GCU 496:GEOGRAPHIC RESEARCH METHODS

 

Fall Semester, 1999. Schedule Line No. 53784

 

Tu-Th 1:40-2:55 PM. Room: COB 301.

Professor:

Dr. Michael Kuby

 

Classroom Office Building, Room 140

 

Phone: 965-6850

 

Email: mikekuby@asu.edu

 

Web page (under construction): http://geography.asu.edu/mkuby/

 

Office Hours: Wednesdays, 1-3 PM, Thursdays, 10:30-11:30 AM.

Required Texts:

National Research Council. 1997. Rediscovering Geography: New Relevance for Science and Society. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Trochim, William M. The Research Methods Knowledge Base, 2nd Edition. Internet WWW page, at URL: <http://trochim.human.cornell.edu/kb/index.htm> (version current as of April 09, 1999). A hard copy of this may be purchased on-line.

Prerequisites:

GPH 371 Cartography

 

GPH 491 Geographic Field Methods

 

GCU 495 Quantitative Methods

Statement of Purpose

This course is the capstone course for the Bachelorís degree in Geography at ASU. It also meets the L2 Literacy and Critical Thinking requirement. The goals of this class are:

  1. to introduce you to scientific methods for original geographic research
  2. to get you ready for the job market
  3. to further your writing and critical thinking skills

In short, this is the class where you put together everything you have learned in your undergraduate program. You will begin to make the transition from a consumer of geographic knowledge to a producer of it. This class will also sharpen skills you will need to obtain and excel in your first post-college job.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this class, you should be able to:

  1. prepare a resume
  2. do a literature review
  3. develop a research question
  4. plan a research methodology
  5. collect primary and secondary data
  6. write a progress report
  7. make maps, tables, and charts
  8. apply quantitative techniques
  9. write a well-organized final report
  10. edit your own and other peopleís writing
  11. give a brief, coherent oral presentation
  12. write an evaluation of other peopleís research
  13. ask for a letter of recommendation

Active Learning

Classroom time will be organized around mini-lectures interspersed with collaborative student-centered activities. Thus, class attendance is extremely important.

Late Policy and Cheating Policy

Late work will be accepted only if the student has approved it with me in advance. If an emergency develops on the due date and you cannot reach me, you must at the very least leave a message with the Geography Department office before class begins. Regardless, I will require confirmation of your excuse via valid written proof. If you don't tell me until afterwards, you will get a score of zero.

Cheating will be brought to the Dean of Students. We will have a discussion on what constitutes plagiarism, including self-plagiarism. This is not an idle warning. I've prosecuted such cases before, and will do it again if necessary.

Paper and Presentation

The main activity of this class will be an original individual research project. You will have to design it, collect the data, analyze it, write it up, and present it orally. To help you do this step by step, several components of the project will be handed in on an interim basis prior to the final report being due.

Grading

Numerical grades will be given for all written work in the course, and averaged according to the following formula:

Class Participation

5%

Resume

5%

Literature Review

10%

Problem Statement

5%

Article Breakdown

10%

Progress Report

5%

Final Report

30%

Oral Presentation

5%

Written Evaluation

5%

Final Exam

20%

TOTAL

100%

Letter grades will be assigned to your numerical course averages according to the standard basis:

      1. A
        1. B
        1. C
        1. D

Below 60 E

I reserve the right to curve the breakpoints downward but not upwards (e.g., I could move the A-B line down to 88 but not up to 92).

Incompletes

Incompletes will only be given in the rarest of circumstances. As per university policy, an incomplete automatically reverts to an E after one year if the agreed-upon work has not been successfully completed. No extra credit papers or assignments will be allowed, so don't ask!

Supplementary Readings (will be put on reserve in Noble Science Library)

Ronald F. Abler, Melvin G. Marcus, and Judy M. Olson, eds. 1992. Geography's Inner Worlds: Pervasive Themes in Contemporary American Geography. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Martin S. Kenzer, ed. 1989. On Becoming a Professional Geographer. Columbus, OH: Merrill Publishing Company.

Hanson, S. 1988. Soaring. Professional Geographer 40:4-7.

Hart, J. F. 1976. Ruminations of a dyspeptic ex-editor. Professional Geographer 28:225-232.