Geography 350 Project: Local Impact Assessment
- You will test your understanding by applying concepts,
insights and skills covered in class or readings to local contexts and
- You become actively involved in establishing your own learning
- You help create a pool of example contexts which facilitate the
presentation of conceptual and analytical materials
- You learn how to proceed through structured stages of research
- You learn how to access diverse resources, how to evaluate their
relative merits, and how to utilize such resources for specific ends
- You learn how
to collaborate with peers in the
delineation, coordination, execution and
evaluation of individual research responsibilities as part of an overall
class-project design for these projects including providing (mutual)
support, sharing resources and constructive assessment of individual
activities and findings.
- You learn how to present -- not just
your own "findings" -- but the results of all stages of this process
through sequential submission of semi-independent, well formulated and
professionally acceptable project components or segments.
In other words, the purpose of this project is to provide you with
an opportunity to develop your deductive thinking abilities and your
resource, library-, investigative,
organizational, collaborative and presentation skills, in addition to
applying class materials to a "real world" situation and exploring new
content areas related to my personal academic interests.
APPROACH AND LOGISTICS
systematic, step-by-step approach to research particularly to the
search for resources in your specific area of investigation is, due to the
well-known time constraints of our
quarter system this process, usually neglected or truncated. We hope
to do a better job by killing two birds with one stone, namely by making
the project as much as possible an integral part of the class: The
search and learning process will permit a wide-ranging coverage of a
diversity of source materials, and will thereby support many
different content areas of our class. At the same time, you are actively
pursuing your own set of focused tasks with sequential deadlines thereby
avoiding the pressure of having to account for a comprehensive paper at
the end of the quarter.
The 350 Project consists of weekly two- page submissions of
components of your resource and research progress following a relatively
tightly structured path. The weekly steps will have to be followed ON TIME (due
on Tuesdays) and ----IN SEQUENCE. Your project topic will be selected
during the first two weeks of the quarter. Your individual project area
will be connected to a collaborative overall
project which will be explained in class. The weekly
steps will ensure that you will stay close to the class objectives and
content and that you will consult a wide
range of academic, professional, business and governmental
sources. The segments will consist of
- a summary and/or annotations of selected sources:
- Sources which represent particularly good examples of analyses
performed, contain good explanations for phenomena in your area of
concentration and/or include recent bibliographies (bibliographic papers)
- Annotations for bibliographic or other sources: approx. 3-5
lines (single-spaced) describing the content and its relation to your
area; please add your initials to all annotations formulated by you.
- References to (book or other) reviews of more primary sources
(also with annotations)
- Explanations (including limitations) of Data or Information
- Locations of Materials (unless obvious or trivial)
- Process of Finding Sources (incl. Internet Search Paths) (unless
obvious or trivial)
- Methodological Specifics
- an assessment of the relevance of the materials
- to your
original and ongoing project topic and, through your project, to
- the overall class project.
- explicit suggestions as to how your emerging "model" is
changing in light of your new insights.
The diversity of information sources potentially useful and appropriate
for consultation is reflected in this list
of information categories for local economic analysis.
The theme for all projects will be: "Conceptualizing, Modeling and
Resourcing the Local Economy and Some of its Components". This theme
allows us to collaborate with each other to the largest extent
possible and work towards establishing at least the outlines of a
comprehensive overall model which encompasses our individual efforts as
STRUCTURE OF PROJECT (Steps)
We will start with a specific local economic "issue" reported in
the media. This issue may relate to economic activities in the private
or public sector. We will then ask ourselves the questions:
- What can we, as economic
geographers, contribute to the discussion, analysis and possible
resolutions of this issue.
- Where do we find the concepts, tools and other information which
will help us in these tasks?
- How are all of our (and other) issues interconnected and how can we
analyze (trace, understand and potentially monitor and influence) this
interconnectedness of the Local Economy.
We will adjust and then divide the process outlined in
into weekly segments:
- Dissecting the selected media story:
- What makes the story an interesting "issue" for Geog.350?
(Preview of class materials in light of this issue)
- Am I sufficiently interested in (and confident about) this
issue to give it my full attention for the next 10 weeks? (Review of my
own reasons for taking this class and my other time commitments;
communicate with instructor, including by E-mail [econgeog@u])
- Who are the prime "players" and "populations" associated with
this issue? (Which segments of the economy and society am I dealing with?
What do I know about these people, activities or facets already?)
