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    Field research methods, analytical techniques and report writing.

    GEOG380 provides you with the opportunity to apply your geographical knowledge and skills in the real world through applied research. You will work in a small team to undertake a research project in a community setting somewhere in the lower South Island/ Te Wai Pounamu during a field school. You will draw on key geographical concepts to develop your research skills, your team work skills, your analytical skills, and your communication skills all while working closely with staff and student colleagues.

    About this paper

    Paper title Field Research Studies
    Subject Geography
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Full Year (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    GEOG 280
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Science
    Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission. View more information about departmental permission.

    Teaching staff

    GEOG 380 Co-ordinator: To be confirmed

    Paper Structure

    The paper is structured around a group research project on a geographical topic, undertaken through S1 and S2. The project involves exploring relevant literature, designing the project, collecting data usually through a range of methods in a community during a residential fieldschool, analysing the data and then presenting your findings orally and in writing. There are a mix of group and individual assessment tasks and terms requirements that are designed to keep you on track in your research. The research project culminates in an individual research report worth 45% of your grade and is due in September.

    Teaching Arrangements

    The paper is based on an active and experiential learning and teaching approach.  Students work in small groups to develop and undertake a research project with a staff member supervising.  There will be one formal timetabled class per week, that is based on active discussion and some traditional lecturing. In addition, groups are expected to meet once a week with their supervisor and once with their group independently.  

    The research is usually undertaken at a residential field school held in a different small town in the Otago/Southland region for one week in May. The field school (or any substitute arrangement made for public health reasons) is compulsory.


    A textbook is not required for the paper, but it is highly recommended to look at:

    • Cooper, P. 2015: A student's intro to geographic thought. Theories, Philosophies, Methodologies. London: Sage
    • Hay, I. (ed.), 2016: Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography. Melbourne: Oxford University Press

    The books are available through the Library.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    - Identify a research problem and develop an appropriate research design to address that problem, bearing in mind resource constraints;

    - Select, implement and evaluate appropriate methods of data collection and analysis;

    - Successfully collaborate with members of a small group to project manage and undertake a research project;

    - Recognize and attain professional standards in writing a report and verbal presentation;

    - Adopt high ethical standards in undertaking field based research;

    - Recognise and implement appropriate health and safety procedures.


    Full Year

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 08:00-20:50 18
    Tuesday 08:00-20:50 18
    Wednesday 08:00-20:50 18
    Thursday 08:00-20:50 18
    Friday 08:00-20:50 18


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 13:00-14:50 29-32
    Monday 15:00-16:50 9-13, 15-17, 19-22
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