A2 Geography Skills - Planning

Notes on identifying a suitable hypothesis for a geographical investigation and developing a plan for conducting the investigation. 

  • Created by: Jo
  • Created on: 29-03-11 20:59

Identify a Suitable Geographical Question or Hypot

A successful geographical investigation is dependant upon identifying a clear geographical question at a scale that is practical in research terms.

Choosing a topic area:

  • Choosing a general topic area is important before choosing a hypothesis. Newspapers, magazines, geography books and internet sites are a good place to get ideas.
  • It must be a realistic topic which can be achieved in your time limit and area.

Turning a topic area into a specific question or hypothesis:

  • Having a detailed, specific question/hypothesis makes analysis data and results easier.
  • It should have: A suitable scale, easily researched, clearly defined, a geographical nature, based on a geographical theory or concept, a clear aim.  

A good title is also SMART: Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed.

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Develope A Plan and Strategy for Conducting The In

A successful investigation involves careful planning which balances the need for accurracy and reliability against limitations imposed by time, resources and the environment.


  • You need to identify the type of data you need for your hypothesis. You need a combination of primary and secondary data.
  • Primary data - data which you collect. It is important to make this as reliable as possible, which may mean repeating data collection a few times. A pilot study is also usefull.
  • Secondary data - data from another source. Libraries, the internet and previous investigations are good sources. Information could be biased so its important to take into account who compiled it and why. All sources of data need to be shown in a bibliography.
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Develope A Plan and Strategy for Conducting The In


  • It is important to get a representative sample.The larger the sample, the more representative it is.
  • How much to measure - a sample size of at least 30 is important.
  • What sample type - The sample unit needs to be decided, you can use point sampling, linear sampling or areal sampling.
  • What sample method - There are four main types which are, Random, stratified, systematic and pragmatic.
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Develope A Plan and Strategy for Conducting The In


  • When coming up with a hypothesis, location has probably already been considered.
  • Specify exact boundaris of the location and ensure the location is shown cleary on a map if one is used.


  • Accuratley estimate how long different stages of the investigation will take.
  • Draw a timeline or an action plan to show your estimates.

Risk assessment:

  • This shows potential risks in undertaking your research.
  • Include what the hazard is, the liklihood of it happened, the severity of the risk, and managment solutions.
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Very pretty notes, thankyou for sharing :)

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