Barcelona Field Studies Centre

AQA AS/A Level GCE 2016 Geography Fieldwork

AS Level Component Physical geography and people and the environment Human geography and geography fieldwork investigation
Weighting 50% 50%
Marks 80 80
Key areas of Content Section A: Water and carbon cycles or Coastal systems and landscapes or Glacial systems and landscapes
Section B: Hazards or Contemporary urban environments
Section A: Changing places
Section B: Geography fieldwork investigation and geographical skills
Optionality Options in Sections A and B
Skills Quantitative and qualitative skills within landscape systems Geographical skills assessed in Section B
Fieldwork Fieldwork skills assessed in Section B
Synopticity
Question styles Multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response and extended prose Multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response and extended prose
AQA A Level Component Physical Geography Human Geography Geography Fieldwork Investigation
Weighting 40% 40% 20%
Marks 120 120 60
Key areas of Content Section A: Water and carbon cycles
Section B: Hot desert systems and landscapes or Coastal systems and landscapes or Glacial systems and landscapes
Section C: Hazards or Ecosystems under stress
Section A: Global systems and global governance
Section B: Changing places
Section C: either Contemporary urban environments or Population and the environment or Resource security
From any unit
Optionality Options within Section B and C Options within Section C
Skills Topic-specific Topic-specific Fieldwork skills
Synopticity Embedded within assessment
Question styles Multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response and extended prose Multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response and extended prose Project 3000-4000 words

Our field studies for the new AQA 2016 AS and A Level GCE Geography courses cover the Fieldwork and Geographical skills, including data manipulation and statistics, that students need. We support students in the development of their Independent Enquiry Question, choice of methodology and the carrying out of their Primary Data collection. Students will be provided with links to secondary data, including census information, newspaper articles and local websites and blogs.


We provide schools in advance with:

  • a fieldwork methodology student 'tool kit' of sampling and statistical methods and example worksheets tailored to our range of field studies
  • detailed background to our studies
  • links to census data and other relevant research material
  • a list of the syllabus themes that link to the studies.

A typical A Level group will undertake 2/3 human and physical studies that lend themselves to a wide range of hypotheses linked to the syllabus themes. Students then develop their own Individual Investigation titles.

AQA AS level (7036)

Fieldwork skills will be assessed within Section B: Geography fieldwork investigation and geographical skills. The specific elements of fieldwork which are required within AS Level Geography are outlined in the Fieldwork Skills tab.


Students must be taught and may be asked questions on any of the following:

  • preparation for fieldwork, including background reading, drawing up aims and objectives for the enquiry, planning research in the field and from secondary sources, using data sampling techniques and carrying out health and safety procedures;

  • collection of primary data in the field and using secondary data sources;

  • processing and presenting data using relevant graphical and cartographical techniques;

  • analysing data, including using statistical techniques where relevant;

  • drawing conclusions related back to the original aims and objectives and linking these conclusions to both the place studied and the general ideas forming the basis of the enquiry;

  • reviewing the success, or otherwise, of all stages of the enquiry;

  • considering how the enquiry could be further developed;


Fieldwork is required to be undertaken for at least 2 days including both human and physical geography.


AQA A Level (7037)

Assessment of fieldwork skills will be within the Geography Fieldwork Investigation. The specific elements of fieldwork which are required within A Level Geography are outlined in the Fieldwork Skills tab.


Students will use a variety of relevant quantitative, qualitative and fieldwork skills to:

  • investigate geographical questions and issues
  • interpret, analyse and evaluate data and evidence
  • construct arguments and draw conclusions.

Fieldwork is required to be undertaken for at least 4 days including both human and physical geography.


The descriptions in the table below specify the level of independence required by students at different stages of their investigation.

Investigation stage Level of independence In Practice
Exploring focus Collaboration allowed. Students may discuss together, and with their teacher, ideas and research for appropriate geographical questions. Students have a free choice of investigations focusing on any of the compulsory or optional content and they may be provided with a range of themes.
Title of the investigation, focus of investigation (sub-questions), purpose of investigation. Independent work Students must provide a clear justification and contextualisation of how their enquiry will help them to address their title and explore their theme.
Devising methodology and sampling framework Collaboration allowed Students may collaborate when planning and selecting methodologies / sampling strategies
Primary data collection Collaboration allowed Primary data collection may be carried out individually or in groups.
Secondary data collection Independent work Students select secondary sources of data on their own.
Data/information presentation Independent work Students select and use appropriate data presentation methods on their own.
Data analysis and explanation Independent work Students select and use appropriate data analysis techniques and independently interpret and analyse the results.
Conclusions and evaluation Independent work Students evaluate the findings of their investigation and reach a balanced and supported conclusion on their own.

AQA AS Level Geography
Students will not be asked to hand in a completed enquiry although, for the exam, they do need to be familiar with all the stages of fieldwork-based enquiry. Students must be taught and may be asked questions on any of the following:

  • preparation for fieldwork, including background reading, drawing up aims and objectives for the enquiry, planning research in the field and from secondary sources, using data sampling techniques and carrying out health and safety procedures;

  • collection of primary data in the field and using secondary data sources;

  • processing and presenting data using relevant graphical and cartographical techniques;

  • analysing data, including using statistical techniques where relevant. Drawing conclusions related back to the original aims and objectives and linking these conclusions to both the place studied and the general ideas forming the basis of the enquiry;

  • reviewing the success, or otherwise, of all stages of the enquiry;

  • considering how the enquiry could be further developed.


