UK high school pupils' conceptions of geography: research findings and methodological implications

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Journal Article
International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 2009, 18 (3), pp. 185 - 197
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This paper explores substantive and methodological issues in relation to pupils conceptions of geography. It draws on an in-depth qualitative study with 13-14-year-old pupils from three secondary schools. Selected pupils were interviewed numerous times about their geography classroom experiences and ideas about the subject in general. A detailed analysis revealed that these pupils ideas are multifaceted in nature, often representing loose collections of context-dependent ideas rather than coherent or unified views. Substantive findings are discussed with specific reference to the themes of space and place. The paper argues in favour of research approaches that accommodate the complex nature of pupils subject conceptions, and locate learners ideas about particular concepts in the context of the wider range of ideas and opinions they have about the subjects they study. Suggestions for future research are offered.
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