Coursework and other skills ideas

Coursework Option: Click the correct one to reach it!

Clone Town
Shopping comparison goods
Urban Study
Micro climate

Tourism heading only so far

Coursework Options: Clone Town or Home Town?

The Clone Town Britain Survey II is designed to determine whether your town has become
a Clone Town increasingly indistinguishable from dozens of others around the country; or whether it survives as a Home Town, distinctive and recognisable as a unique place.
The Clone Town Britain Survey II is simple. It should take no more than 30 minutes and can be completed while strolling along your local high street.

How to do the Survey
1 The route
Start at the place you consider to be the heart of the high street of your town. To do the Survey you simply need to walk along the high street and record the first 50 shops you pass. Services such as post-offices, banks, benefit offices, job centres, doctors’ surgeries and public buildings should not be counted. Ideally you should record 50 shops, but certainly no less than 40 and no more than 60.
2 Filling in the Survey
As you walk along the high street, fill in the form on the reverse side of this page. For each shop, you should note down:

· The type of shop
· Whether the shop is independently owned, or a part of regional, national or nternational chain.
The ownership of the shops on your high street is crucial to understanding its homeliness or ‘cloneliness’. If you’re not sure, go in and ask one of the staff..
3 The scoring
Once you have filled in the survey for 50 shops on your high street, you are ready to score your town and see whether it is, or is on its way to becoming, a clone town. This is determined by the number of different types of shops (i.e. diversity), and the number of chain stores versus independently owned shops (i.e. identity).
Follow the simple steps below to calculate your town’s score:
1. Add together the total number of types of shop on your high street.
2. Add together the total number of independently owned shops on your high street.
3. Multiply the total number of independently owned shops by 75, then divide this by the total number of shops.*

Example Blandton: A survey of 50 shops carried out on the high street of ‘Blandton’ found 18 different types of shops. It also revealed that, out of the 50 shops counted, 10 were independently owned and 40 were chains. ‘Blandton’ therefore received the following score:
With a score of 33 we see that ‘Blandton’ is indeed a Clone Town.
The Clone Town Britain Index measures both the identity and diversity of outlets on the core of the high street. It weights more for identity because ownership is critical to the health of the local economy and community. But diversity is important, and so is also included. Towns scoring below 50 on the scale are classified as Clone Towns. Over half of the stores counted are chains, and there is little diversity. Towns scoring over 65 are classified as Home Towns, where almost two thirds or more of the stores are independent, and there is a wide range of outlets. In between are ‘Border Towns,’ which are neither highly homogenised, nor strongly independent and diverse.


Coursework Options: Shopping comparison goods

This one usually requires a survey!
The theory: Some things we buy every day, and often go the most convenient place – hence convenience goods – that extra bottle of milk, the newspaper, a loaf of bread. The theory says that we won’t travel too far for these kind of things and many of us just walk there.
On the other hand, if you want to buy something more expensive, a one off, like a new bed or TV or a bike, then you want to think about it a bit, make sure you get a good deal and compare prices – convenience really does not come into it. So then you will go to a big shopping centre where you can visit more than one place to see what is there. This is why these are called comparison goods.
There is another bit of theory: this is to do with range and sphere of influence.
The range is how far people will travel to get to a particular place – so take a little local store – you might find that it has taken people 5 minutes or at the most 10 minutes to get there. But if you ask how long people took to get to a furniture store, they might say 40 minutes – now ordinarily, you would want a distance for the range, but it would be just as useful to find out how long it took them – but they might be able to give you time and distance. So you could establish how long it took them and how far and graph that.
The other point was a sphere of influence for both places. Get a mp and ask people to put spots on your map of where they came from. You could then show the area within which all the people came from – Google maps is great for drawing on – worth downloading – you might even be able to get some sort of estimated area for the sphere of reference.
You might also like to do a customer count – sit outside wherever and see how many people pass by/ enter over 30 minute period – preferably a similar time of day on a similar kind of day
Another bit of theory – shopping hierarchy:

