Observations on Observations
NICHOLAS R. FYFE, University of Strathclyde
Observational fieldwork enables the completion of a qualitative research project despite the tight constraints of a research methods course. At the same time, the project enables the illustration of more general features of qualitative research. This paper considers the need to deconstruct the 'folk myth' surrounding observational work and provides clear, practical guidance on completing a piece of research. Completion of the project helps to uncover the role of students as analysts. The paper concludes with a discussion of student's reactions to their introduction to qualitative work and the constraints upon its wider adoption.
Oral History and Teaching Qualitative Methods
STEVE PILE, Middlesex University
Using oral history, students are able both to experience some of the issues in qualitative research as well as to carry out a piece of practical work. The three main sections of the paper deal with teaching reading - showing how students may come to appreciate how texts are constructed and may be introduced to the necessary use of theory in interpretation so as to confront the problem of naive empiricism; teaching listening - encouraging an interactive and empathetic mode of interviewing; and teaching writing - demonstrating models of reporting and interpretation. The conclusion outlines some of the problems encountered in teaching this material and some of the modifications to the teaching strategy designed to confront these difficulties.
Teaching Qualitative Historical Geography
MILES OGBORN, University of Salford
This paper discusses the teaching of qualitative historical geography through the consideration of a course taught at the University of Salford entitled 'Sources, Problems and Interpretation in Historical Geography'. The development of one part of the course, a 'module' on Victorian Britain using discussion group activity to interpret various sources, is detailed showing how its form is the product of the overall course aims, my own geographical education and a theoretical position which involves a dialogue between qualitative methods in contemporary human geography and historical geography.
Streetwork - an encounter with place
JACQUELIN BURGESS & PETER JACKSON, University College London
The Streetwork project is a practical exercise in carrying out a qualitative study of people-in-place. It forms the core of our teaching in cultural geography at University College London (UCL). Forming part of a second year course the project develops the initial exposure to qualitative fieldwork experienced during a first year field course. The nature and implementation of the project is described and the skills training involved in the course is outlined. The project has been taught in a number of different settings and student reaction indicates that it is a valuable exercise. However, a variety of problems have been raised in the course of teaching the project and the paper concludes with a discussion of these issues.
Teaching Qualitative Geography as Interpretative Discourse
CAROLINE A. MILLS & CHARLES W. J. WITHERS, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education
The paper discusses the teaching of qualitative geography in relation to the constraints and opportunities of modular degree programmes. Attention is paid to a number of examples from undergraduate taught classes and to the issues raised in the use of qualitative methods and interpretative geographies in undergraduate dissertations.
Qualitative Methods: reshaping a tradition
DAVID LEY, University of British Columbus
There is a long history of qualitative methods in geography, but traditionally they were regarded as unproblematic. More recent interest has been generated in partial reaction to the limitations of quantitative methods, but opposition is less constructive for research than cooperation. Qualitative methods are diverse and their complexity presents problems for teaching. Ethnographic methods, for example, are not necessarily best taught through the medium of field projects.
Safety in Numbers? How to Teach Qualitative Geography?
MICHELLE S. LOWE, University of Reading
Teaching qualitative methods in the context of an existing research methods course presents a number of problems. Qualitative methods tend to be marginalised and constrained by traditional expectations of teachers and taught to elicit a polarised response from students. A number of factors contribute to this reaction. the paucity of library resources, a perception that qualitative methods are frivolous and challenge traditional values and the difficulty of teaching large numbers. As the course has developed, a number of innovations have been introduced to combat these reactions and they are described and evaluated in a short article by James Sidaway appended to this paper.
Geography as Text and Context: an Australian perspective
JOE POWELL, Monash University
Intellectual and institutional divisions between 'science' and 'humanities' and the narrow vocational emphasis of geography in Australian higher education diminish the attraction and inhibit recognition of the teaching of qualitative methods, especially in physical geography. There is a strong tradition of teaching qualitative methods in 'arts' faculties and in geography where the interests of urban and regional studies allow and legitimise approaches found more naturally in cultural and historical geography. These imbalances might be corrected through foundation methods and philosophy courses.
Engendering Change. curriculum transformation in human geography
LINDA McDOWELL, University of Cambridge
This paper outlines a range of issues that stem from the desire to transform the curriculum of human geography in ways that take women and gender relations into account and also begin to reflect the current state of feminist theorising. It discusses steps taken towards such a transformation through a workshop at the Institute of British Geographers annual conference in 1992.
Application of a Poster Exercise in an Advanced Undergraduate Geography Course
IAIN HAY, Flinders University of South Australia
RICHARD MILLER, University of Wollongong
This paper discusses the nature and application of a research poster exercise in senior (e.g., final year undergraduate) university classes. The exercise consists of three components. First, students are involved in a piece of supervised research in which they set their own research question; design, execute and evaluate research strategies, and communicate the synthesised results of their activities to an audience. Second, the exercise is structured in such a way that it provides students with an introductory opportunity to explore the bureaucratic and competitive structure of the modern research environment. Third, student proficiency in oral, written, and graphical presentation of research results is refined. Expanding on earlier work on the use of posters in the teaching of geography at the tertiary level, the paper gives special emphasis to the rationale for conducting the research and to practical dimensions of poster production.
EXPLORING REGIONAL TRENDS, INTERACTIONS AND POLICIES USING A GLOBAL SIMULATION MODEL
KAVITA PANDIT, University of Georgia
Global simulation models hold considerable promise as instructional tools in university courses dealing with world regions or the geography of development. This paper discusses their potential and highlights how one such model, 'International Futures', can be effectively used in such courses. Four projects structured around the model are presented. These move the students from describing regions, to exploring human-environment interactions, examining regional interconnections and, finally, critically evaluating the methods and tools of regional policy. Overall, global simulation models can serve as an excellent springboard for developing interest, class discussion and critical analysis.
THE GREAT DIVIDE: CENTRAL VERSUS DEPARTMENTAL SUPPORT FOR TEACHING GIS
T. J. BROWNE, University of Sussex
In 1990 Arc/lnfo, a major Geographical Information Systems (GIS) package, became available at a very modest price to all institutions of Higher Education in the United Kingdom. This availability has already raised many issues regarding its usage in undergraduate geography teaching and by users who have not been exposed to any formal GIS course. These issues are discussed together with related hardware issues by drawing on experiences gained at the University of Sussex. The use of Arc/lnfo in particular and GIS teaching and support in general highlights some different perspectives between departmental academic geography and central computing support.
Page created 4 June 1997