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Anthropogenic emissions or just a lot of hot air? Using air pollution to teach quantitative methods to “mathophobic” first-year geography students

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alison Copeland, Professor Simon TateORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Debates about how best to support students’ transition from school to university have re-emerged periodically since at least the 1970s. This paper focuses upon one aspect of this transition: how to develop the quantitative skills students acquire at school throughout the first year of their degree. We report on an attempt to inject pedagogic innovation into the teaching of quantitative methods to first-year geography undergraduates at a large Russell Group university in the UK. More specifically, we report on moving to a pedagogic approach of student-centred, inquiry-based learning, which uses quantitative methods to investigate the issue of air pollution. We explore whether “statistical anxiety” is still a common experience of undergraduate geographers and the extent to which pedagogical innovation can help to alleviate this. Although the focus is on UK Geography, the paper has wider relevance to anywhere geographical research methods are taught.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Copeland A, Tate S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Geography in Higher Education

Year: 2023

Volume: 47

Issue: 3

Pages: 369-380

Online publication date: 24/02/2022

Acceptance date: 19/02/2022

Date deposited: 26/06/2023

ISSN (print): 0309-8265

ISSN (electronic): 1466-1845

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2022.2045576


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