Shopping.pngThe regional shopping centres (e.g. Meadowhall, The Metro Centre and Merryhill). Are the most important. Due to increased mobility (the result of increased car ownership) people can travel further to shops, visit shops with a wider range and volume of stock and buy in bulk.
For example the number of corner shops have reduced. This is the result of greater mobility, the limited and often expensive range of goods available and due to more people being paid monthly they buy in bulk from supermarkets.
In some areas CBDs ( which means Central business districts – the old town centre) have declined due to competition with regional shopping centres. Many shops have closed or moved to the shopping centre.

Threshold population – what is that? This is the size of the population needed to keep a facility open and profitable – so for example you may find that a pub or local store needs a few hundred whereas a bigger supermarket needs a few thousand while a major airport would need a few million.

What might you decide to do?

You might decide to look at the sphere of influence and the range of people that use a little local store with a big street shop or an out of town store:
How?: Get a map of each and get people to plot where they have come from and ask them how long it took them to get there and how they came and how often they visit – put that on graphs and diagrams and see if you can come up with pattern – note how the teacher (see below) says use geographical terms.
You might do a pedestrian count to see how many people use the each place in say 30 minute period and plot that.
You might examine the goods to see what sort of shopping hierarchy you are looking at.
Or you could plot the location of local stores and how far they are away from each other and then look at your shopping centre and see how many shops – comparison variety – are of similar type are close to each other – this would support the idea that comparison stores are closer to each other than convenience stores – they need to be far enough apart to have a threshold population big enough to stay open – but comparison goods stores tend to hang around in groups – so you would get several shoe shops in a big centres because different people want different types/prices of shoes!
Now please do not so all of these! It is pointing out the kind of thing you might do –
If it were me, I think I would try to collect 2 kinds of info – questionnaire + 1 other – why don’t you and your brother collect together r always a good idea to do these things in pairs and/or with an adult.

This is to give you ideas of the issues:

Here is a discussion between a teacher and student about a pieces of coursework that might be similar to the one you may do
Shopping Hierarchy
Revision points:
• In general, the larger the settlement, the greater the variety of shops and services. Convenience goods and groceries will be available in small settlements, though larger stores and comparison goods require a visit to a town or city. This is the shopping hierarchy.
• The threshold population is the number of people needed to ensure that a shop or service is profitable. A village shop may need a few hundred people to keep it going, but a large supermarket will need thousands of customers.
• The sphere of influence or catchment area is the distance or range that people are prepared to travel to buy goods or services. This idea is linked to the shopping hierarchy.
• The sphere of influence is dependent on factors such as transport links, availability of parking and quality of the environment. This makes more distant settlements more attractive to shoppers in some cases, despite the same goods being available more locally.
• The internet is rapidly changing the geography of retail, especially for groceries and certain comparison goods.

