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GEOG280 Research Methodology in Human Geography

Semester One, 18 points

Lectures: Monday & Tuesday: 2pm – 2.50pm
Workshop: Wednesday: 10am – 11:50am
Seminar: Tuesday 28th May – 6pm – 9.50pm

Course Coordinator: Dr Christina Ergler –  

2013 students on GEOG280 field camp with lecturer Professor Tony Binns_image by Adrian NelEach year, the course focuses on one key concept in human geography. Examples include identity, place, power, scale, sustainability and mobilities. Drawing from the University community and the local Dunedin context, students will work in groups to develop a research project that explores key issues in relation to that concept. Students of GEOG280 then undertake that research and communicate their results through an academic poster and a formal presentation. For example, in 2015, students explored what place means to Otago students. Groups of 5-6 GEOG280 students each conducted research projects that identified the variety of stories (past, present and future) that make up place for particular communities on and around campus. 2013 students on GEOG280 field camp with lecturer Professor Etienne Nel_image by Adrian NelEach group focused on one community, including residents of Hyde Street and Castle Street, Halls of residence, international students, Dunedin students, postgraduate students, students in named flats etc. Questions asked include:

  • How do identifications of place differ among and within groups?
  • What is the difference between the lived experiences of place and dominant representations of place in the media and elsewhere?
  • What is the effect of these dominant stories of place?

Each year the focus of inquiry will differ framed by the core geographical concept chosen.

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An introduction to methodology and field research as practised in human geography.

Research is vital to the discipline of geography. It forms the basis of geographical knowledge. This 18-point paper introduces you to a range of research methods commonly used in geography. The paper is very hands-on and will involve small groups of students working with members of our community in the University of Otago vicinity. The paper will equip you with a wide range of skills, which will be valuable both whilst you are at the University and also afterwards in your life and work. These are crucial transferable skills that will enable you to gain a first-hand experience of working in and with communities, doing research and communicating your findings.

Paper title Research Methodology in Human Geography
Paper code GEOG280
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,110.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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GEOG 101 and GEOG 102
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
May not be credited together with SOCI201 passed before 2005.
Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission. View more information about departmental permission.
Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Christina Ergler

Paper Structure

The paper runs in two parallel parts. A lecture series will provide the skills in research design, methods, analysis and communicating results. The workshop series runs alongside the lectures to allow you to put lecture learning to work in relation to group research projects.

The course is 100% internally assessed.

Teaching Arrangements

Two lectures per week and one 2-hour workshop per week (no timetable clash for lectures or workshops will be approved).

Independent group meetings - as scheduled.

There are two half-day field trips early in the semester to allow you to explore the key concepts in relation to specific places.

Textbooks are not required for this paper. Readings will be selected and prescribed from a range of journals, texts and edited collections. These will be made available through eReserve on Blackboard.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to

  1. Apply key geographical concepts, literatures and methodologies to real-world problems in order to draw insightful and meaningful conclusions that contribute to addressing those problems
  2. Design an appropriate research project to address a specified problem
  3. Communicate research findings both orally and through a written report
  4. Understand research ethics and issues that can arise between researcher and research participants in human geography research
  5. Understand the key principles of social science research

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 12:00-17:50 11


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 14:00-14:50 9-15, 18-22
Tuesday 14:00-14:50 9-15, 17-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 18:00-21:50 22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 9-15, 17-22