Information regarding our 2023/24 admissions cycle

Our 2023/24 postgraduate taught admissions cycle will open on Monday, 10 October. For most programmes, the application form will not open until this date.

MSc Environmental Governance

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Doing Environmental Research

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG70472
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


- Introduction to dissertation support and assessments
- Selecting and developing a research project: ethics and risk assessment
- Selecting and developing a research project: learning from the ‘veterans’
- Short presentations and Q&A with PhD students working on projects related to environmental governance
- Writing a research proposal and communicating a research project: In class presentations of student research proposals
- Individual meetings with dissertation supervisors
- Poster design: group workshops and individual consultations
- Poster exhibition of student dissertation projects


  1. To familiarise students with planning and designing of a coherent and feasible dissertation project
  2. To advance their skills for writing and effectively communicating a dissertation proposal 
  3. To train students to design and present a poster based on their dissertation project

Learning outcomes

By the end of the Course Unit, students should:

  • Understand how to conceptualise and plan feasible research projects;
  • Familiarise themselves with the process of writing a research proposal;
  • Advance skills for effectively communicating the aims, methods and objectives of a research proposal, both in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and in the form of a poster
  • Have prepared a detailed proposal for their dissertation/research review;


Teaching and learning methods

The unit is delivered through lectures, seminars, workshops and one-to-one supervisory meetings. Students are guided for the preparation of a dissertation proposal in the form of a research project proposal. They are offered technical support via the cartography and media unit for preparing their poster presentations. All related material is available on Blackboard.

Knowledge and understanding

- Understand how to conceptualise and plan feasible research projects;
- Display evidence of understanding the requirements of writing a dissertation proposal;
- Explain in depth the nature of a chosen issue and its relevance to the field of study and to the relevant published literature;

Intellectual skills

- Make connections between theoretical arguments and real-world cases;
- Abstract and synthesise relevant information;

Practical skills

- Have improved skills for designing and writing research proposals;
- Gain advance skills for effectively communicating the aims, methods and objectives of a research proposal;

Transferable skills and personal qualities

- Communicate effectively with public and private organisations where appropriate;
- Work independently.

Assessment methods

Dissertation Project Proposal (2 pages) 50%

Dissertation Project Poster (A1 format) 50%

Feedback methods

In addition to the written summative feedback, students have an opportunity to engage in several stages of formative feedback prior to submitting both assignments. One-to-one sessions are organised to discuss the dissertation project proposals. Then, students receive oral and written feedback on their in-class presentations based on the dissertation research proposals. The preparation of the research proposal (the 2nd assignment) is organised in several stages. Small group poster design workshops are organised with the Media Centre where students are provided with technical training to learn how to design and prepare a poster. Students subsequently present their posters at a group exhibition. This is a departmental event where all PG students present their dissertation research proposal. This is a good opportunity for students to publically present their work and receive feedback from academics and colleagues.


Written feedback on draft dissertation project proposal and on the final dissertation project proposal

Oral feedback on in-class presentation based on the project proposal

Oral feedback on poster proposal

Written feedback on final poster

Recommended reading

Castree, N., Demeritt, D., Liverman, D. and Rhoads, B. (2016). Companion to Environmental Geography. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Clifford, N. and Valentine, G. (2003/2010/2016), Key Methods in Geography, London: Sage.
Cloke, P., Cook, I., Crang, P., Goodwin, M., Painter, J., and Philo, C. (2004). Practising Human Geography. London: Sage.
Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (2005/2017). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
Flick, U., Kardorff, von, E., & Steinke, I. (2004). A Companion to Qualitative Research.‎ London: Sage.
Flowerdew, R. and Martin, D. (eds.) (2005) Methods in Human Geography: A Guide for Students Doing a Research Project Second Edition , Harlow, UK, Pearson
Gomes, B. and Jones III, J. P. (2010). Research Methods in Geography. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Holmes, H. and Hall, S. M. (2020). Mundane Methods: Innovative Ways to Research the Everyday. Manchester: Manchester University Press
May, T (2003) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process. Buckingham: Open University Press. (earlier editions are also good)
Silverman, D (2009/2017) Doing Qualitative Research, London: Sage.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 128

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Mark Usher Unit coordinator

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