Hi all


I am considering proposing a session for the discussion of methods teaching for the NZGS-IAG in Auckland in July. I do not intend this to be a paper session but an opportunity for people who teach methods or have an interest in it to get together and talk about what they do, the challenges they face, and the strategies they employ. As someone who has been teaching methods for the last ten years, I feel like there are a number of shifts that have occurred in this area and I rarely have the opportunity to discuss it and to think about what I should be doing!


So this email is really to gauge interest in this, I need half a dozen people who teach methods or have an interest who be willing to come along and reflect on what they do. As I say, it is not a paper session (although if someone has a paper on methods teaching they would like to give it might be a good way of starting the session off) so all I need is an indication in an email to me that you would be willing to come along and talk a bit about methods teaching. A draft abstract for the proposed session is below.


Also, if anyone would be interested in helping to run this session, please get in touch! Very happy to share the load! And if anyone is running a paper session on methods we should look to connect them up.



Russell Prince


Methods Teaching in Geography in Aotearoa-New Zealand and Australia


Methods teaching in human geography faces a number of challenges. In a world of proliferating digital technologies and growing storage capacity research methods are rapidly changing. In some universities, there is pressure to consolidate methods teaching across the social sciences at undergraduate and postgraduate level. There are claims that the emergence of ‘big data’ turns traditional research assumptions on their head as with exploratory ‘data mining’ supplants focused research. Meanwhile the monopolisation of ‘big data’ analysis by various computational sciences threatens to colonise the territories of other disciplines, claiming journal space and research funding. This raises a number of questions for methods teaching in geography. What methods should we be teaching? Should our focus be on teaching students the ins and outs of specific methods, or would we be better off increasing our focus on epistemological questions? What is distinctive about methods in geography, as opposed to the other social sciences? What is, or should be, distinctive about methods teaching in Aotearoa-New Zealand and Australia? Should we be teaching methods as specific courses at undergraduate level at all? What balance between quantitative and qualitative methods should we have? How can methods teaching enable our students to make use of ‘big data’ while challenging the shortcomings ignored during its rapid ascent? This is not a paper session but an opportunity for discussion amongst those teaching methods in geography programmes in New Zealand and Australia and those with an interest in this teaching to share ideas, thoughts and strategies.





Dr Russell Prince


Latest Papers:

Local or global policy? Thinking about policy mobility with assemblage and topology.  Area 49(3): 335-341.

The spaces in between: Mobile policy and the topographies and topologies of the technocracy. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 34(3): 420-437.


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Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

BA Geography Major Leader

Massey University


T: +64 6 356 9099 extn 83655