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Human Geography New York Field Trip

Module titleHuman Geography New York Field Trip
Module codeGEO2308D
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Henry Buller (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Residential field work is an essential part of your degree programme at Exeter. This module (one of a series of alternative compulsory fieldtrip modules) provides an opportunity to develop and apply research skills in real world environments, normally consisting of two parts:

  • Pre-trip preparation over eight weeks, involving a mix of lectures, projects, films and self-directed study that provide you with necessary preparatory information and data to successfully undertake the field trip.
  • The trip itself, which lasts six days (plus two days of travel) and consists of a series of staff-led days and individual/group project exercises.

Geography FCH students may elect to take this module if they are taking 60 or more credits in Geography at stage 2, including GEO2327 Geographies of Justice: Research Methodologies in Action (15 credits) and GEO2328 Geographies of Consumption: Doing Human Geography Research (15 credits).

Module aims - intentions of the module

The field trip has the following main aims:

  • to provide you with an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained through lecture-based modules to 'real-world' geographical study,
  • To develop research skills and abilities through observational and ethnographic field methods
  • To extend your analytical skills through the preparation of critical reflection
  • to give you further preparatory training for undertaking a dissertation (GEO3311 / GEO3312) building on skills developed in stage 1.

By attending the field trip and completing the formatively and summatively assessed coursework in this module you will develop your academic and professional skills, such as your ability to read and understand urban forms and urban processes, to develop and evaluate research designs, deploy research skills in different settings, develop critical thinking skills in the field, participate in group discussions and prepare and undertake professional presentations. This will help you to grow in academic confidence and practice how to develop and present your ideas in writing and for presentations. You will practice how to tackle research problems in the field and how to manage your time and workload effectively, working individually and in a group.

The module is informed by active research in a number of relevant and cognate areas such as nature and social change in the contemporary city, urban identities and ethnographic methodologies.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Decode, understand and analyse various social and socio-natural process that contribute to the dynamics of urban space along with identifying the forces and processes of spatial differentiation and discontinuity in cities
  • 2. Identify, formulate and evaluate critical research questions and a critical understanding of urban form and process
  • 3. Describe selected field-based methodologies and techniques used in collecting, analysing and presenting geographical information in human geography, and apply these with limited guidance
  • 4. Apply, interpret and use qualitative and quantitative information effectively and appropriately
  • 5. Describe and explain the results of practical fieldwork and relate results to existing bodies of geographical knowledge
  • 6. Discuss specific case studies and examples relevant to specific themes relating to the field trip (e.g. urban geography, gentrification, nature protection in the city, urban planning)
  • 7. Collect, interpret, evaluate and combine different types of geographical evidence and information

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Identify a diverse range of approaches to the generation of knowledge and understanding in human geography
  • 9. Apply geographical concepts in different situations
  • 10. Outline the nature of change within human environments
  • 11. Discuss reciprocal relationships between physical and human environments
  • 12. Explain the significance of spatial relationships as influences upon human and physical environments

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 13. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently by written, oral and visual means
  • 14. Use different forms of presentation effectively and appropriately and with limited guidance to select, analyse, present and communicate geographical information
  • 15. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
  • 16. Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses
  • 17. Appreciate the practical applications of research methods in different settings and reflect on these within the context of student employability and professional development

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Before the field trip:

A series of weekly lectures and workshop support sessions that develop themes in urban geography and, specifically, the geography of New York.

During the field trip:

  • Guided explorations and walking visits within New York City over 6 working days,
  • Formative group exercise involving neighbourhood research and the differential history of migration trajectories and geographies
  • Question/answer sessions on aspects of New York geography
  • A formative exercise to develop field work notebook skills (leading to an assessed component)
  • Three organised visits (Rockefeller Centre, Ellis Island Immigration Centre, Natural History Museum)
  • Group presentations

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10Pre-departure meetings and lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching48Group work and individual notebook data collection during field trip
Guided independent study50Pre-departure preparatory reading and group summative assessment preparation
Guided independent study42Observational and group research and presentation work during fieldtrip, notebook writing during field trip and preparation for individual summative assessment after the field trip


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Field work notebook formative exercise and feedback4 hoursAllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual field notebook25Unspecified but length ‘signed off’ at end of trip1-14Written
Group project presentation2520 minutes1-12, 13-17Oral
Individual essay502000 wordsAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual field work notebookSee notes below1-14August ref/def
Group project presentationSee notes below1-12, 13-17August ref/def
Individual essaySee notes belowAllAugust ref/def

Re-assessment notes

These notes define what will happen in three re-assessment scenarios:

If you are unable to attend the field trip for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee or you are too late to be transferred to the Virtual Field Trip module (GEO2308E), you will be re-assessed for field work skills via two new assessments to be submitted for the August deferral period:

  • A 2000-word essay, related to key themes introduced in the pre-departure workshops;
  • A 2000-word project report, based upon desk-based research on a theme, site, or issue related to New York.

Both pieces of assessment will be devised in discussion with the module convenor.

If, having participated in the field trip, you are unable to complete the individual field work notebook for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will be required to submit a 2000-word essay in the August deferral period. If you are deferred in the group project presentation, you will be required to submit an individual PowerPoint presentation with a 1500-word narrative in the notes section in the August deferral period. If you are deferred in the individual essay, you will be required to submit an individual essay in the August deferral period.

The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

If you fail the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%), you will be required to submit a 3000-word project report based upon desk-based research on a theme, site, or issue related to New York. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Reading lists appropriate to the fieldtrip will be issued at the start of term 2.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Field trip

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

GEO2327 Geographies of Justice: Research Methodologies in Action and GEO2328 Geographies of Consumption: Doing Human Geography Research

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date