GEOG 5161: Research Design in Human Geography


Schedule (subject to change).  Any changes of assignment deadlines and readings will be announced in class and posted here.



This page contains the class schedule by week: January 14 | January 21 (MLK Holiday) | January 28 | February 4 | February 11 | February 18 | February 25 | March 4 | March 11 | March 18 | March 25 (Spring Break) | April 1 | April 8 (AAG) | April 15  | April 22 | April 29 |

Related pages: General Information | Notes and Study Materials | Assignments | GEOG 5161 Homepage | CU Geography Homepage |


Week of:

January 14: The importance of research design in graduate & professional education and issues of hidden curricula in graduate education

Topics: An introduction to seminar focusing on: 1) the value of research and writing skills in professional life; 2) the research interests of participants; and 3) details of seminar organization.
Readings: Babbit, Victoria, Elizabeth Rudd, Emory Morrison, Joseph Picciano, and Maresi Nerad.  2008.  Careers of Geography PhDs: Findings from Social Science PhDs—Five+ Years Out.  Seattle: University of Washington, Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education. 

Study questions: 1) What value do the respondents place on research, grant writing, and publishing skills? 2) Do doctoral students who pursue academic careers value research skills differently from doctoral students who pursue careers in government, business, and non-profit organizations? 3) How do you think these results might be different if master's students were surveyed rather than doctoral students?

Solem, M., Cheung, I., and Schlemper, B. 2008. Skills in Professional Geography: An Assessment of Workforce Needs and Expectations. The Professional Geographer, 60, no. 3: 1-18. 

Study questions: 1)  Of the skills areas listed in Table 6, where have you received most of your training?  2) Does the argument in this article suggest that graduate training should include more or less attention to research design? 3) How might table 8, 9, and 10 inform your decisions about future coursework and training?

Optional: Solem, Michael, Hopwood, Nick, and Schlemper, M. Beth. 2011. Experiencing Graduate School: A Comparative Analysis of Students in Geography Programs. The Professional Geographer 63 (1): 1–17.

Optional: Solem, Michael, Kollasch, Aurelia, and Lee, Jenny. 2013. Career Goals, Pathways and Competencies of Geography Graduate Students in the USA.  Journal of Geography in Higher Education 37.
Assignment: Based on your work in History and Theory last semester, pick one research article on a  topic that is closest to the topic you would like to pursue for your thesis or dissertation research. This should be an article that involves original research with a clearly stated method, not a review article, position paper, or editorial. Prepare a short presentation (6-8 minutes) that addresses the following points: 1) what are the author(s)'s research questions; 2)  what research methods are used; 3) what is the author(s)'s rationale for using these methods to address the article's questions; and 4) what other methods could the author(s) have used to address the same questions?

January 21: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday: No Class




January 28:  Defining and refining a thesis or dissertation topic

Topics: This seminar session will be devoted to strategies of defining and refining research questions.
Readings: Solís, Patricia.  2009. Preparing Competitive Research Grant Proposals.  In Michael N. Solem, Kenneth E. Foote, and Janice J. Monk, Aspiring Academics: A Resource Book for Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty, pp. 139-166.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.  The appendices to this chapter are available here.

Assignment:
Prepare a one page (2-3 paragraph) statement and a five-minute oral presentation that describes your thesis or dissertation question.  It should tentatively define the research problem or question and articulates its significance to your sub-field. Try to justify your research problem in terms of its potential contribution or significance to your sub-field (e.g. conceptually; methodologically; in terms of new data from an unstudied place or population; a new application, model, or algorithm; etc.). If appropriate, also comment on its practical significance and potential broader impacts for geography, science, and society. Finally, state one or more strategies you think you will follow in your research; include in this final paragraph a brief description of general methods, data sources, tools of analysis, and schedule. 

Use Patricia Solís's Activity 11.1 "Starting with a Good Problem" (pp. 1-4) as a guide.

February 4: Literature Review and Conceptual/Theoretical Framing   

Topics: Discussion of refined research questions.  Writing an effective literature is one of the greatest challenges of developing a proposal.  Here we focus on how to develop and shape a concise and convincing literature review for your project.  We will also talk about time management strategies.
Readings: Foote, Ken.  Time Management. 2009.  In Michael N. Solem, Kenneth E. Foote, and Janice J. Monk, Aspiring Academics: A Resource Book for Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty, pp. 5-15.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Chapters 1, 2 & 3 from Cresswell, John W.  2009.  Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. 3rd ed.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 15 & 18 from Turabian , Kate L. 2007. A manual for writers of research papers, theses, and dissertations: Chicago style for students and researchers. 7th ed.. Revised by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams and the University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Assignment:
1) Provide brief comments on the two statements of research questions which you were assigned to review.  If possible, send those comments to the authors (and me) by Friday.

2) In no more than six double-spaced pages (not including reference list), write a literature review and conceptual framework based on your (revised) research questions.  Include your research questions with this assignment. In citing literature, follow the Turabian parenthetical, reference list style of citation. 

On Monday, give or send copies of this statement to the people who will review it for next week.  I will provide a list of those to who will review your statement.  On the cover sheet be sure to include your name, but also: 1) state what you consider to be the best or strongest part of your review; and 2) state any questions or points at which you would like the reviewers focus particular attention.

