Geog 696 Prospectus

This course has the objectives of:

  • engendering an appreciation of the range and methods of geographic research
  • developing your ability to design, formulate and propose research
  • generating your graduate research proposal
  • It is reasonable to wonder how the broad range of Geographic research can be addressed in a coherent fashion. How, you might ask, will this be done?

    This is not a course to teach you all of the research skills that each of you will possibly need to do your work, though it should point to what you need to know. Rather, it is about how to organize your thinking in order to put your technical skills to good intellectual effect.

    We will read about and discuss research deisgn and proposal writing. We will probably design and execute a few small(ish) studies to try-out the notions.

    We will have David R. Krathwohl's How to Prepare a Research Proposal (3rd ed.) as a touch stone on proposals, and use Gomez and Jones Research Methods in Geography as a survey of the range of techniques and approaches commonly employed in the discipline. We will have other readings as well.

    We will examine the programs and requirements of several funding agencies: NSF, NIH, and perhaps others as student interests dictate.

    You will practice writing and evaluating proposals in the context of these specifications.

    I will most likely ask several of the faculty to join us to address specific issues such as research in a foreign area and ethical issues.

    We will include weekly analysis and presentations of research in your sub-discipline, with collegial critique. To wit: each week, each student will analyze and present a recent research article from their literature of interest. In presenting the analysis, particular attention will be paid to the research question addressed, its significance, the approach and methods used in addressing it, the results and their interpretation, an assessment of the quality of the work (how well it met its objectives), and an indication of the remaining unanswered questions.

    This approach has several benefits. It lets you concentrate on the conduct and presentation of research in your sub-discipline. It exposes us to research in each other's sub-areas. It should facilitate an integrative view of how geographers know what they know.