Barcelona Field Studies Centre

Edexcel International A/AS level Geography Fieldwork

AS Level Component Global Challenges Geographical Investigations
Weighting 60% 40%
Marks 90 60
Key areas of Content There are two compulsory topics that form this unit:
  • Topic 1: World at Risk
  • Topic 2: Going Global
There are two compulsory topics that form this unit:
  • Topic 1: Crowded Coasts
  • Topic 2: Urban Problems, Planning and Regeneration
Optionality Choice of World at Risk or Going Global longer/guided essay questions in Section B Section C: choice of one fieldwork question, on either Crowded Coasts or Urban Problems, Planning and Regeneration.
Skills Topic-specific Fieldwork skills
Fieldwork None Three fieldwork questions in Sections A, B and C
Synopticity No No
Question styles Data response and short-answer questions, longer/guided essay questions. Section A: data response and short-answer questions on Crowded Coasts and Urban Problems, Planning and Regeneration.
Section B: compulsory short-answer questions on research and fieldwork investigation.
Section C: choice of one fieldwork question, on either Crowded Coasts or Urban Problems, Planning and Regeneration.
A Level Component Contested Planet Researching Geography
Weighting 60% 40%
Marks 90 60
Key areas of Content Section A – compulsory topics:
  • Topic A1: Atmosphere and Weather Systems
  • Topic A2: Biodiversity Under Threat
Section B – optional topics:
  • Topic B1: Energy Security or Topic B2: Water Conflicts
Section C – optional topics:
  • Topic C1: Superpower Geographies or Topic C2: Bridging the Development Gap
Select one of 4 research options:
  • Option 1: Tectonic Activity and Hazards
  • Option 2: Feeding the World’s People
  • Option 3: Cultural Diversity: People and Landscapes
  • Option 4: Human Health and Disease
Optionality Sections B and C Optionality One of four options
Skills Topic-specific Topic-specific
Synopticity Section A
Question styles Section A: longer/guided essay questions and a synoptic question.
Section B: choice of one data response/essay question from two topics (B1 or B2).
Section C: choice of one data response/essay question from two topics (C1 or C2).
Pre-release material of research focus questions relating to each of the four options. One question to be answered that relates to the option studied.

Our field studies for the Edexcel 2016 International AS and A Level Geography courses cover the Fieldwork and Geographical skills, including data manipulation and statistics, that students need. We support students in the development of their Geographical Investigation, choice of methodology and the carrying out of their Primary Data collection and research. 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.

Students must complete a minimum of two days of fieldwork (excluding research time). Research and fieldwork must be carried out in relation to processes in physical geography (Topic 1: Crowded Coasts) or human geography (Topic 2: Urban Problems, Planning and Regeneration).

Research and fieldwork will be assessed in the Unit 2 examination paper – Sections B and C. These questions will assess the geographical investigation process through familiar and unfamiliar contexts. The required knowledge, understanding and skills are outlined in the Fieldwork Skills tab. Familiar Questions relate directly to the candidates own fieldwork experience in a particular location and/or environment. Unfamiliar Questions are based on unseen resources (e.g. tables of data, photographs, maps, etc.), but in a similar context/environment linked to the specification.


The following themes are recommended to help students meet the research and fieldwork requirement:

Topic 1: Crowded Coasts

Students could investigate questions relating to the following themes, and then use those questions to devise an appropriate methodology:

2.3.3 Coastal ecosystems and environments Enquiry question: How do coastal ecosystems develop, what is their value and how are they threatened?

  • A research (secondary data) and fieldwork (primary data) investigation into the development and structure of sand dune, salt marsh or mangrove coastal ecosystems and an evaluation of the types and impacts of human activities threatening the coastal ecosystem.

