This is to give you a general idea of the course content, outline and procedures. All specifics including but not limited to instructor, text, exercises, exam weights etc. can vary with term offered.
GEOGRAPHY 300, GATEWAY TO GEOGRAPHIC RESEARCH
John Richards, TA119; 552-6281; email@example.com (Please use these freely.)
OFFICE HRS: M @ 2-4 PM; T @ 9-11AM;mW @ 2-3PM;& Th @ 11- 12 noon, or by appointment.
Class meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00 to 11:50
The course has three purposes:
- To introduce you to each other as a group of colleagues with the common purpose of expanding your understanding and practice of geography;
- To prepare you for upper-division and professional geographic research by practicing the fundamentals of geographic research design and execution and stylistic requirements of scholarly writing;
- To have fun.
COURSE GOALS: The above purposes impose the following goals:
- Demonstrate familiarity with the traditional and current concerns of professional geographers and our discipline by formulating research questions related to topics of concern to geographers and significance to geography.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the epistemology of science, the limits of scientific knowledge, and the requirements of scientific communication by practicing scientific research writing in contrast to other modes such as rhetorical, emotive and evocative writing. This will require writing research questions; deriving research hypotheses and their opposites, null hypotheses; describing operational definitions of key concepts; and practicing professional standards of citation.
- Demonstrate improved comfort with translating vaguely stated questions into the mathematical operations required to answer them.
TOPICS TO BE COVERED:
- Some preliminary philosophy
Words to learn: Ontology, Epistemology, Ethics;
The scientific method;
Philosophy and psychology of perception;
The purpose of academic community;
Adams, Abler and Gould. Chapter 1 in Spatial Organization; The Geographer's View of the World. New York: Prentice Hall, 1971.
Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engles. (Trans. Samuel Moore). The Communist Manifesto. New York: International Publishers (any edition.)
Morrill, Richard L. "The responsibility of Geography: Presidential address to the Association of American Geographers, April, 1983, Denver, Colorado. Seattle: University of Washington, 1983. (Also available in the Annals of the AAG.)
Samuels, Marwyn S. "The Biography of landscape" in Meinig, D.W. (ed.) The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes. New York: Oxford, 1979.
Worster, Donald. The Wealth of Nature: Environmental history and the ecological imagination. New York: Oxford, 1993.
- Generating the research question -- stating the point and the method
Setting the context -- Why the question?
The research hypothesis and the null hypothesis
Exercise on "Back-of-the envelope estimating" -- comfort with quantities.
Durrenberger, Chs. 1-3
Classic outline for a research paper. (Hand-out)
- Exploring and explaining the methodology
Looking for models
Defining the measurements
Learning from observation and learning from others
- Finding the information (gathering the material)
a. Taking Notes
b. Library & Internet Research
Reference sources, Bibliographic sources, Geographic journals
Government Documents; Bibliographic techniques and formats
c. Authenticity issues & distinguishing between primary and secondary sources,
professional and popular journals
d. Field observation and mapping
Observation, GPS and Plane Table Mapping, Plot Sampling
Instrument design, sample design, Human Subject issues
Application of formal and informal interviewing techniques
Dress, deportment & demeanor
f. Off-campus resources within driving distance
OED, DMV, BLM, RVTD, COGs, USFS, TID, County Planning Office,
US Soil Conservation Service, State Watermaster’s Office.
Durrenberger, Chs. 1-3
- Outlining (sketching the product)
a. The "compulsories": -- Intro, methodology, observations, discussion, conclusion
b. Practicing analysis to organize ideas
c. Rules of outlining
- Analytical Techniques
Very brief introduction to descriptive and spatial statistics
- Writing (applying the information to the outline)
a. Organizing your notes
b. Planning your paragraphs
c. The draft
d. The revisions
e. The final copy.
- Tentative selection of a square mile in the local area for more intensive study in GEOG 494
STUDENT WORK REQUIREMENTS:
Short, cited composition Due 1/12; Course weight 5%
Note card samples Due 1/12; Course weight 5%
Preliminary Bibliography Due 1/12; Course weight 5%
Short numerical exercise requiring estimation, numerical conversion, and "geographic thinking" Due 1/26; Course weight 5%
Information "Scavenger Hunt" Due 2/2; Course weight 5%
Class participation including brief-writes Course weight 30%
Final paper oral presentation Course weight 10%
Term project compilation and presentation 35%
Preliminary topic statement: Due 1/19
Note card samples Due 2/7
Outline Due 2/9
Draft Due 2/21
List of works cited Due 2/21
Revisions and peer editing 2/28 -- 3/1
Presentations 3/7 -- 3/17
(Some presentations will be scheduled for the period of the final exam; attendance is required.)
Final copy Due 3/8
NOTE: Class will not be held on 1/17, in celebration of Martin Luther King.
BOOKS FOR PURCHASE:
Strunk, William jr. & E.B. White. The Elements of Style (3rd or later edition). NewYork: MacMillan
Trimmer, Joseph H. A guide to MLA Documentation (4th or later edition). Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Readings will be assigned on occasion from materials in the library.
There may be a group field trip, and you may be required to visit local agencies (generally on your own) to gather information.