Skip to main content

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

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Study and Field Skills for Human Geographers (Bristol)
Unit code GEOG20018
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. David Manley
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.


Either GEOG20012 Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography or POLI20001 Conducting a Research Project using secondary data

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This field-based unit links theory, policy and practice through work in and on a UK city – Bristol – and its population and hinterland. The unit will introduce students to a variety of human geography methods, both quantitative and qualitative, encouraging them – through structured and unstructured field encounters – to reflect on their strengths and limitations, the ethics of different methods, the forms of data generated, and their use in addressing a range of questions and problems. Research design, sampling, analysis and interpretation will also be considered.

The course provides material for the basis of day-projects in the field and will give students an opportunity to develop their methodological skills and awareness.

The aims of the unit are to:

  • Develop students’ skills in project design and formulation
  • Apply methods and analyse results both quantitative and qualitative
  • Provide an opportunity to undertake a range of research methods
  • Reflect critically on the links between theory and practice
  • Deepen their awareness of research ethics and their own positionality
  • Synthesise and write-up diverse material and evidence

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will have:

1. developed their field skills;
2. put their learning into practice in a field setting;
3. reflected critically on their field encounters;
4. integrated their results and experiences into a report;

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

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

Teaching details

Briefing lectures, workshops, non-residential field work (including briefings in the field), drop-in discussion sessions

Assessment Details

Percentage of the unit that is coursework: 100%

Fieldwork portfolio consisting of three mini-reports (100%).

Reading and References

Essential Reading:

• Steve Pile and Nigel Thrift, eds. (2000) City A-Z: Urban Fragments

• Jennifer Robinson, (2005) Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development

• Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift, ed. (2002) Cities: Reimagining the Urban

• Walter Benjamin (1997) One-way Street and Other Writings