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Geographical Study Nab


Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:40 AM

Ok, I'll be doing the nab for the Geographical study soon - can anyone give me some advice as to whether my report is ok? Thanks.

Advanced Higher Geography Study – Interim Report

A comparative study of two retail areas within the town of Elgin: the town centre and the out-of-town Springfield Retail Park.

The aim of this study is to compare two different types of retail area within the city of Elgin, and discover if there are any significant differences in the two areas. There were four key research questions used in the study and they were designed to allow me to find the information required, and also to give a logical structure to the fieldwork and study. They consider what differences exist between the two areas with regards to: type of shops, shopping habits of customers, appearance of the areas and the sphere of influence.
Four different fieldwork techniques were used to find this information. They are urban land use mapping, retail questionnaires, environmental quality surveys and a tax disc survey. All of these techniques were carried out in both areas. A retail questionnaire was designed in order to find out where people had visited from, how they had travelled, the reason for their visit, frequency of visits and whether they preferred to shop in the Springfield Retail Park or the town centre. Fifty people, picked at random, in each area were interviewed using this questionnaire. All questionnaires were completed on two consecutive Saturday afternoons, a few weeks before Christmas. The same people were also asked to complete an environmental quality survey, which dealt with aspects of the shopping environment, such as attractiveness of buildings, amount of litter, access and noise, as well as quality of shopping (quality of shops, choice of goods, value of goods). On the same days as the questionnaires were carried out, a tax disc survey was also completed. The make of car, the date on the tax disc and the county of origin was recorded, with the details being taken from two hundred cars in each area. For the urban land use mapping, maps of both areas were obtained and taken to each area. A key, using numbers and letters, was used to note what the building was being used for and this was marked directly on to the map. A final draft of these maps was then drawn using the information from the original fieldwork maps. Different land uses were represented using different colours – for example: red for residential buildings, gray for industrial etc. The information for the urban land use maps was gathered at a different time from the retail questionnaires and tax disc surveys. This was because the results of the mapping would not be affected by the time or day that the fieldwork was carried out, unlike the other techniques, which would have been affected.
The research questions used allowed me to gather the information required, as well as providing a framework around which I could structure the study logically. All of the information-gathering techniques were simple to carry out, and gave results which were easy to present and analyse. However, it was noted that several factors may have influenced the results, and that things could have been changed so that the fieldwork was more effective, efficient and accurate. One of these things was in relation to the tax disc survey. Although three pieces of information were taken from each car only one – county of origin – was actually used in the study. The two other things were irrelevant and noting them down wasted valuable time which could have been used more effectively. Another problem is with the retail questionnaires and environmental quality surveys. Although impartiality was attempted, in order to achieve a more representative sample, this was unlikely to be achieved because certain people were not approached – for example people with young children were avoided as they were unlikely to be willing to give their attention to answering questions. Another factor was the relatively small number of questionnaires completed. Only fifty were completed and it is recognised that a larger sample would have produced more accurate results. There were also difficulties with factors such as weather. As the questionnaires were conducted early in winter, the weather was often bad and this led to people being very unwilling to stop to answer questions. Had the fieldwork been done over the summer, when the weather was better, it would perhaps have taken less time to complete. Also because it was approaching Christmas people were busy, and this also led to people being unwilling to stop.
Several techniques were used to present and analyse the data collected. These included: pie charts and bar charts, land use mapping, bipolar analysis and Reilly’s Law of Retail Gravitation. The pie charts and bar charts were used to present the data gathered using the retail questionnaires. These types of charts were used as I believed they would show the information, which was in the form of percentages, clearly, in a graphic form, as well as allowing for easy comparison of the two sets of data (one set from the town centre questionnaires, the other from the Springfield Retail Park), which was the aim of the study. The land use map allowed for a clear portrayal of the different land uses within each area, which made it considerably easier to compare the land use of each area. The use of different colours for different land uses, rather than descriptive text or a key using letters, also made it easier to highlight the similarities and differences of land use between the two areas. The use of bipolar analysis for the results of the environmental quality survey was effective as it shows visually the results obtained. This allows for an easy visual comparison of the results, simply by looking at their respective lines. Reilly’s Law was used as it is fairly simple to calculate and can then be used to show the sphere of influence on a map.
All of the techniques that were selected were effective at presenting and analysing the data obtained. However several things which could have improved the presentation and analysis were noted. In the case of Reilly’s Law, the accuracy of the test itself is debatable, as it does not take into account several factors such as: traffic congestion in the larger town and better advertising of the smaller town, although in the case of Elgin the test gave the results that were expected. It was also noted that once Reilly’s law is calculated, it should be shown on a map – something which was not done. Also, although the bar and pie charts showed data clearly, they should have been on the same page to facilitate comparison. In addition to this it was recognized that if a chart or map is in colour then the key which goes with it should also be in colour.
In conclusion, although a detailed comparison of the two areas has been achieved it has been recognised that there are areas where improvements might be made, both in relation to the gathering of information and also the analysis of it. For example, if a greater number of questionnaires and environmental quality surveys had been carried out then the results would have been more accurate and would have reflected actual events more accurately.