A teacher and a student discussing geography coursework.
Teacher: Your project was about shopping patterns wasn’t it?
Student: Yeah, I was looking at the ideas you taught us about sphere of influence and shopping hierarchy. I’m trying to prove that people will travel further to buy higher order goods such as jewellery, furniture or electrical equipment.
Teacher: So where did you do your fieldwork?
Student: I studied a hamlet called Pewton, a village called North Petherton and the town of Bridgewater. I also went up to Bristol.
Teacher: How did you start your research?
Student: I started by working out a shopping hierarchy. I counted the shops in the hamlet, Pewton and the village of North Petherton and estimated the total number of shops in Bridgewater which is a town. Then I looked at specialist shops like bike dealers, jewellers and also big furniture stores.
Teacher: What did you find out?
Student: That the larger the settlement, the more services it has, so Bristol has lots of shops as well as specialist shops. Pewton and North Petherton had fewer shops and they didn’t have any shops selling higher order goods. It’s quite obvious really.
Teacher: Have you explained what you mean by ‘high order goods’?
Student: Yes, I said that high order goods are more expensive so include items like televisions and furniture. People take their time choosing them. They are also called comparison goods. People will travel further to buy high order goods. I then explained that low order goods are things you buy regularly like bread and newspapers. They are also called convenience goods. People don’t want to travel very far to buy them.
Teacher: Can you think of a better expression than ‘people will travel further’?
Student: Is it ‘range’? High order goods have a higher range?
Teacher: Yes, that’s right. Do you remember when we looked at shopping hierarchy and I explained why larger settlements have higher order services such as shopping malls, outlet villages and flagship stores.
Student: You talked about threshold population?
Teacher: Yes that’s right. A village shop needs to be used by a few hundred people to stay profitable but a big furniture store like IKEA needs hundreds of thousands of customers to stay profitable.
Student: That is why there is only one IKEA for the whole of the South West in Bristol, because people are prepared to travel the distance and also why there are shopping malls in Bristol and not in the hamlet of Pewton.
Teacher: Exactly. Tell me what you did next.
Student: I thought of two hypotheses. The first being that people in North Petherton will travel further to buy higher order goods. The second being that towns such as Bridgewater and Taunton will have a similar sphere of influence because they are roughly the same size, but more people from the village of North Petherton will visit Bridgewater because it’s slightly closer. I did a questionnaire in the village.
Teacher: Why did you choose to do your questionnaire in North Petherton?
Student: I chose it because the village has a few local shops and it’s roughly between two towns of similar sizes Taunton and Bridgewater. Bristol is about 30 miles away.
Teacher: OK, so you carried out this questionnaire. Have you explained why you asked the questions?
Student: Yes, I wanted to know where people went to buy 5 different products: milk, a toothbrush, CDs, shoes and furniture. I expected to find people using the local convenience store in North Petherton for milk and a toothbrush. After that I expected them to visit either Bridgewater or Taunton for the CDs and shoes. For furniture I thought people would go to Bristol.
Teacher: Did the results surprise you?
Student: Yes, I found that some people never shopped in North Petherton for anything. And from those that did shop locally it was mainly older people who didn’t want to travel very far for stuff.
Most people went to Bridgewater or Taunton for their food shopping. That’s because people with cars tend to visit supermarkets rather than their local shops along the high street. One person said that the local shops in North Petherton were too expensive compared to supermarket prices – even for very basic things.
Teacher: Where did people buy CDs and shoes from?
Student: I found that quite a lot of people bought CDs on the internet. For shoes, the majority of people went to Taunton even though Bridgewater is closer. When I asked why they said it was because there are more shoe shops in Taunton. Also it’s easy to get to on the M5 motorway. Some people even bought furniture from Taunton but most went up to Bristol to the IKEA store.
Teacher: So what have you concluded?
Student: I decided that my first hypothesis is correct. People definitely travel further to buy higher order goods. My second one was disproved though. The catchment area of Taunton was wider than Bridgewater even though Bridgewater is closer to North Petherton. That’s because people thought there was more choice in Taunton and some people also said it was a nicer town centre with better parking. Bristol has the biggest sphere of influence when it comes to buying expensive goods. For furniture the IKEA store attracts people from the rest of the South West.
Teacher: Well, it sounds as though your project is going very well. Don’t forget to use as many geographical terms as possible. I’m sure you’ll get a good mark!

