GY315 Research Methods R10

30493 001 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm MTWR Martin Hall 203

Professor: Dr. Miriam Helen Hill
Office Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 11:30 a.m.--12:30 p.m.
by e-mail or WWW by appointment in the virtual classroom or AOL IM
E-mail address: or (the jsu forwards to the former)
Telephone: (256) 782-8063

Prerequisite: EH 101 and EH 102; GY 250 and GY 251 or GL 241, and GY 220. Also, MS204 should precede this class. Exceptions by permission of the professor.

Course Description: Research Methods I (3). Prerequisites: EH 101 and 102, GY 250 and 252 or 251 and 253 or GL 241 and 243, and GY 220. Design and preparation of a geographic research proposal, with emphasis on problem identification, methodology design and literature review.

Text: Robin Flowerdew and David Martin, Methods in Human Geography: A Guide for Students Doing a Research Project, 2nd, New York: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005; 978-0-582-47321-8

Library and internet resources will also be utilized.

Course Materials: USB Key (minimum 500 M size); traditional office supplies, report writing materials, Microsoft Office Professional 2007.

Other resources: Access to the World Wide Web is required and available through university facilities. Students are expected to be familiar with computers and Microsoft Office 2007. ArcGIS 9.3.1 will be used.

Class homepage: The class homepage is at and also can be reached through the link on Dr. Hill's homepage at This syllabus will also be linked to the class homepage. The websites may change to .

Comment: As a four week course, the purpose of the course will be to acquire basic understanding of the process of undertaking science research. A simplified research project will be undertaken rather than preliminary work for a senior thesis.

Grading: Class activities and participation will count 10%, and the research proposal will count 30%, the research report will count 30%, and the presentation will count 30%. Late work will be penalized 10% per class session. Work is due at the beginning of class on the date indicated. Guaranteed percentage grades will be: above 90% A; 80-90% B; 70-80% C; 60-70% D; below 60% F. Papers without names or with illegible names will earn NO CREDIT.

Class activities and participation: Students are expected to attend class sessions and to be involved in the class work and discussions unless exempted through prior agreement.

Reading assignments: Read the assignments BEFORE the designated class session.

Research proposal: The research proposal will count for 30% of the grade. The format must follow the prescribed structure using all headings and subheadings. The font must be Times New Roman 12 point written with Microsoft Office 2007 using the full functionality of the Reference Ribbon. All sources must be thoroughly and correctly documented. The format of documentation for the research report will be APA as defined by Microsoft Office 2007. (Note that the functionality of MS Office will be used to alter the documentation format for the research report.)

Research report: The research report will count for 30% of the grade. The format must follow the prescribed structure using all headings and subheadings. Other requirements match those of the research proposal EXCEPT that the format of documentation will be Turabian as defined by Microsoft Office 2007.

Presentation: The research report will be presented in a formal class symposium and supplemented with a PowerPoint in MS Office 2007 format. The format must follow the prescribed structure using all headings and subheadings. Documentation of sources shown in the Powerpoint will be in Turabian format. The PowerPoint file will be submitted into Blackboard. The approximate length of the presentation should be fifteen minutes.

Attendance: Attendance is expected and the benefits are inherent. Note, however, that the student is responsible for the material and activities covered during any and all missed sessions AND for SUBMITTING THE ASSIGNMENTS before the designated time.

Class membership: Class members are expected to answer and ask questions, be involved in activities, and to facilitate an educational academic atmosphere. Proper attitude and behavior are expected. At all times presence should facilitate a smooth flow of intellectual ideas, knowledge, and intelligent discussion. Failure to contribute or promote this important goal will risk grade penalties.

All materials presented in this class are done so with educational goals in mind and are not intended to cause distress of any nature. Please be aware that controversial materials, theories, exhibits, etc. will be presented in this class. If you are unwilling or unable to view these presentations in the educational light in which they are presented, then you need to reconsider your enrollment in this class.

Additional Comments: During class sessions, other bonus points might be offered. These are only available to the students in attendance that day. Bonus credit is possible for exceptional meritorious performance or behavior in all categories of grading. No individual extra credit papers, projects, or activities will be allowed.

Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty is defined to include any form of cheating or plagiarism. A discussion of the topic is set forth in the student handbook. Working and studying with classmates are beneficial and to be encouraged. Copying work is not to be confused with comparing work and discussing similarities and differences. You are responsible for both understanding answers submitted and the completion of the materials. All sources must be cited and correctly documented. The use of MS Office reference toolbar is required.

Disabilities: According to Public Law 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Jacksonville State University will provide reasonable access and appropriate accommodations for otherwise qualified disabled students. If you need such access or accommodations, please consult with Disability Support Services and your professor immediately.

You will need: Bring ALL of your texts, equipment, class notes, paper, pencil, and other related materials to each class meeting.

Questions or problems: Please contact the professor. Asking questions is an extremely important part of the learning process.

Class Schedule: Use the outline provided to complete the assigned readings and activities BEFORE class on the designated dates. Specific readings generally will not be announced in class.

Reading Assignments: Use the outline provided to read the chapters in the text BEFORE the designated date. Specific readings generally will not be announced in class.


Date: MayDayChapterSTopicDUE
3 M 1 Scientific method 
4 T 2 and 3 Philosophy and data set 
5 W 17 and 18 Format structure and Word 2007 
6 R 4 and 5 Literature Review hypothesis
10 M 6 Questionnaires and sampling 
11 T 11, 12, and 13 Analysis 
12 W 14 and 15 Analysis continued  
13 R 16 GIS 
17 M 19 IllustrationPROPOSAL
18 T 7 Interviews 
19 W 8, 9, and 10 Engagement 
20 R 20 Conclusions 
24 M   Presentation and display REPORT
25 T  Professionalism 
26 W   Symposium PRESENTATION
27 R   Review 
*Any major changes to this schedule will be announced in class.
All grades are final at 3:30 p.m. CST on May 27, 2010.