Level 3

Geography clarifications

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91430: Conduct geographic research with consultation

Updated September 2015. This document has been updated in its entirety to address new issues that have arisen from moderation.

The research process and consultation

The emphasis of this standard is on the research process, with a focus on primary data collected from the field. The main components of the process are outlined in Explanatory Note 2.

Explanatory Note 4 and the Conditions of Assessment clearly indicate that ‘consultation’ will result in students managing the research process. However, the teacher can provide the framework for the selection of the research topic (location or theme). This may help ensure that students select a topic that has a spatial component and allows for collection of sufficient primary data from the field.

Components of the research process

Students need to provide evidence for each component of the research process in their final report, including planning and data collection.

The main focus is on the collected primary data, but supplementing this with secondary data will aid critical analysis and evaluation. Mapping is mandatory and accurate application of geographic conventions is expected at this level. Effective presentation will be determined by the nature of the research – it may involve the integration of statistical and visual data.

A critical analysis of the findings is required for Excellence. This involves closer examination of the findings which could include:

  • identifying factors or circumstances that may have influenced them
  • identifying and examining any irregularities in the findings
  • examining any relationships that appear, etc.

The evaluation needs to focus on the research process. This involves explaining the significance of any strengths and weaknesses of the process in relation to how they affect the validity of the findings and/or conclusions.

A critical evaluation requires students to extend their detailed evaluation of the research process through discussion of alternative methods and their implications. These could focus on addressing areas of weaknesses or building on the strengths.

Geographic conventions, terminology and concepts

Presentation of data must show use of appropriate geographic conventions. The analysis, conclusions and evaluation need to show application and integration of geographic terminology and concepts.

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