February 11: Writing and Reviewing Grant Proposals

Topics: Discussion of literature reviews.  Overview of the grant writing process including issues relating to the review process used by some of the major granting agencies.  We will also focus on some of the other elements grant proposals include schedules and budgets.  We will also discuss the need for pilot projects to test methodologies as well as the process of developing "fall-back" plans in case an element of our methodology doesn't work in the field.
Readings:

Calef, Wesley. 1994. Some Canons of Reviewing. Urban Geography 15: 1-3.

Chamberlin, T.C.  1890.  The method of multiple working hypotheses.  Science (old series), 15, 92.

Chapters 4, 5 & 6 from Cresswell

National Science Foundation, Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/papp/

National Science Foundation, Geography and Regional Science, SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants, http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/bcs/grs/suppdiss.jsp

National
Science Foundation, Geography and Regional Science, Samples of Successful Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/bcs/grs/propsamples.jsp

Use Patricia Solís's Activity 11.2 "Achieve and Communicate Coherence" (pp. 5-7) as a guide, including the "Coherency Matrix" that Patricia provides as an Excel .xls file.

You may also like to review some of the materials in the appendices of: Solís, Patricia.  2009. Preparing Competitive Research Grant Proposals.  In Michael N. Solem, Kenneth E. Foote, and Janice J. Monk, Aspiring Academics: A Resource Book for Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty, pp. 139-166.  Upper Saddle River , NJ : Prentice-Hall.  The extensive appendices to this chapter are available here.

Watts, M. Dissertation proposal writing workshop, http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/DissPropWorkshop/.

Assignment:
Prepare a page of written comments for two of the literature reviews distributed in seminar last week.  Focus on: 1) the strengths of the review; 2) issues which are unclear, need further refinement, or could be strengthened.  As to the latter issues, provide concrete suggestions and ideas about how to strengthen the literature review.

Send or give these review statements to their authors (and me) by next Monday.

February 18: Contemporary Research Methodologies and Methodological Debate in Geography I

Topics: Begin methodological presentations and discussions. Instructions are located here.

I have set aside three weeks for us to review and discuss methodological issues related to our projects.  We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of some of the major qualitative and quantitative methods used in contemporary geography, as well as those of direct relevance to your thesis and dissertation projects.  We will also consider some of the recent methodological critiques of contemporary research paradigms in geography.
Readings: Chapters 7 & 8 from Cresswell

Here are some useful sources I have put on reserve.  Please use them as needed:

Norlin Reserve: Clifford, Nicholas J., Shaun French and Gill Valentine, eds.  2010.   Key methods in geography, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Norlin Reserve: Cloke, Paul, Ian Cook, Philip Crang, Mark Goodwin, Joe Painter, and Chris Philo.  2004.  Practising human geography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Norlin Reserve: Hay, Iain, ed.  2005.  Qualitative research methods in human geography.  2nd ed.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Norlin Reserve: Kitchin, Rob and Nicholas J. Tate.  2000. Conducting research in human geography: Theory, methodology and practice.  Harlow, UK: Pearson.

Norlin Reserve: Montello, Daniel R. and Paul C. Sutton.  2006.  An introduction to scientific research methods in geography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Norlin Reserve: Moss, Pamela, ed. 2002. Feminist geography in practice: Research and methods.  Oxford: Blackwell.

Norlin Reserve: Yin, Robert K.  2009.  Case study research: Design and methods.  4th ed.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Another useful book we don't yet have at Norlin is:

Gomez, Basil and John Paul Jones. 2010. Research methods in geography: A critical introduction.  Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Assignment:

February 25: Contemporary Research Methodologies and Methodological Debate in Geography II

Topics: Continue presentations and discussion of contemporary research methodologies.
Readings: Chapters 9 & 10  from Cresswell
Assignment:
In no more than six double-spaced pages (not including reference list), write the methodology section of your proposal.  This section should include a description of the nature and sources of your data (which may also include a description of the field site, if appropriate), data collection strategies, and data analysis.  Be sure and make clear how your data and analysis will specifically address your research questions and your rationale for picking the method you propose to use.  If more than one methodology could be applied to your research question, you may need to compare and contrast the possible methods.  Follow Turabian as to style of presentation and citation.

Give or send this statement to the people who will review them (list will be provided).  On the cover sheet be sure to include your name, but also: 1) state what you consider to be the best or strongest part of your review; and 2) state any questions or points at which you would like the reviewers focus particular attention.

March 4: Contemporary Research Methodologies and Methodological Debate in Geography III

Topics: Continue presentations and discussion of contemporary research methodologies.
Readings: No additional readings.
Assignment:
Prepare a page of written comments for two of the methodological statements distributed in seminar last week.  Focus on: 1) the strengths of the statement; 2) issues which are unclear, need further refinement, or could be strengthened.  As to the latter issues, provide concrete suggestions and ideas about how to strengthen the methodology.

Send your reviews to the authors and to me by Friday.

