GEOG 250 : Geographical Research in Practice


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A critical exploration of the research experience in geography. Case studies and field work demonstrate approaches to understanding the complex interactions of social and environmental processes. Students will develop practical skills in problem identification, research methodologies, ethics and analytical practices.

Course Overview

GEOG 250 is the core course in the Geography major. It provides an opportunity for students to investigate a current and relevant geographic issue. All of the course content, including the labs, assessments and field trip, are designed to mimic the research experience and lead towards the production of a final group report. 

This course uses team-based learning (TBL), which involves working in small teams to help solve problems while also developing inter-personal skills. These skills are essential in geography, where the ability to work constructively with others, is a very desirable trait sought by many employers.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 60 points

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of research methodologies, tools, ethics and analytical practice (Capability 1)
  2. Analyse a geographical issue by applying this knowledge (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Construct a solution to a complex geographical problem by evaluating its social and physical components (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  4. Reflect on your performance as a team member and identify what you could do better in the future (Capability 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 20% Individual Test
Laboratories 30% Individual Coursework
Field trip exercise 10% Group Coursework
Report 25% Group Coursework
In class assessments 10% Group & Individual Coursework
Reflection 5% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Field trip exercise
In class assessments

As this course has significant amounts of group work, peer evaluations are used to identify and penalise free-loaders (those who rely on others to do the work). This process can also reward students who make a significant contribution to each group.


As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of Environment Tuākana Programme aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for, and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.

This course is supported by a designated Tuākana tutor with appropriate knowledge of the course and related skills. They will organise group study sessions and facilitate direct assistance regarding material taught in this course. For more information regarding the Programme feel free to email our Programme Coordinator:

Key Topics

• Research design, methods and ethics
• Why we do fieldwork: ‘Big Data’ is here – is fieldwork still necessary?
• How we do fieldwork
• Introduction to GIS and it's applications
• Opportunities and Challenges for Modern GIScience
• The rationale for observation as a research method
• Types of, and approaches to, observation (primary, secondary)
• Practical considerations of undertaking a Questionnaire Survey
• How to make data usable/useful
• Case study: Marine reserves on Waiheke Island

Learning Resources

GEOG 250 does not have a required text book. Instead all required reading material will be provided through 'Reading lists' on Canvas.

Special Requirements

GEOG 250 has a compulsory one day field trip. During the field trip students collect data for use in both the lab program and in the final report. The field trip also includes a 10% group assessment.

Workload Expectations

During a typical teaching week there will be 3 hours of lectures and, approximately every second week, 2 hours of laboratories. There is also a field trip. For the 12 teaching weeks, this totals 55 hours. Since the course as a whole represents approximately 150 hours of study, that leaves a total of 95 hours across the entire semester for both independent study and group work, e.g. reading, reflection, preparing for assessments, group work etc.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 11/01/2020 03:01 p.m.