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Researching everyday geographies

This module equips you with the tools required to undertake an extended piece of independent research on how geographical relations shape a dimension of your everyday life. The module uses diverse scholarship on everyday geographies to walk you through the key strands of the research process and help you to identify and develop your research topic. You'll then have dedicated time to further progress, write and submit a 7000-word dissertation on that topic. Throughout, you're offered the conceptual and practical resources to recognise and address the relations of power that shape the production of academic knowledge.

What you will study

This module offers you the opportunity, sensibilities, knowledge, and skills to undertake an independent investigation of how geographical relations shape a dimension of your everyday life, and culminates in the submission of a 7000-word dissertation.  The module is structured primarily so that you're guided through the process of translating an initial matter of concern related to your everyday life into a geographical research question about which data can be generated, analysis undertaken, and findings produced.

The five blocks of the module are organised as follows:

  • Block 1: Questioning – producing a geographical research question
  • Block 2: Situating – producing a geographical literature review
  • Block 3: Generating – producing geographical data through research design and investigation
  • Block 4: Analysing – producing geographical insights through exploration of the data generated
  • Block 5: Writing – producing geographical research outputs from all available materials
Each block is structured into three teaching weeks, that have been designed around a particular conversation:
  • In the first week, the focus is on introducing you to what the research strand you're focusing on in the block involves, why researchers do it, and what it means to do it carefully
  • In the second week, the focus of the conversation is on demonstrating how diverse geographical scholarships on routines (Block 2), infrastructures (Block 3), encounters (Block 4), and remaking (Block 5) can help you develop a geographically informed account of the dimension of your everyday life that becomes the focus of your dissertation
  • In the third week, the focus of the conversation is offering you a set of broad principles and then practical steps through which you can operationalise what you have learned about research in that block in terms of progressing your dissertation project

For the first two-thirds of the module your study will involve you reading a 5000-word chapter and working through a set of online materials that bring to life, build on, and extend the book material. Then for the final third, you'll have minimal substantive new module materials to engage with so you can focus on continuing your research and generating your dissertation.

Throughout, the module is informed by an ethos that centres the contribution of diverse geographical scholarships especially as they help flesh out both what a careful geographical research practice might look like (and why it is so important), and how to think about the everyday relationally (and what difference that makes).

Entry requirements

This is an OU level 3 dissertation module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at OU levels 1 and 2 and should be studied as part of a qualification.

Normally, you should have successfully completed OU level 1 and level 2 modules that contain a substantial Geography component before you study D325.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module – and especially if you have not previously passed Changing geographies of the United Kingdom (D225) – please contact an adviser.

Preparatory work

Studying the OU level 1 module Environment (U116) and either Investigating the social world (DD103) (now discontinued) or the new module planned for October 2023, Global challenges: social science in action (D113), is recommended. Also, the OU level 2 modules Environment and society (DD213) and Changing geographies of the United Kingdom (D225). 

What's included

You will be provided with the two core module books and have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • module materials
  • audio and video content
  • learning activities
  • assessment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll receive help and support from your assigned tutor throughout the module. They’ll help you by:

  • marking your assignments and providing detailed feedback to help you improve.
  • providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module forums.

Your tutor will also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part. If you want to participate, we recommend use of a headset with a microphone.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying D325 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Researching everyday geographies (D325) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2023. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2031.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school