The University of Southampton

GEOG2008 Researching Human Geography

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To introduce students to the range of approaches to human geography (positivism, Marxism, humanism, feminism, post-structuralism etc.), their strengths and weaknesses, and examples of research using these approaches. • To introduce students to the range of data sources and methods used in human geographical research (secondary data, archives, questionnaire surveys, interviews, focus groups, participant observation), their strengths and weaknesses, and examples of research using these data sources and methods. • To introduce students to some associated concerns of research design (sampling, reliability, validity etc.). • To introduce students to the range of research undertaken by human geographers based at the University of Southampton.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Become familiar with the range of available approaches to human geography, including their relevant strengths and weaknesses.
  • Become familiar with the range of data sources and methods available to human geographers, including their relative strengths and weaknesses, and some related research-design concerns
  • Become experienced in discussing these approaches, data sources, methods, strengths, weaknesses, and concerns in talk with fellow students and in writing for assessment


Part 1: Introduction • Module overview • What is human geography? • Premodern and modern geography • Ontology, epistemology, normativity... or, what questions do we ask and how do we answer them? • Competing paradigms or complementary research programmes? Part 2: Approaches to human geography • Spatial science: describing and explaining spatial patterns • Marxist geography: describing and explaining uneven development • Humanistic geography: understanding places and landscapes • Post-structuralist geography: describing and explaining spatial order and disorder • Feminist geography: describing, explaining, and understanding gendered spaces • Research design: From approach to method Part 3: Data sources and methods • Secondary data sources: statistics and archives • Surveys and questionnaires • Interviews and focus groups • Ethnography and participant observation • Validity, reliability, sampling • Module summary

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

lectures, in-class exercises, seminars

Independent Study120
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Cloke et al. Approaching Human Geography. 

Gregory et al. The Dictionary of Human Geography. 

Kitchin and Thrift. The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. 

Cook and Crang. Doing Ethnographies. 

Daniels et al. An Introduction to Human Geography. 

Cloke et al. Introducing Human Geography. 

Davies et al. Researching Human Geography. 

Kitchin and Tate. Conducting Research in Human Geography. 

Aitkin and Valentine. Approaches to Human Geography. 

Cloke et al. Practising Human Geography. 

Johnston and Sidaway. Geography and Geographers. 

Flowerdew and Martin. Methods in Human Geography. 

Peet. Modern Geographical Thought. 

Livingstone. The Geographical Tradition. 

Hay. Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography. 

Clifford et al. Key Methods in Human Geography. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 60%
Exam  (2 hours) 40%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: GEOG1004 Pre-requisite for GEOG2035

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