March 11: Ethics in Research and Publishing

Topics: Professional ethics are at the foundation of all of our work.  This week we consider some of the key issues involved in the ethics of research and publishing as well as steps for recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas.
Readings: Association of American Geographers, Statement on Professional Ethics, http://www.aag.org/cs/about_aag/governance/statement_of_professional_ethics

CU Human Research Committee,  http://humanresearch.colorado.edu/

Hay, Iain and Mark Israel. 2009. Private people, secret places: Ethical research in practice. In Michael N. Solem, Kenneth E. Foote, and Janice J. Monk, Aspiring Academics: A Resource Book for Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty, pp. 167-178. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, s.v. "Scientific Misconduct," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_misconduct

Assignment:
Read and be prepared to discuss the case study scenarios found in Iain Hay and Mark Israel, Activities for AA Chapter 12, Private People, Secret Places: Ethical Research in Practice, pp. 16-23.

If your research involves human subjects, then take the Human Research Committee online training course before this session.  The online training course explains in more details some of the issues we will raise in class.

March 18: No seminar


First full draft of proposal due by Friday.

March 25: Spring Break



April 1: Getting the Most Out of Conference Participation & Effective Use of Tables, Graphs, Maps and Visualizations in Research Communication

Topics:
Participation in academic conferences, workshops, and symposia is one of the most important activities of academic life.  Conferences are once of the best ways to share ideas, gain new insights and ideas, network, and build networks among peers.  Getting the most out of meetings can often benefit from advance preparation which we will focus on this week.  We will also focus on the value of tables, graphs, maps, and other visuals to communicate research ideas and findings.
Readings:
Tufte, Edward.  2001. Graphical excellence.  Chapter 1 in The visual display of quantitative information, pp. 13-51.  Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press

Tufte, Edward.  2006.  The cognitive style of PowerPoint.  In Beautiful evidence, 156-185.  Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press, 2009.

Chapter 8 & 26 in Turabian
Assignment:
Send your reviews of the full proposals to the authors and to me by Friday.

April 8: Academic Publishing: Selecting Journals and Preparing Manuscripts

Topics: I have set aside two weeks to focus on the process of research publication.  Here we focus on some of the nuts-and-bolts issues about how to select the journals to which we submit manuscripts, how the peer-review process works, and how to work with editors in response to reviewers' comments.
Readings: Brunn, Stanley D.  2009. Academic publishing. In Michael N. Solem, Kenneth E. Foote, and Janice J. Monk, Aspiring Academics: A Resource Book for Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty, pp. 179-189. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

ISI Web of Science/Web of Knowledge available through the Chinook library catalog.  The CU Libraries provide an online video tutorial on using the Web of Science at: http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/engineering/flash/WebofScience/WebofScienceFull/WebofScience/WebofScience.html

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, s.v. "Citation Index," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citation_index

Assignment:
Read and complete Activities 13.1 "Choosing the right outlet for your research" and 13.2 "The ethics and politics of academic publishing" by Jan Monk in Activities for AA Chapter 13, Academic Publishing.

April 15: Academic Publishing: The Peer-Review and Publishing Process

Topics: Continuation of publishing workshop.
Readings:

Kitchin, Rob and Duncan Fuller, Geo-publishing.org: A Publishing Resource for Geographers, http://www.nuim.ie/nirsa/geo-pub/geo-pub.html

Chapters 3 and 6 in Kitchin, Rob and Duncan Fuller. 2005. The academic's guide to publishing. London: Sage.

There is a large range of excellent books about academic writing and publishing on this list which may be of use to you in the future.

Assignment:
Read and complete Activity 13.3 "Understanding the manuscript review process" by Ken Foote in Activities for AA Chapter 13, Academic Publishing.  For this activity, you need to read and review this manuscript by Michael Solem.  A review form is included in the file.

April 22: 1) Presentation of revised research proposals & 2) Career Planning

Topics: During the final two weeks of the semester we save time for everyone to give a 20-minute presentation on their research project and allow them to field questions.  This is similar to the presentation you are likely to give during your planning meeting.  We should also have some time during these last weeks to raise some "big-picture" issues about how our research fits into our lives--both personal and professional--and our careers. 
Readings:
Monk, Janice and Christine Jocoy.  2009. Career planning: Personal goals and professional contexts.  In Michael N. Solem, Kenneth E. Foote, and Janice J. Monk, Aspiring Academics: A Resource Book for Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty, pp. 16-31.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Archer, Kevin.  2001. Through the glass darkly: Re-collecting my academic career.  In Pamela Moss, ed., Placing Autobiography in Geography, pp. 62-77. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
Assignment:
TBA

April 29: 1) Presentation of revised research proposals & 2) Work/Life Issues

Topics: Presentation and review of second draft of research proposals.
Readings:
Schlemper, Beth and Antoinette M.G.A. WinklerPrins.  2009. Balancing personal and professional lives.  In Michael N. Solem, Kenneth E. Foote, and Janice J. Monk, Aspiring Academics: A Resource Book for Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty, pp. 42-51.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Assignment:
Review research proposals and provide feedback to presenters.

Final draft of proposal due by Friday, May 3th, 4:00 pm

Last revised 2013.2.3. KEF.