The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This course develops preliminary research skills in geographical and environmental studies. The course is conducted under the direct supervision of an academic staff member who is also the student's honours research supervisor. The course builds skills and competencies in research design including literature reviews, identification of research questions, methodological approaches, data collection and analysis, discussion and communication skills, mapping and graphics preparation skills.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020
  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. A comprehension of procedures for undertaking a successful research project within geographical and environmental studies.

2. The capacity to identify research issues and frame research questions in the context of existing scholarship, resources and policy environments.

3. A thorough understanding of forms of methods of reviewing literature in the student's field. Capacity to identify relevant texts and openings within research fields for original and high quality analytical research.

4. The capacity to formulate appropriate boundaries to a research project and identify appropriate data, methods and processes to undertake critical analysis.


  1. Identifying relevant literature within geographical and environmental studies and other relevant disciplines in order to frame and situate a research question.


  1. Undertaking a literature review including:
  • Identifying key texts
  • Evaluating arguments and evidence
  • Providing rationale for inclusion of relevant material
  • Clear communication of uses made of relevant materials
  • Identification of limits of existing literature and role of thesis and research in contributing to the field.  
  1. Designing appropriate research design and methodology
  • Formulation of research and theoretical questions
  • Identification of appropriate methods and boundaries for research project
  • Use of critical and analytical thinking for formulating initial arguments, questions or hypotheses.

Assumed knowledge

A major in the appropriate discipline with a minimum credit grade average.

Assessment items

Presentation: Research proposal presentation and defence

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Hours by arrangement with supervisor. Structured as integrated learning session

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 8 hour(s) per Week for Full Term