GEOG 392: Research Methods in Geography

How do we know what we know? On what basis do we distinguish true from false? By what means do we learn about the social and natural world around us? These questions are relevant to geographic inquiry, to professional development, and to enriching our lives as critically informed, thinking people.

This class introduces research methods in geography and equips students with skills to conduct independent research. We start by overviewing themes that will animate the course: knowledge production, spatial analysis, epistemology, theory and evidence, and constructing an informed argument. We then work through five research methods ranging from gathering secondary data and doing survey research; to formal and informal interviews; to ethnographic participation and historical inquiry. Students gain hands-on experience generating original data, using quantitative and qualitative methods, and bringing concepts into dialog with evidence. We conclude with a mixed methods research project based on a written proposal. Students also develop skills in writing academically, speaking publicly, and collaborating intellectually.