3.4 Geography fieldwork investigation

All students are required to undertake fieldwork in relation to processes in both physical and human geography. Students must undertake a minimum of two days of fieldwork during their AS course. Fieldwork can be completed in a number of ways: locally or further afield, on full days or on part days. Schools and colleges will be required to confirm that all AS geography students have been given an opportunity to fulfil this requirement.

Schools and colleges are required to provide a fieldwork statement which confirms each student has undertaken two days of geographical fieldwork in relation to processes in both physical and human geography. Schools and colleges must provide the fieldwork statement by 15 May in the year of entry. Any failure to provide this statement in a timely manner will be treated as malpractice or maladministration (under Ofqual's General Condition A8 (Malpractice and maladministration)).

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.

Questions in the exam could be asked so as to test the students’ general understanding of the fieldwork enquiry process or they could ask for specific details of each student’s own individual fieldwork enquiry.

It is accepted that some schools or colleges will need to carry out data collection in groups. However, examiners will expect candidates to show that they have been personally involved in all the stages of the enquiry and have had opportunities to use their own initiative, at all stages, to develop their enquiries.