GEOG 696 --- ProSeminar-II (Research Design)
Meeting: Wednesday 6:00 - 8:30 PM, Saunders 444.

Matthew McGranaghan
Office: Physical Science Building 313, Ph. 956-7092,

Overview: This course addresses the design, (and to lesser extents) the conduct and presentation of geographic research. We will examine the research process so that you may better formulate, design and execute the research component of your degree program. This will involve weekly readings and discussion of issues and methods employed in geographic research, with attention to the objectives, methods and style in various sub-disciplines. You will be expected to find and present in summary research articles from your sub-discipline, paying particular attention to the ojectives, methods and logic in the research. Several team projects may be undertaken to experiment with common methods and illuminate common problems. These are intended to lead to your research proposal.

Course goals: (1) Develop your research proposal. (2) Develop an eye for good geographic research. (3) Understand broadly how geographic research is conducted. (4) Increase specific knowledge of research in your sub-field. (5) Develop ability to generate and critique research proposals. (6) Develop ability to present research findings.

Course Requirements: The main requirement is engagement in learning about the design of research in your sub-discipline. More concretely: (1) Readings and Participation in discussion. (2) Weekly synopsis reports on research in your sub-discipline. (3) Special and team assignments. (4) Draft Proposal. The University policy on incompletes is explicit. Please do not ask me to bend the policy.


Krathwohl, David R. (1988) How to Prepare a Research Proposal: Guidelines for Funding and Dissertations in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Third edition). Syracuse University Press.

Montello, D. and Sutton, P. (2012) An Introduction to Scientific Research Methods in Geography and Environmental Studies .

Other Readings: We will make use of a number of readings from sources other than the texts. A partial list of other materials that you may find useful, or that I may assign is below. Assigned readings will be made available on reserve as much as possible.

  1. Montello and Sutton, 2006. An Introduction to Scientific Reaserch Methods in Geography . Sage. Thousand Oaks, CA. ---the eralier edition of the text above.
  2. L. Lloyd Haring and John F. Lounsbury. 1983 Introduction to Scientific Geographic Research(3rd or current edition). Wm. C. Brown, Debuque, Iowa.
  3. National Research Council. 1997. Rediscovering Geography: New Relevance for Science and Society. National Academy Press. Washington, DC.
  4. Harvey, David, 1969, Explanation in Geography, Edward Arnold.
  5. Balian, Edward S., 1987, How to Design, Analyze and Write Doctoral or Masters Theses, University Press of America, New York.
  6. Berry, Brian J. L., 1994. "Canons of Reviewing Revisited". Urban Geography . v 15, n 15, pp 1-3.
  7. Ohio Geographers, vol 14, 1986. "Toward a Second Century: Research Needs and Funding Opportunities in American Geography: Conference Proceedings; September 6 & 7, 1985."
  8. Chamberlain, T.C., 1965, "The Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses", Science, vol. 148, 7 May 1965.
  9. Behiling, John H., 1984, Guidelines for Preparing the Research Proposal, University Press of America, New York.
  10. Manicas, Peter T., 2006. A Realist Philosophy of Social Science: Explanation and Understanding. Cambridge University Press. New York.
  11. Platt, John R., 1964. "Strong Inference", Science v 146, n 3542. pp 347-353. 16 October 1964.
  12. Szymanski, Richard. 2002. "The Critic and Criticism" Intro chapter from Geography inside out. Syracuse University Press.
  13. Morris, Richard. 1991. "How to Tell What Is Science from What Isn't" in John Brockman (ed), Doing Science: The Reality Club Prentice Hall.
  14. Lovelock, James. 1991. "Small Science" in John Brockman (ed), Doing Science: The Reality Club Prentice Hall.
  15. Beardsley, Monroe C. 1950. "Logical Thinking" from Practical Logic. Prentice-Hall, Engelwood Cliffs, NJ.
  16. Szymanski, Richard and John A. Agnew. 1981. Order and Skepticism: Human Geography and the Dialectic of Science. Association of American Geographers, Washington, DC.
  17. Elliot, Louis P., and Brook, Barry W. 2007. "Revisiting Chamberlin: Multiple Working Hypotheses for the 21st Century", BioScience, v. 57, n. 7, pp. 608-614. July/August 2007.

At the writing stage, several things may be inspirational and/or useful:

  1. Edward Abby (1988) "A Writer's Credo" -- an essay available in several collections.
  2. Annie Dillard. The Writing Life . A collection of essays on the work and rewards of writing.
  3. Plotnik, A., 1982, The Elements of Editing, MacMillan, New York.
  4. Turabian, Kate, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations, University of Chicago Press.
  5. Stephen King (2010) On Writing . Scribner. NY.
  6. The Chicago Manual of Style . A used copy is pretty cheap, and the online version is online.
  7. Steven Pinker (2014) The Sense of Style: The Thinking Persons Guide to Writing in the 21st Century . Viking Adult.
  8. William Zinsser (1976/2006) On Writing Well . Harper Perennial.