Research and Professional Skills in Geography and Environmental Science

Module summary

Module code: GEOG1024
Level: 5
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Peter Burt



• To develop the skills required by students in their final year dissertations and in employment both generally and specifically within the environmental industries
• To provide a thorough grounding in the design, use and implementation of techniques for collecting, analysing and interpreting data from field surveys or laboratory studies by reviewing current research methodologies and approaches in social, environmental and geographical fields
• To enhance student employability by requiring them to develop their professionalism by completing a Personal Development Portfolio, producing a CV, attending an employability workshop and conference.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course successfully you will be able to:

1 Understand different research traditions;
2 Carry out a range of data collection approaches in the physical science traditions;
3 Understand the importance of statistics and be able to utilise statistical analysis techniques
4 Demonstrate reflection on the development of their skills through the PDP, completion of the CV and attendance at the employability events.

Indicative content

Natural science research traditions. The nature of research, survey methods, questionnaire design and implementation, the hermeneutical tradition, analysis of texts, image analysis, interviewing, physical science techniques including mapping techniques, logging sections, quantification of physical attributes (e.g. particle size, particle shape etc.). Data analysis and advanced parametric and non-parametric tests.

Employability: Future ambitions and Unique Selling Points. The importance of the personal development profile is reinforced prior to a session that reminds students of the importance of placements and which encourages them to apply before the end of the first term. The roles and characteristics of assessment centres are outlined and students are then introduced to key interview techniques. Mock interviews/mock interview role-plays are included – with students acting as members of interview panels and as interviewees. Systematic job search and profiling are covered as part of session on career options, including the importance of national and international job market awareness and the need for networking; leadership models are introduced, including those of the autocratic, servant and democratic leadership types.

Teaching and learning activity

The nature of the course means that a variety of teaching and learning strategies will be used. Theories and concepts will be introduced through formal lectures. These will be supported by strong practical and case study elements where the emphasis will be on student centred learning. As such, the level 5 residential field course is strongly linked to this course. The experience of collecting and using data collected in the field will be important experience prior to the final year dissertation.


Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Statistics Exercise
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment:1,2,3
Grading Mode: Numeric.
Weighting % 60%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length:1,200 words
Outline Details: Statistics Exercise: - Focus on interpretation and writing from results.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Employability tasks
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment: 4.
Grading Mode: Numeric.
Weighting % 40%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length:n/a
Outline Details: PDP, CV, attendance at employability workshop and conference.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
In-class discussions and worked examples, prior field activities, PDP workshops and seminars