The defining characteristic of geographical research is the way it generates new knowledge about biophysical and human environments by the novel integration of conceptual ideas and methodological practices. This tradition allows geographers to innovatively address key global problems, including the quest for greater sustainability, the need for social and environmental justice, the dilemmas of climate change, and the promise and contradictions of a globalised world. In this unit of study you will develop an understanding of how this 'geographical way of thinking' shapes how professional geographers go about their research, their professional practice, and how this shapes their imprint on global knowledge creation. In the first section of this unit, you will engage in active debate with teaching staff and fellow students about the key pillars of geographical knowledge, and how they are employed in real-life settings. In the second section of the unit, students will divide into groups based around their research interests, with each group developing deeper practical skills relating to a specific methodology (for example GIS applications; qualitative methods; geochemical analysis, etc). Upon completing this unit, you will have the background context and deeper technical skills relevant for a geographical research project.
lecture/seminar for 9 hours over 3 weeks, 2-day retreat, 10 hours practical/lab/GIS classes
major essay (4, 000 words; 40%), group presentation (15%), poster (15%), methodology report (1, 500 words; 30%)
Have an understanding of the subfields of geography within its context as an academic discipline and be aware of the contested and situated nature of geographical research, including the co-constitutive nature of social and biophysical phenomena.