Coursework Options: River

These all really need 2 people – grab a parent!!
Several of these hypotheses are possible:

· River velocity is not controlled by gradient downstream (or just River velocity decreases as you go downstream – gradient decreases, but does the velocity)
Need to collect: speed of river and gradient (see below)

· River velocity is not related to river discharge
Need velocity and also a cross section – only possible in shallow river or off a foot bridge – no goos if too deep

· River velocity is not related to channel efficiency, as measured by hydraulic radius
Only shallow river or as above

· Bed load becomes less rounded with increasing distance from the source
Need chart

River velocity:
What you need- a supply of oranges, a 5 metre or 10 length of … washing line? A stop watch, What you do: Measure the time taken by a float to go a fixed distance – best float – an orange! Bright, it floats its round and so less likely to get caught up on things, its cheap if you loose it. Measure about 10 metres of river - using a bit of old washing line perhaps? – drop ornage off bridge or from middle of river and use stopwatch to time how long it takes to go 10 metres – repeat at least 3 or maybe 5 times and average – speed = Distance/time will give you metres per sec.
Repeat in at least 2 or preferably more other places

What you need: 5 or 10 metre length –see above, spirit level and tape measure
While you have your measuring length on the ground – Have person at top end hold spirit level along rope – get person at lower end to raise it until the spirit level reads horizontal – read height of lower end above the ground – repeat wherever you fine a velocity

What you need: washing line or similar – garden cane or similar marked off in 5cm distances, felt tip pen.
What you do: If you are using the paddling method: find the ‘bank full level – this is where the water can reach without overflowing – it will be like a shoulder where the bank flattens out and will be the same on each side. Fix the washing line to one bank, pull it tight and level and fix it to the other bank. Use felt tip pen to mark one bank where the water starts and then every 10 cm until you reach the other bank – not exactly how wide the water is. Then using your measuring stick, line it up with each felt tip mark and note the depth at each point. This will be plotted on graph paper and by counting squares, work out the cross-section.
The discharge is then speed per second x cross-section at each point!

To get the hydraulic radius
you need: to have the cross-section graph again – and find the wetted perimenter like this:
Hydraulic radius = cross-sectional area divided by wetted perimeter
The higher the number, the more efficient the river is at transporting the water through it – if the hydraulic radius is increased by smoothing out some of the bumps, then it is less likely to flood
Now this last one I would say is the easiest!
Using this stone board
Classify each of a sample of 10 stones from several sites going down stream and measure the longitudinal axes. Work out a way to results maybe putting both results on the one graph? If so, use a different colour for each site and see if you can pick up a pattern.

Coursework Options: Urban study

Urban_models.pngThere are 2 models of land use that have been established.
The Land-use zones identified in the models are:
1. CBD (Central Business District) - located at the centre of the city often at the convergence of rail and road routes. Contains many commerical activities, shops, entertainment and also business activities.
2. Inner City (also known as the Twilight or Transition Zone) - mixed land-use containing small industries as well as high-density residential land-use - often characterised by terraced housing.
3. Inner Suburbs - residential areas which developed during the 1920s/30s - often semi-detached houses in a distinctive 1920s/30s style with bay windows and front / back gardens.
4. Outer Suburbs - residential areas which grew up later as greater public transport and private car ownership allowed people to live further out from their places of work. These houses are often semi-detached / detached with larger gardens and garages.
5. Rural-urban fringe - this is right on the edge of towns and cities and is mainly low density, private housing (often larger detached properties); new industrial estates / business parks and facilities requiring larger open spaces such as golf courses.
See pages 144-145 in the textbook and
Rob Chambers has good stuff on the above link (this where I got the graphic from!)
I can think of several hypotheses:
1. Does your town fit either of the established models?
Method – (a) armed with digi camera and map collect evidence along a transect from the centre to the outside On Google /Maps zoom in and fill in terrace/semis and detached housing and commercial districts on map and attach small picture taken on transect. Then write up your conclusion.

