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Effective Teaching of Research Design in Physical Geography: a case study

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A problem-solving approach to the teaching of research design in physical geography is introduced. Focusing on the study of the effectiveness of a local river restoration scheme, students are empowered with the responsibility for and control of their learning by means of group discussions and decision making in a series of workshops. With carefully staged guidance by tutors, students devise research questions and execute their project, analysing data collected on a field day. Although students may find this approach to be challenging and demanding, they acquire research experience and develop key skills, such as visualisation of problems and capacity for logical thought, aided by critical self-appraisal of their performance. Such an approach is particularly relevant today because of subject benchmarking skills. Developing transferable skills, such as initiative and teamwork, valued by employers also promotes self-confidence. Using a case study, this paper considers the experiences of students and staff with this approach, identifying its strengths and weaknesses, and offers possible options for its development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2002

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