GEOG 250 : Geographical Research in Practice


2023 Semester One (1233) (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 a 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 developing interpersonal 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
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
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, 4 and 6)
  4. Reflect on your performance as a team member and identify what you could do better in the future (Capability 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 20% Individual Test
Laboratories 30% Individual Coursework
Field trip exercise 5% Group Coursework
Report 25% Group Coursework
In class assessments 15% Group & Individual Coursework
Reflection 5% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Field trip exercise
In class assessments


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

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 our Programme Coordinator, Kaiāwhina/Māori student adviser, and Pacific student adviser. They are able to organize group study and facilitate direct assistance regarding material taught in this course. 

Key Topics

• Research design, methods, and ethics
• Why we do fieldwork: ‘Big Data’ is here – is fieldwork still necessary?
• How we do fieldwork
• 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
• The place of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and mātauranga Māori
• Case study: Marine reserves on Waiheke Island

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 the final report. The field trip also includes a 5% 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.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities, particularly lectures and labs, as these are a required component of the course.

Content-based lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including non-content-based lectures and labs will not be available as recordings.

The course will not include live online events unless we are forced to change our delivery mode.

Under normal circumstances, attendance on campus is required for the test.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning 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.

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

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.

We are investigating a number of suggestions from past students.

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.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


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.

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

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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 28/10/2022 11:27 a.m.