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Unit information: Introduction to Quantitative Geography in 2018/19

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Unit name Introduction to Quantitative Geography
Unit code GEOG10004
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mr. Thomas
Open unit status Not open



Key Concepts in Human and Physical Geography; Geographical History, Thought and Practices

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


The unit is comprised of two elements. Digital Data & Geography provides an introduction to the use, processing and presentation of spatial data to examine geographical phenomena. Geographical Data Analysis develops skills for empirical enquiry using quantitative methods and software. Both elements provide foundational ability in IT and analytical skills, which are used and developed in subsequent years.

Element 1: Digital Data & Geography - A ten-week element, with a weekly 1 hour lecture and a timetabled practical (also includes an introduction to the School's IT facilities during week 0 - the introductory week). The key topics are: knowing about the sources and nature of geographical data; the use of software packages for displaying, summarizing and mapping geographical data; an introduction to GIS and using numerical data to examine and interpret geographical phenomena.

Element 2: Geographical Data Analysis - This element provides an introduction to the perspectives and methods of geographical data analysis. The key topics covered are: Spatial Analysis; probability theory, inference and hypothesis testing; Models, functions and simple regression.

The aims of this Unit are

  • to introduce students to the distinctive nature of geographical data
  • to introduce techniques, methods and good practice for the collation, analysis and display of geographical data
  • to develop a critical approach to quantitative, empirical enquiry
  • to develop IT skills and to introduce IT facilities available in the School
  • to introduce students to the planning and execution of research-based projects using quantitative research designs

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this Unit students should be able to:

Element 1 covers ILOs 1-3; Element 2 covers ILOs 4-8

  1. Appreciate the diversity of geographical data that is available in digital form.
  2. Collate digital geographical data, summarize and display it in graphical and map form.
  3. To appreciate how geographical data may be used to help analyse socio-economic and policy problems.
  4. Recognise the need for data analytical techniques in terms of description, modelling and inference.
  5. Select appropriate techniques for the task in hand.
  6. Use and interpret computer output from a statistical software package.
  7. Appreciate the distinctive nature of geographical data.
  8. Undertake a geographical research project using analytical skills.

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

  • Written and verbal communication
  • Team working
  • Numeracy
  • Computer literacy
  • Problem solving
  • Analytical skills Planning
  • Project management

Teaching details

Lectures, practicals, group work and reading tasks plus weekly drop-in sessions.

On-line formative assessments.
Written summative assessments.

Assessment Details

Element 1

25% Group project and presentation leading to policy briefing assessment for Key Concepts in Human and Physical Geography. [ILOs 1-3]

Element 2

25% Practical folder documenting GDA project [ILOs 4-8]

50% 2 hour written examination [ILOs 4, 5, 7]

Total for unit 100%.

The award of credit is conditional on achieving a mark of at least 40% in the final examination.

Plus two formative online exams, one in week 6 and one exam in week 13. Feedback for these formative assessments will be in the form of individual reports in addition to an overall report sheet. Attendance at these formative assessments is compulsory and credit for the unit will be withheld for non-attendance.

Reading and References


  • Harris, R. and Jarvis, C. (2011) Statistics for Geography and Environmental Science. Pearson. NB For element 2 and for year 2 Spatial Modelling unit.


  • Clifford, N.J. Valentine, G. (2010) Key Methods in Geography, 2nd edition, SAGE
  • Thomas Dietz, Dietz, Linda Kalof (2009) Introduction to Social Statistics. Wiley-Blackwell
  • Erickson, B.H. and Nosanchuk, T.A. (1995) Understanding Data, 2nd edition, Open University Press, Buckingham. Useful for element 2.
  • James Burt, Gerald Barber and David Rigby. 2009. Elementary Statistics for Geographers. Guilford Press.
  • Albrecht, J, (2007) Key concepts and techniques in GIS.

Handouts with reading relevant to specific lectures will also be given.

Recommended Bookshop texts:

Harris, R. and Jarvis, C. (2011) Statistics for Geography and Environmental Science. Pearson. NB For element 2 and for year 2 Spatial Modelling unit.