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GEOG470 A Research Topic in Geography

Full Year, 40 points

Coordination: Postgraduate Committee

The purpose of this graduate level course is to provide you with the opportunity to focus on a specific area of study relevant to your degree programme and to study it in detail. The aim of the course is to foster your research skills using documentary and/or electronic sources; to use these sources critically; to produce a coherent account of the topic and to present that account in a professional report. The report accounts for 100% of the final grade.

Each student will be supervised by a member of staff relevant to the proposed area of research (see choosing a potential supervisor).  You will be expected to meet regularly with your supervisor throughout the course where they will advise on the structure, organisation and presentation of your report.

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Paper title A Research Topic in Geography
Paper code GEOG470
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.3333
Points 40 points
Teaching period Full Year (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,696.40
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $11,931.47

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Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission. View more information about departmental permission.
Teaching staff

Supervisor: Each student will be supervised by a member of staff most relevant to the proposed area of research.

For further information please contact

Paper Structure

GEOG 470 has four primary objectives:

  1. To identify a specific topic relevant to your degree programme, and your particular field on interest. The topic might be an applied one (more typically for BAppSc students) or more theoretically based (more typically for PGDipArts/Science students). It is likely to have New Zealand and international relevance and normally this will be reflected in the report.
  2. To identify an aim for your research based on one or more of the following, in discussion with your supervisor
    1. Critical review of a current debate in a particular discipline or sub-discipline
    2. Investigate the current understanding of an issue or problem (with critical analysis) and/or
    3. Current management approaches to an issue or problem and/or
    4. Practical options for dealing with an issue or problem (tools, techniques etc.)
  3. To use secondary sources (research literature, plus other substantive documentary sources such as official reports etc.
  4. To produce a review paper, properly referenced, with relevant supporting material (graphics, tables, etc.)

This paper is 100% internally assessed - (the requirement of GEOG470 is one written assignment of no more than 7500 words worth 100% of the final grade)

Teaching Arrangements

Postgraduate seminars, offered by the School of Geography, are relevant to the research process and are designed with GEOG470 students in mind. Attendance at these seminars is compulsory.


To use secondary sources (research literature, plus other substantive documentary sources such as official reports etc. ) to conduct your research project

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course it is intended that you should be:
  1. Experienced and skilled in the preparation and presentation of a written research report
  2. Experienced and skilled in using published literature to identify, understand and critically evaluate a particular issue or problem.

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system