Methods in Spatial and Social Analysis

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Austin Zeiderman STC 601D, Dr Murray Low STC 512 and Dr Alan Mace STC 315a

Marco Di-Cataldo, Steve Gibbons, Elisabetta Pietrostefani and Eduardo Ibarra.


This course is compulsory on the BA in Geography. This course is available on the BSc in Environment and Development and BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course introduces students to a range of methods used in the production of knowledge related to human geography and the environment. It covers an introduction to the philosophical basis of geographical research in addition to qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative component of the course covers approaches to describing data visually and numerically, sampling techniques, the basics of statistical inference, and the principles of structured hypothesis testing. Students use statistical software to analyse social deprivation data as well as mapping software to represent these data spatially. The qualitative component of the course discusses research design, the ethics and political of qualitative research, fieldwork for geographers, alternative data gathering techniques, and the analysis and communication of research findings. A full week of fieldwork includes day trips to East and South London to investigate themes of the impact of industrial restructuring, globalization, regeneration, and social exclusion, which gives students the opportunity to apply various methods from the course in their own research.


11 hours of lectures and 18 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 20 hours of classes in the LT.

Compulsory fieldwork: one week, London, LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to read and review research that employs a range of qualitative and quantitative methods. There is also an essay (750 words) in MT. Classes in MT serve as direct preparation for statistical methods to be used in the assessed practical exercise.

Indicative reading

Methods in human geography: a guide for students doing a research project (Flowerdew and Martin, 2005); Statistics: a tool for social research (Healey, 2012); Statistics in geography and environmental science (Harris and Jarvis, 2011); Geography and geographers: Anglo-American geography since 1945 (Johnston, 1997); International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Kitchin and Thrift, 2009); Key methods in geography (Clifford, French, and Valentine, 2010); Qualitative research methods in human geography (Hay, 2010).


Project (35%, 3500 words) in the MT.
Project (40%, 4000 words) and essay (25%, 1500 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
First 25.9
2:1 66.7
2:2 5.6
Third 0
Fail 1.9

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2015/16: 34

Average class size 2015/16: 17

Capped 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 81%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)