2. Does the quality of housing increase with its distance from the CBD?
Method: similar to the above – but add a secondary search – line graph distance from CBD with cost from estate agents and comment on the pattern

3. Does the environmental quality increase with distance from the CBD?
Here is one sort of environmental quality survey

Coursework Options: Microclimate

  • To investigate microclimatic data at a small scale, within a school grounds, or large scale, for example an urban transect passing from green-belt through a variety of city environments.
  • To investigate the abiotic conditions of different parts of a particular ecosystem.
  • To investigate diurnal or seasonal changes in the microclimate.
  • To investigate the influence of microclimate on something, for example the distribution of a particular species of plant or vegetation cover.
  • To compare different locations.
  • To investigate the affect of topography on microclimates.
  • To investigate the impact of human interference, or features of the built environment on the microclimates of different locations.
  • To investigate the most suitable location for something.
  • To link with and incorporate into ecosystem investigations.
  • To link with other data, for example soil analysis, invertebrate data.
Microclimates: Why not try...?
  • The old classic - the most suitable site for...?
  • Assess the possible impacts of a new building on microclimates, e.g. the building of a new science block.
  • Ask a question, e.g. Why is site x so popular with sunbathers? Do the buildings at site y create wind tunnels (known as the venturi effect)?
  • How much does vegetation cover affect microclimatic conditions? Different types, densities or ages of vegetation communities could be investigated.
  • How do microclimates affect people's activities or their perceptions of place? E.g. questionnaires to investigate how pupils view and use different areas in the school grounds?
  • How does proximity to water affect microclimates?
  • How large or wide an area of microclimate is affected by buildings?
  • During a heat wave - how much more extreme are the microclimates of urban areas?
  • Considering hedgerows as microclimates - how do they affect local conditions and what might be the ecological impact of their removal? You could link this with ecosystem data.

Coursework Options: Tourism

Coursework Options:

Tourism and recreation - Investigating the impact of tourism and recreation

A choice of Aims
  • To investigate recreational provision in a community or area.
  • To investigate the vulnerability (risk of closure) of a particular facility, and the feasibility of it remaining open.
  • To survey the need for a particular type of facility or amenity.
  • To compare the perceptions of recreational facilities amongst residents and visitors.
  • To investigating diurnal and seasonal variations in the use of recreational facilities, for example high and low seasons in a tourist resort.
  • To study the impact of new developments on the tourist industry in an area
  • To investigate the causes and effects of honey-pot sites.
  • To investigate the provision and quality urban open spaces.
  • To conduct cost and quality surveys of recreational facilities.
  • To investigate the impact of a stadium on match days or a theme park on the local area.
  • To investigate the benefits of tourism to the local area.
  • Digital camera and sketching materials.
  • Interview / questionnaire sheets ( not necessarily! – I know how you feel about that)
  • Base maps for recording land use and (tourist) facilities
  • Conflict matrix
  • User tally charts
  • Environmental quality and perception study sheets
1. Provision
  • Sketch or photograph the sites and annotate with the main features and additional information.
  • Conduct land-use surveys to record the location of facilities, colour coding them according to type. Label the main access routes and supporting infrastructure, for example car parks.
  • Obtain secondary information on the site or facility that you are studying, for example historical photos showing changes in land-use, newspaper articles, tourist leaflets and price lists. Use this information to compare current and past provision.
  • Comment on the quality of the provision and identify any ‘weak' or ‘lacking' areas. Outline the need for further provision. Completing perception surveys will support your comments.
2. Usage
  • Carry out pedestrian counts (this can also be done by age or gender) at different times of the day or year (if you're comparing high and low season) and in different weather conditions.
  • From a vantage point, observe the movements of people and plot these on a base map. For example, the movement of people from the car park at a honey pot site. Again, pedestrian movements can be classified according to age, gender or family group and the type of activity they are undertaking. Surveys can be carried out at different times of the day and under different weather conditions.
  • Survey tax disks in the car park to estimate the distance people have travelled to the site. Bear in mind that many drivers now purchase their tax discs online so it's harder to trace where they come from, but as an alternative, the new style registration plates can be traced to the vehicle's point of sale.
  • Conduct questionnaires with visitors to the site to more accurately establish the distance they have travelled, the frequency and reasons for their visit, and their opinions about the site.
3. Impact
  • Develop and complete a conflict matrix for the site (see Figure 1). Write all possible users of the site along both axes and complete by adding a tick if there is potential conflict between the users, and a cross if there is not.
external image clip_image002.jpgCOP_1.png

