BSc Geography

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Researching Manchester

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG10291
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit? No


With a strong emphasis on fieldwork, this exciting course uses the city of Manchester and its region as playgrounds to introduce you to the worlds of human and physical Geographical research.   The first half of the courses focuses on human Geography.  Situated within an understanding of Manchester’s industrial heritage, you will be encouraged to wander and explore the city and to critically engage with the processes and practices that construct it.  We will think about how to build those observations into research questions and, in turn, consider how to answer those questions by selecting and using appropriate methodological techniques.  This second half of the course will develop the skills and theories that underpin Geographical research of an environmental and physical nature. In groups you will collect your own samples, and select appropriate methods and techniques to analyse them in the most effective manner. This will be done through fieldwork and follow-up laboratory work. The course will thus equip you with the tools to design, execute and deliver independent critical research, analysis and presentation.  


·         To spark an interest in critical real-world investigation;

·         To introduce approaches to designing and undertaking Geographical research;

·         To introduce the merits of different human and physical geography research methods;

·         To illustrate approaches to researching  Manchester and its region;

·         To introduce techniques for analysing and presenting data;

·         To undertake field work and present data;

·         To discover the place in which you will be living for the next three years and to get to know your peers.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course unit, you should be able to:

·      Design appropriate research and pose research questions;

·      Collect appropriate geographical data in the field;

·      Understand why and when particular forms of analysis should be applied;

·      Use various methods of analysis and understand their operation and limitations;

·      Analyse and effectively present fieldwork data.



This course has two blocks. The first block covers human methods, and the second block cover environmental methods. Each block will include an introduction and overview. Fieldwork is a central element within each block. The City of Manchester will be the focus of social research, and the Peak District will be the location for environmental research. Theories and underpinning principles will be considered alongside the different research methods. 

Teaching and learning methods

This is a very hands-on course. It will include a mix of lectures, workshops, interactive discussions, fieldwork, laboratory work and data analysis and presentation. This course will require some work outside of the lecture time to complete the assessment tasks. Extensive material will be available on Blackboard including lecture slides, selected reading material, reading lists, notes and information relating to the assessments. All work will be submitted via Blackboard. This course is supported by staff and post-graduate teaching assistants.  

Transferable skills and personal qualities

During this course unit, you will be encouraged to develop the following abilities and skills:

  • Solving problems in a practical context;
  • Empirical data collection skills;
  • Information handling skills, evaluation and analysis of different kinds of data;
  • Technical research skills, including laboratory work;
  • An ability to present information in the appropriate format;
  • Writing for different audiences
  •   Critical thinking and reflection;
  • Team working;
  •   Motivation and self-directed learning.


Assessment methods

The course will be assessed by coursework. This coursework will build on the fieldwork tasks and experience. Clear guidance will be provided on the coursework tasks. There is no examination for this course.

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:

·         Extensive verbal feedback through Q&A, discussion and interactive activities within lectures, workshops and laboratory work;

·         Weekly consultation hours associated with each block to answer any questions;

·         Feedback through Blackboard;

·         ‘The box’ for weekly, anonymous feedback;

·         Detailed written feedback on the group assignment;


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 6
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 74

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Peter Ryan Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Two Hour Lecture.TBC

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