AQA A Level Geography
Students are required to undertake an individual investigation that must:
(a) be based on a research question or issue defined and developed by the student individually to address aims, questions and/or hypotheses relating to any part of the specification content;
(b) involve research of relevant literature sources and an understanding of the theoretical or comparative context for a research question/hypothesis;
(c) incorporate the observation and recording of field data and/or evidence from field investigations that is of good quality and relevant to the topic under investigation;
(d) involve justification of the practical approaches adopted in the field including frequency/timing of observation, sampling and data collection approaches;
(e) draw on the student's own research, including their own field data and/or secondary data, and their experience of field methodologies of the investigation of core human and physical processes;
(f) demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the techniques appropriate for analysing field data and information and for representing results, and show ability to select suitable quantitative or qualitative approaches and to apply them;
(g) demonstrate the ability to interrogate and critically examine field data in order to comment on its accuracy and/or the extent to which it is representative, and use the experience to extend geographical understanding;
(h) require the student to independently contextualise, analyse and summarise findings and data, and to draw conclusions, by applying existing knowledge, theory and concepts to order and understand field observations and identify their relation to the wider context;
(i) involve the writing up of field results clearly, logically and coherently using a range of presentation methods and extended writing;
(j) demonstrate the ability to answer a specific geographical question drawing effectively on evidence and theory to make a well-argued case;
(k) require evaluation and reflection on the investigation including showing an understanding of the ethical dimensions of field research.

AQA A Level Geography Independent Investigation

AQA FIELD STUDY OPTIONS STUDY LOCATION SPECIFICATION THEMES
Water cycle
Changes in channel characteristics River Tordera Case study of a river catchment to include changes in channel flow and implications for sustainable water supply.
Increasing flood risk Riera de Ribes Changes in the water cycle over time including storm events and human impact.
Carbon Cycle
Woodland carbon sequestration Mas Mel, Calafell
Arid landscape development
Study under development Tabernas desert, Almería
  • The physical factors which influence the formation of landforms within the dryland landscape system
  • the inter-relationship of a range of landforms within the dryland landscape system
Coastal landscape development
Coastal landscapes Sitges The formation of distinctive coastal landforms of erosion and deposition.
Coastal landforms Sitges Case studies of one high energy coastline and one low energy coastline to illustrate the physical factors which influence the formation of landforms within the landscape system and the inter-relationship of a range of landforms within the characteristic landscape system.
Coastal management strategies Sitges Case study of one coastal landscape that is being managed, including:
  • the management strategy being implemented and the reason for its implementation
  • the consequence of these changes on the landscape, such as extension of the coastal landscape seawards.
Beach morphology Sitges The effect of coastal management in changing coastal landforms, such as changes in beach profiles
Sediment budgets Sitges The impacts of coastal management on processes and flows of material and/or energy through the coastal system, such as their effect on the sediment budget
Coastal development impact Sitges Case study of one coastal landscape that is being used by people to illustrate:
  • the economic development taking place and the reasons for it taking place
  • their unintentional impacts on processes and flows of material and/or energy through the coastal system
  • the effect of these impacts in changing coastal landforms, such as beach profiles
  • the consequence of these changes on the landscape, such as coastal retreat or protection.
Glaciated Landscapes
Study under development Pyrenees Case study of a landscape associated with the action of valley glaciers.
Hazards
Volcanic processes and landforms Garrotxa The nature and impact of vulcanicity.
Seismic processes and landforms Garrotxa The nature and impact of seismicity.
Flash flooding: causes, impacts and management Riera de Ribes Origin and nature of natural hazards and the various ways in which people respond to them.
Ecosystems under stress
Sand dune ecosystem: human impact and management Gavà sand dunes Nature and properties of the ecosystem, human impact upon it and the challenges and opportunities presented in its sustainable development.
Changing places
To what extent do the place profiles of two inner city areas differ? El Raval and 22@ New Technologies District, Barcelona. Demographic, socio-economic, cultural, political, built and natural environment characteristics of two contrasting local areas.
The impact of shifting flows on two contrasting inner city districts El Raval and 22@ New Technologies District, Barcelona How shifting flows of people, resources, money and investment and ideas (such as knowledge economy) have helped shape the demographic, socio-economic and cultural profile of these places over time.
Changes to places can lead to tension and conflict El Raval, Barcelona How external agencies, including government, corporate bodies and community or local groups make attempts to influence or create specific place-meanings and thereby shape the actions and behaviours of individuals, groups, businesses and institutions.
Urban regeneration and social exclusion El Raval and 22@ New Technologies District, Barcelona Local place study exploring the developing character of a place local to the home or study centre. Contrasting place study exploring the developing character of a contrasting and distant place. Both place studies must focus equally on people's lived experience of the place in the past and at present and either
  • changing demographic and cultural characteristics or
  • economic change and social inequalities.
Contemporary urban environments
Impact of de-industrialisation 22@ New Technologies District Processes of economic change can create opportunities for some while creating and exacerbating social inequality for others.
Urban regeneration and social exclusion in El Raval El Raval, Barcelona Issues associated with economic inequality, social segregation and cultural diversity in contrasting urban areas. Strategies to manage these issues.
Rebranding industrial heritage: Poblenou’s 22@ project 22@ New Technologies District Issues associated with economic inequality, social segregation and cultural diversity in contrasting urban areas. Strategies to manage these issues.

Edexcel AS/A Level GCE 2016 Geography Fieldwork Edexcel International AS/A Level 2016 Geography Fieldwork OCR AS/A Level GCE 2016 Geography Fieldwork WJEC AS/A Level GCE 2016 Geography Fieldwork AS/A Level GCE 2016 Syllabus Comparisons