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Unit information: Study and Field Skills for Physical Geographers (Bristol) in 2020/21

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Unit name Study and Field Skills for Physical Geographers (Bristol)
Unit code GEOG20017
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Ros Death
Open unit status Not open

GEOG10002 Geographical History, Thought and Practices, GEOG10003 Key Concepts in Human and Physical Geography, and GEOG10004 Introduction to Quantitative Geography


GEOG20011 Research Methods in Physical Geography

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This field-based unit builds on the field and laboratory-based training the students will have received in GEOG20011 and help prepare them to design, undertake and write up an effective physical geography dissertation project in their final year.

The aims of the unit are to:

  • Develop students’ skills in physical geography research
  • Provide an opportunity to undertake a range of research methods for collecting samples and analyses in the field
  • Synthesise and analyse diverse environmental datasets from both primary and secondary sources
  • Write up, illustrate and interpret results in an integrated manner and with reference to appropriate literature

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will:

1. Have had an opportunity to put their learning and technical experience into practice in a field setting;
2. Be able to plan and undertake independent field and research work;
3. Be able to present the results of such studies in written form and illustrate them appropriately.

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

• Written communication
• Team work
• Numeracy
• Computer literacy
• Problem solving
• Analytical skills
• Graphics

Teaching details

Briefing lecture (1 hour), non-residential field work (including briefings in the field), lab/field work (36 hours), drop-in session (3 hours)

Assessment Details

Percentage of the unit that is coursework: 100%

Fieldwork report summarised in poster format (100%).

Reading and References

Essential Reading

  1. Farrant, A.R., Moody, A.A.D., and Mullan, G.J., 2009. Speleogenesis and landscape development in the Burrington area, Somerset. UBSS Proceedings, 24(3), 207-252
  2. Davies, B E and Ballinger, R C (1990) Heavy metals in soils in north Somerset, England, with special reference to contamination from base metal mining in the Mendips, Environmental Geochemistry and Health volume 12, 291–300