Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
||Crofting - Voices from the Past
||Iain Robertson1 and Charlie Withers2
||1School of Environment, Cheltenham &
Gloucester College of Higher Education, Francis Close Hall, Swindon Road,
Cheltenham, GL50 4AZ |
2Department of Geography, University of
Edinburgh, Drummond Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP
||+44 (0)1242 532954
||+44 (0)1242 532997
This is a single practical session, one of five in a course entitled 'Reconstructing Historial Communities'. Students are provided with a workpack which comprises 10 hours of independent work over a two week period. The nature of that work is primarily reflective. Extracts from the Napier Commission report are reproduced in full, and comprise the verbatim evidence of two people in contrasting positions: a Skye crofter and a famous Highland agitator. Contemporary (nineteenth century) illustrations, and photographs of evictions are included in the workpack. The students complete an assessed exercise which calls on them to develop skills of reflection and evaluation of qualitative sources. Reading lists are supplied.
- Skills training - in qualitative research methods
- Link to concepts delivered alongside in lectures
- Broaden student thinking
- To challenge students' preconceptions and distrust of qualitative research. Too easily and often, students equate subjectivity with 'bias' and 'inaccuracy'. Subjective opinion is contrasted negatively with supposedly objective data sets and condemned for a 'lack of objectivity'.
- When students have completed this module they will have gained an appreciation of the strength of qualitative research, developed a more reflective attitude towards the gathering and interpretation of data, gained a deeper understanding of historical-geographical change in the Scottish Highlands.
- Reading and reflecting
- - from the introduction to the Resource Pack:
"the tyranny of data sets and statistical analysis is replaced with the analysis and interpretation of emotions; opinions; interpretations; observations; memories; beliefs; ideologies - those of the researcher as much as the researched"
There are two written exercises set for this practical, both of which expect students to have read and reflected on the qualitative material provided, and also carried out background reading on qualitative methodology. However, students choose which units of this course to write up and submit for assessment, and not all students carry all the practical activities through.
This is one of the case studies which appears in the GDN Guide "Practicals and Laboratory Work in Geography"
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Page created 28 November 1998
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