTP


  • None


  • GEOG56215, GEOG56315, GEOG56415

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • N/A


  • To provide general training in research methods applicable to environmental research
  • To provide specific training on how to carry out a specific research project


  • Conceptual approaches to developing environmental research methods including philosophy of science and interdisciplinary approaches
  • Practical instruction on how to develop a research methodology
  • Developing the practical skills (field, laboratory and/or computational) to be able to carry out a specific research project

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A critical understanding of key concepts and approaches in environmental research methods, and a practical understanding of different contexts in which to apply them.
  • Ability to understand and apply a set of key methods and tools to a specific subject area within Environmental Science.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Using innovative and critical approaches to demonstrate an ability to analyze and synthesize approaches to environmental science and its underlying data.
  • Designing a research programme and demonstrating its feasibility both in terms of approaches used and practicalities of resources.
Key Skills:
  • An understanding of different approaches used to address environmental research questions in general
  • An ability to carry out specific research methods

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

  • Lectures to present technical and scholarly information, as well as the research contexts for this information
  • Seminars and workshops to develop general conceptual approaches, developed further by lectures in some parts of the course
  • Workshops to develop specific skills
  • Reading and self-paced learning to reinforce the above
  • Contact hours in the table below are indicative and will be based on a student’s individual needs as they progress, as identified by their Training Needs Analysis.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 1 hour 10
Seminars 10 3.5 hours 35
Workshops 10 3 hours 30
Reading and self-paced learning 75
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Portfolio Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Reflexive portfolio providing an evaluation of how the learning outcomes have been met. Because of the range of potential learning outcomes, the portfolio may be made up of a range of different materials, including, but not limited to, reflexive essays, copies of presentations (and evaluation of the experience of presenting), reflexive diaries, project reports and links to other materials online, including audio-visual. 2,500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Verbal and/or written feedback from (a) supervisory team; (b) director at PhD Host Organization; (c) Academic Director of IAPETUS2 using the TNA process for self-reflection via Pebblepad, and by workshops biannually at DTP events. All students will be given the opportunity for 1:1 feedback via tutorials at these events or via duo.

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