Figure 1
  • Support the findings of your conflict matrix with perception surveys, for example adjectival pairs or bi-polar analysis to gain user perceptions and compare the opinions of residents and tourists.
  • Complete environmental quality surveys and collect data on noise pollution and footpath erosion.
  • Use your results to identify issues and inform possible management suggestions for the future of the site.
Considerations and possible limitations
  • A clear focus for the project should be established. The scale of the study should be large enough to be representative but not so large as to be unmanageable and lack focus.
  • There is a time issue with comparing high and low seasons.
  • Conflict matrices are subjective.
  • It can be very difficult to organise interviews with site managers or to obtain information from attractions on their visitor numbers or profit margins
1. Landscape evaluation and quality surveys
  • Decide on the criteria for the survey, and the scoring or ranking system you will use. For example, a scoring system of 0-5, where 0 = inadequate, 1 = satisfactory, 2 = fair, 3 = good, 4 = very good, 5 = excellent (see Figure 2). Or, you could have a different scoring system for each set of criteria, with weighting depending on how important you consider the criteria to be. For example, the value of an important factor could be multiplied by 10.
  • Decide on the sampling strategy and identify the sites. Mark these on a base map of the area, and also label any other significant and relevant features.
  • Decide whether you are going to complete the evaluation yourself at each site, or distribute it to different user groups to complete. You may want to compare people's opinions by, for example, age or gender. ( guess you would do them all yourself?)
This one was for a community park but you could use with a few changes
Another method is called Bi-polar surveys
Adjectival pairs
  • Opposite adjectives are chosen and written down - some should be fact based, for examples ‘historical' and ‘modern'. Others should be value based, for example ‘ugly' and ‘attractive'.
  • Different users can be asked to place a cross on a line between the pairs of adjectives, or assign a score for a particular variable (see below).
Detailed bi-polar analysis
  • Build up a good personal knowledge of the area prior to your fieldwork in order to develop relevant and detailed criteria for the survey.
  • The scale for the bi-polar survey should be decided and the record sheets developed (see Figure 4).
  • Visit and study each site and allocate scores systematically for each criterion. It helps to share the work amongst a group of people as it saves time and reduces bias
  • ‘Half' scores are possible if it is decided that the score should be between two categories.
Notes, photos and sketches can be used to support the judgements given.
external image clip_image008.jpgCOP_4.png
Considerations and possible limitations
  • Using closed questions or categories for the scale will quantify judgements, aiding statistical analysis.
  • It's hard to assign real scientific value to judgement surveys as they are, after all, just people's opinions shaped by experience, age, gender, peer and family views, cultural background and upbringing.
  • Subjectivity is unavoidable, but there are ways of reducing it and therefore increasing validity:
  • Weighting more important criteria by multiplying or dividing the scores given. Scores can also be split, if they do not clearly fall into one category or another.
  • Cover as wide a range of criteria as possible, and give detailed descriptions of each criterion to improve accuracy.
  • Put personal views aside.
  • The scoring system should be carefully thought through and developed; each person carrying out the survey must be fully confident with how it should be applied - carrying out pilot surveys as a group or looking at photographs and scoring them will improve the accuracy of the study.
  • The sites must be representative of the area as a whole, and pilot surveys should be conducted to identify representative sites.
  • When surveying multiple sites it may still be hard to develop a scoring system or set of criteria which are applicable to every site.

Things to do with Google maps

Some field work skills and data - river one especially good! Virtual fieldwork

An excellent site by Rob Chambers called Geobytes coursework - giving all sorts of hints and tips as to what you need to be able to do.

This site is actually linked to a textbook. It had downloadable pdf files of additional coursework methods and ideas beyond those found in the book. It would be well worth downloading a few to find out a variety of methods that can be applied to coursework for your final exam paper