Geographical Investigations: What is Fieldwork and Research

  • Brief outline of what fieldwork and research is
  • Sampling methods (tailored for crowded coasts but can be applicable for other topics)
  • Primary / Secondary data collection methods (tailored for rebranding places)
  • Suggested opening paragraph for fieldwork exam question
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What is fieldwork and research?
1. Define the following:
Primary fieldwork ­ is fieldwork you carry out yourself to gather first hand
data (for example, using a belt transect to measure the change in
vegetation across sand dunes)
Secondary fieldwork ­ using data another source has found/measured (for
example, using information from local libraries i.e. for photographs of an
area before it was regenerated/rebranded)
Qualitative Data ­ Descriptive data, mostly subjective (for example, the
weather today is very hot)
Quantitative Data ­ Numerical data, which can be directly measured (for
example, measuring the temperature with a thermometer)
A range of fieldwork surveys and secondary research sources can be used to
establish the `profile' of an area. The profile is a description of what a place is
currently like; the more evidence that can be collected, the better the quality of
the profile.

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Below I have outlined different methods of sampling an area, my chosen topics for
Geographical investigations are Crowded Coasts and Rebranding Places.
Sampling How? Why? Diagram
Random Equipment: Frame Quadrats Advantage: Avoids bias.
Can be used to sample
large populations.
Method: The size of quadrat depends
on size of habitat/plants/animals to be
sampled. Disadvantage: Can lead to
poor representation of the
Randomly sample a small proportion of overall parent population or
a habitat using a quadrat.…read more

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Stratified Equipment: Quadrat Advantage: It can be used
with random or systematic
Method: Use along transect sampling
If proportions of the sub-sets
are known, it can generate
results representative of
whole population
Correlations and
comparisons can be made
between sub-sets
Disadvantage: The
proportions of the sub-sets
must be known and
accurate if it's to work
properly.…read more

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Technique: Residential Quality
How technique could be used?
Housing type, quality, state of building, evidence of renovation
d) Technique: Retail survey
How technique could be used?
Assessment of shopping quality (variety of different shops, quality of shop fronts). Also pedestrian
counts and surveys indicate how the area is used.…read more

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Have a think for yourself on how the data could be used to investigate if an area is in need of
rebranding / if rebranding has been successful. Also, the advantages and disadvantages of
the techniques above.
Secondary Sources
a) Technique: Census Data
Completed every 10 years, collects data from every household in the country on things such as household
size/ income, employment, health religion, immigration etc.
How technique could be used?
Give a detailed view of the social and economic structures within the area.…read more

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Allows for comparison of retailing land use and can be used to show how retailing space may have changed
function/type. May allow for national comparisons in retail trends or development.
e) Technique: Media sources
Includes academic journals to newspapers reporting on local issues. Also includes local tourist information
and marketing.
How technique could be used?
Can give an insight into local issues and concerns. Reporting on problems in the area or showcasing new
development in the area.…read more

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Finally deciding on a sampling method. Which methods can be used to access a large
area, which is time efficient and accurate?
A pilot survey may be required to format questionnaires.…read more



How do you come to a judgement of whether a place needs rebranding?

And how do you compare a place to before and after a rebrand?

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