Creative fieldwork

Creative fieldwork contains ideas for 11 innovative approaches to fieldwork in A level Geography. There is a balanced mix of physical and human themes, including:

  • Systems field sketch – annotating field sketches to show inputs, flows, stores and outputs. Great for water and carbon cycle.
  • Hudson’s equation – adapting methods from civil engineering to assess the effectiveness of hard coastal defences. A new quantitative element to coastal defence fieldwork.
  • Cliff surveys – adapting the Cliff Instability Susceptibility Assessment from geology.
  • Sound and smell mapping – including the emotional response to sounds and smells. Useful for place studies.
  • Observation – introduce your students to the systematic observation of the presence, movement and interactions of people. Collect data on people’s actual lived experience of places.
  • Diaries – participant and researcher diaries are a rich source of qualitative data. Use coding for analysis.

Each fieldwork method has been tested and refined with 16-19 students at FSC Field Centres.

Creative approaches to fieldwork are an invaluable part of the geography teacher’s repertoire. While there is always a place for traditional ‘walk and talk’, creative fieldwork seeks to engage students with issues and questions that they think are important and worthwhile. Creativity in fieldwork helps students acquire and retain geographical knowledge because it engages the emotional dimension of learning. It provides structured opportunities for students to construct new knowledge and understanding for themselves.

Creative fieldwork was produced in partnership with the Geographical Association.