- Do I understand (in general terms) the connection to the
class-project theme? (The prof wants us to understand the objectives and
nature of the overall class project at least in rough terms as quickly as
possible so that we can develop the focus for own project).
- due: Tuesday of 2nd week (April 2, 1996)
- "Where does my 'issue' fit in academically?"
This step will be harder for students without 200-level economic geography
background. Please communicate with instructor and ask for guidance.
- Which branch of Economic Geography, Regional Science, Regional
Economics, Local Economic Analysis, Urban or Rural Economic Geography, or
Marketing Geography is involved?
- Under what headings, with the help of which "key words" will I
look for relevant academic / research articles in GeoBASE,
Expanded Academic Index, CarlUncover, Journal of Economic Literature or
the Social Science Citation Index?
- Was I lucky enough to have found a recent general review
article for my area which will help me move along...?
- "What are the outlines of my emerging "field of reference"
which will inform my project?"
- Search for concepts needed to organize
my ideas as they relate to the original "issue" and its relationships to
Geog.350 and the class-project
- Search for research tools
- in Geog.350 course materials
- due: Tuesday of 3rd week
- DATA (GENERAL): As part of my general preparation for dealing with
research questions in my "field of reference", what general kinds of data
sources should I be familiar with? Which data relate to my original
topic and where are the data bases from which I might eventually draw the
data as information for
my model ....?
- How unique is my "issue"? From which other contexts can I
- Let's compare notes!
- Explore economic impact reports,
professional journals, other empirical sources for conceptual, analytical
and empirical ideas and innovations.
- due: Tuesday of 5th week
- This stage will be combined with the take-home
component of the Midterm and with class preparations for the 6th week.
- It is now time to model your components, links and relationships
- How to you propose to conceptualize and operationalize your
- How do you propose to conceptualize and operationalize your
links and relationships?
- How does my model connect to the class model?
- due: Tuesday of 7th week
- SPECIFIC DATA: Let's try to find at least some data for my skeleton
- review your resources from weeks 3/4
- published data
- estimations, educated guesses, "borrowed" coefficients etc.
- pilot surveys and/or suggestions (questionnaires?) for more
- due: Tuesday of 8th week
- What have I learned? What have WE learned? (Implications and
- From the tree to the forest... putting the pieces together
- Comparing research hazards and results
- due: Tuesday of 9th week
- Revising and consolidating my previous project segments for final
length (minimum): 12 pages (on paper)
or 8 pages in concise, hypertextual electronic (Web) form
with internal (document-specific), class- and external (WWW) links.
- The sequential, week-by-week organization of the
project can (but does not have to be) preserved.
- subheadings (following the outline);
- citations in text (with page numbers);
- bibliography and resource list organized by type of resource;
[consult the Annals of the Association of American Geographers or the
American Economic Review or Environment and Planning A for proper
formatting of your bibliography]
- due: one week before date of finals
EVALUATION OF PROJECT
The evaluation of your project will be based on the quality
& appropriateness of the materials you found, the quality of the
annotations, and the search skills you acquired during this quarter as
reflected by your weekly and final products and intermittent
communications. The weekly submissions will together count 70% and the
final combined version 30% of the final grade for this project. The final
version will be due one week before the date of the final examination.
There will be 50% deductions for all unexcused late submissions.
DISCUSSIONS OF RESEARCH PROCESS & PRESENTATION OF FINAL PRODUCT
There will be
opportunities to discuss your research experiences, progress and
results in class. Information related to your project should be made
available to all members of this class during the quarter for mutual
assistance and coordination (avoiding redundancies). Final copies will be
"merged" and made available on the class "IntraNet".
Thus, please save your files/disks carefully
for later retrieval, rearrangements and placement on your individual or
the class' Web site.
AREAS & ANALYSES (Examples only)
- Retail Location (Impact) Analysis
- Impacts of Shopping Center Developments
- Consumer Profiles and Surveys
- Large infrastructure facilities (Cost-Benefit)
- Environmental Impact Statements
- Economic Impact Statements
- Residential Location Analysis of Corporate Employees
- Transportation Impact Analysis
- Transportation Demand Analysis
- Impacts of and on Land Uses
- Industrial Location Analysis
- Input-Output Analysis
- Shift- and Share Analysis (and
other compositional types of analyses)
- University Impact Analysis
- Educational Demand Analyses
- Health Care Delivery Systems: Analysis of Service Areas
- High-Tech Location Analysis
- High-Tech Impact Analysis
- Producer- and/or Export Services Analysis
Past Student Projects
Econ + Bus Geography