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GEOG290 Field Research Methods (Science)

Full Year, 18 points

Lectures: Monday 1pm – 1.50pm
Labs: one 2 hour laboratory per week
Field School: Pounawea, The Catlins: Monday 12 April – Friday 16 April
Test: Monday 27 September


GEOG290 is a team-taught course that is comprised of a weekly one hour lecture, laboratory-based exercises and field-based exercises. The weekly lectures provide the relevant overview to the weekly laboratory sessions, as well as critical information about the field school and assessment requirements for the course. The laboratory sessions focus on developing statistical and analytical techniques for geographical based problems. The practical programme is designed as a skill- oriented inquiry course, where in class activities are focused towards the student working through the exercises at their own pace, or in collaboration with their classmates. The expectation is that students are responsible for their own learning and the completion of tasks. The field based component is a field school that provides a guided and open discovery form of inquiry and provides a unique learning experience.

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An introduction to field research in geography.

Field Research Methods provides students majoring in a BSc - Geography or BAppSc - Environmental Management, the opportunity to learn and practise skills for collecting, analysing and interpreting geographic data. GEOG 290 will provide examples of how the specific knowledge, skills, techniques and values are relevant to the geographic discipline. This content will then be supported by your laboratory session, where you will work through a real case study and apply the critical and interpretative skills necessary to interpret geographical data sets.

An introduction to the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a core component of this paper and hands-on experience using GIS software to solve geographic problems features in the second half of the paper.

A week long residential field school is the highlight of Field Research Methods. All students travel to a South Island location to work on a series of projects offering hands-on experience in designing sampling regimes, collecting field data, using field instruments and techniques and working as a team with fellow class members and departmental staff. The skills, values and knowledge from GEOG 290 will contribute significantly to your portfolio of graduate skills and knowledge that you will use in your chosen career.

Paper title Field Research Methods (Science)
Paper code GEOG290
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Full Year (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

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GEOG 101 and GEOG 102
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission. View more information about departmental permission.
Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr. Daniel Kingston
Teaching Fellow: Ben Varkalis

Paper Structure

GEOG290 is a team-taught course that is comprised of a weekly lecture, laboratory based exercises and field-based exercises.

Assessment is 100% internally assessed

Teaching Arrangements

1 lecture and one 2 hour practical per week

5-day residential field camp to the Caitlin’s, Monday 12 April – Friday 16 April.


Highly Recommended text:
Rogerson, P.A. (2020) Statistical Methods for Geography - A Student's Guide. 5th Edition. Sage Publications, London.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the paper you should:
  • Understand the broad framework of the scientific method and designing sampling regimes
  • Articulate testable hypotheses and apply appropriate analytical techniques
  • Develop proficiency in data interpretation from statistical analysis
  • Develop skills working in a team toward collecting field-based data
  • Competence with a range of field-based geographical techniques and instruments

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system

Computer Lab

Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 10-13, 16, 18-22
A2 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 10-13, 16, 18-22
A3 Thursday 14:00-15:50 10-13, 16, 18-22
A4 Friday 14:00-15:50 10-13, 16, 18-22
AND one stream from
B1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 28-34, 36-37
B2 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 28-34, 36-37
B3 Thursday 14:00-15:50 28-34, 36-37
B4 Friday 14:00-15:50 28-34, 36-37


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 09:00-16:50 15
Tuesday 09:00-16:50 15
Wednesday 09:00-16:50 15
Thursday 09:00-16:50 15
Friday 09:00-16:50 15


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 13:00-13:50 9-13, 16, 18-22
Tuesday 13:00-13:50 9
M1 Monday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-38