2.3.4 Managing coastal change
Enquiry question: How can coastlines be managed in a sustainable way?

  • A research (secondary data) and fieldwork (primary data) investigation into the flood and/or erosion risk facing a stretch of coastline and an evaluation of the success of management measures and defences implemented to mitigate risk.
Topic 2: Urban Problems, Planning and Regeneration

Students could investigate questions relating to the following themes, and then use those questions to devise an appropriate methodology:

2.4.2 Transport issues in cities
Enquiry question: Why has transport become a key issue in many cities and how can it be best managed?

  • A research (secondary data) and fieldwork (primary data) investigation into the impacts of transport problems in an urban area and an evaluation of the strategies used to manage the situation.

2.4.4 Urban regeneration
Enquiry question: How can the social, economic and environmental aspects of urban areas be improved by regeneration?

  • A research (secondary data) and fieldwork (primary data) investigation into the impacts of an urban regeneration scheme and an evaluation of the success of the scheme in social and/or economic terms.

It is crucial that students have access to appropriate opportunities for meaningful research. Teachers must also ensure that the fieldwork activities and environments experienced by students allow them to develop and demonstrate the full range, variety and diversity of skills required.

Good practice should allow for students to follow the geographical investigation process and for students to be fully engaged in the decision-making processes in relation to their research and fieldwork investigation.

Geographical Investigation Process
Pre-fieldwork, planning and research (1) Identification of the question for investigation Consideration of the possible fieldwork opportunities and questions that could be investigated in the chosen coastal or urban environment, including practical considerations of accessibility and manageability in the time available.
(2) Contextualising the investigation Researching relevant secondary information sources and background information (internet, magazines, books and others), GIS, and relevant models/theories in order to help finalise a working hypothesis and/or key questions to investigate.
Primary fieldwork data collection (3) Methodology and design Consideration of fieldwork locations and numbers of sites; group or individual data collection; consideration of appropriate sampling procedures (systematic versus random versus stratified) and sample size. Consideration of health and safety and completing risk assessments. Development of recording sheets for measurement and observation.
(4) Primary data collection, equipment and recording Use of appropriate quantitative and qualitative data collection methods to provide a sufficient range of data to help answer the aims of the investigation decided upon in (2).
Ongoing consideration of methods to ensure accuracy and reliability and identify potential errors.
Presentation, analysis, conclusions and evaluation (5) Data processing, analysis and presentation Data collation and analysis using suitable numerical and statistical methods (including the use of ICT for processing and dissemination e.g. spreadsheets; use of ICT and/or hand-drawn graphical skills to present information in suitable graphical, diagrammatic and cartographic ways. Simple statistics may be relevant, e.g. measures of central tendency, spread and cumulative frequency.
(6) Explanation and conclusions Reviewing the results of primary fieldwork data and secondary research to provide explanations and form conclusions linked to the original hypotheses/key questions, utilising evidence and reasoned chains of argument.
(7) Critically reflecting on the results and process A critical reflection on the fieldwork data, methods used, knowledge gained and how this could be applied to other fieldwork contexts. Consideration of the accuracy, validity and reliability of the conclusions.
Enquiry Question Study Location Fieldwork

Crowded Coasts

How do coastal ecosystems develop, what is their value and how are they threatened?

Gavŕ sand dunes

The development and structure of a sand dune ecosystem and an evaluation of the threats posed by human activities.

How can coastlines be managed in a sustainable way?

Sitges

Investigation into the erosion risk facing the Sitges coastline and an evaluation of the success of the coastal management schemes.

Urban Problems, Planning and Regeneration

Why has transport become a key issue in Barcelona and how can it be best managed?

Eixample, Barcelona

Investigation into the impact of Barcelona's Superblocks. Superblocks are groups of street blocks where road traffic is restricted to create a mini-village with more open spaces and green areas, less pollution and healthier citizens.

How can the social, economic and environmental aspects of urban areas be improved by regeneration?

El Raval, Barcelona

An evaluation of the social, economic and environmental impacts of regeneration in El Raval, Barcelona.


AQA AS/A Level GCE 2016 Geography Fieldwork Edexcel AS/A Level GCE 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