Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Policy-Related Fieldwork for First Year Students
Originator Robert Gant
Department School of Geography, Kingston University, KT1 2EE
Tel. +44 (0)181 547 2000
Fax. +44 (0)181 547 7497

First year Human Geography fieldwork for 95+ students is embedded in a geographical techniques module. In this context, strong links have been developed with departments in Kingston Borough Council to involve students in policy monitoring programmes and the generation of data sets related to policy concerns.

Recent collaborative exercises have included: serial surveys of recreational behaviour on the Thames riverbank; the impact of pedestrianisation on the mobility of elderly and disabled people; and, as part of the Borough Crime Audit, a survey of personal safety in local shopping environments.

These policy-informed exercises are designed to teach the principles and practice of survey design, analysis and interpretation. They aim to develop skills of teamworking through the completion of fieldwork assignments, report preparation and seminar presentation.

The November 1996 survey prepared base-line data for the introduction of CCTV in Kingston Town Centre and the district Centres of Surbiton, New Malden and Tolworth. Students conducted on-street interviews with quota samples of representative groups using machine-readable proforma. An OMR was used to produce a rapid summation of findings for student interpretation, written and oral presentations, and as input to the Borough Crime Audit.

Notwithstanding the inclement weather, students reported favourably in an end-of-module evaluation questionnaire on their engagement with the 'live issue' of crime prevention in the urban environment. Six students have been subsequently employed by the Borough (at a 'Sainsburys plus 25%' hourly rate!) to analyse a related survey of crime and the business community.

Relevant References:


Optical Mark Readers (OMR)
Policy concerns
Policy monitoring programmes
Survey design

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Page created 3 February 1997
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