Posted 18 April 2006 - 01:19 PM

Looks a very good, in depth report to me. Have you completely finished with the study? If not, maybe you could mention what you've still got to do, so this would come across as more of an interim report.

Seems like you've put a lot of work into the study. Is there no way you could incorporate the car model and tax disc information? It does sound like a lot of work will be going to waste if you don't.

I hope you'll share the final paper with us after the exam results are published. Good luck it, and with the NAB. smile.gif

P.S. I can't remember the precise requirements for this NAB (if any), other than it being an interim report on the study (marked out of 25?). Maybe ermdeviation would be so kind as to express his opinion on your report.


Posted 18 April 2006 - 03:31 PM

Thanks! Yes, I have finished my study - well, I have a couple of maps to scan into the computer, and I have to finish my bibliography and page numbers - but apart from that it's finished, which is just as well as it's being submitted next thursday...

I know it's meant to be an interim report but my Geography teacher didn't tell us we had a nab to do until a couple of weeks ago - and I'd pretty much finished by then. Will it matter that it isn't exactly an interim report? And does it have to be submitted to the SQA? Also in the information we were given it said the report should be written about an aspect of the study - however, mine is about the whole study - will I be marked down for that?

Sorry to keep harassing you with questions - its just that my Geography teacher hasn't given us much information about what we have to do and as I really want to get an A for this, if for no other reason than to prove my geography teacher wrong (she thinks I'm a bit useless and has predicted me a C even though I got an A in the prelim...)


Posted 18 April 2006 - 03:52 PM

It shouldn't be a big deal if you say that you've already finished the study. NABs have to be submitted to the SQA but they probably won't be moderated. Remember, you only have to pass the NABs, they don't go towards your final grade. It is only the study itself (40%), the issues essay (30%) and the final exam (30%) that will decide what grade you get.


Posted 18 April 2006 - 03:58 PM

Ok, thanks.

Oh and I didn't really mean that I only want an A to prove her wrong - I was in a bad mood when I typed that - I've since calmed down - I want an A to get to uni, really!


Posted 21 April 2006 - 01:09 PM

Ok, I've sat the Nab, and although I haven't been given any detailed feedback apparently I've failed. Which is a bit rubbish really! The only thing my teacher has said about it so far is that it's not detailed enough! So, any tips on how to improve it?!


Posted 01 May 2006 - 09:58 PM

I passed this last week (despite not knowing we had it or actually being anywhere close to finishing my study! ermm.gif ) I can't be bothered to read through your report but I'll tell you what was on the sheet we were given beforehand (nothing suspect btw).

Title of study

Aim of Study

Key research question (what is the research question for your chosen aim - should be set out/explained fully)

Methods used - brief description

Evaluation of research question(s) and gathering technique(s) (How successful was your fieldwork? What worked well? What worked less well and how could it be improved?)

Techniques used to analyse information gathered (describe the statistical analysis etc stuff you used - why use these techniques?)

Evaluation of the above (did they work well? Were they appropriate? Any problems? What other techniques could have been used?

Review - comment on areas of success, any difficulties encountered and things which have been done differently, talk about constraints (mainly time and resource) that limited how much work fieldwork you could do etc.

Make sure you use headings (aim, method, evaluation, review etc) and that you writing is clear yet in-depth enough. It's not enough to say this worked well - you have to explain it worked well. Nor can you simply say you used scatter plots - you need to explain why you did so.

Bear in mind my comments aren't based on your report; they're just a summary of the information I received about the NAB.

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