planning an investigation

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geographical skills theory
Planning for an investigation
primary data
unprocessed information: data collected from fieldwork or from material that has not
been analysed or interpreted in any way.
Advantages reliable and not biased, data is up to date
disadvantages time consuming, data could be unreliable or invalid due to human
error whilst collecting the data or poor quality equipment.
secondary data
information from published sources that have been analysed and interpreted.
advantages quicker to collect, perhaps more reliable if from a well known source
disadvantages data could be biased and we cannot be certain if the methods used
to collect it were reliable and valid
sampling size
the larger the sample the more accurate the results will be and the more
representative of the whole they will be.
30 samples should be taken to get reliable results, if only 6 samples were taken
then the conclusions drawn would not be reliable.
sampling type
point sampling taking a sample at a given point such the coordinates on a map
linear sampling samples taken at given points along a line or transect that has
some meaning such as across a line of dunes.
areal sampling taking samples in a given area such as using a quadrat to measure
vegetation cover or conducting an investigation in a grid square of an OS map
sampling method
Random sampling
using number tables to randomly generate a number to select the sample point
advantages statistically sound so opens up further analysis
disadvantages same item could be picked more than once, easy to miss
Stratified sampling
take account of underlying patterns in the data and ensures all are sampled (usually
in proportion)
advantages ensures no significant aspect is missed
disadvantages data collection is biased, can't make valid statistical inferences
systematic sampling
item is selected at regular intervals
advantages easy to do, quick

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Pragmatic sampling
sample where you can get access and where changes are observed, such as
troughs and crests in a sand dunes system
advantages safe, realistic
disadvantages can't make valid statistical inferences, not a fair sample.
the exact boundaries for your location need to be specified in the planning stage.
location needs to be accessible, safe and realistic to improve your accuracy of
enough time must be provided to complete the investigation accurately.…read more


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