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Craft better answers for GI


Geographical Investigation (GI) is an important component in the paper. This is basically one-quarter (25%) of the entire Core and Elective Geography paper. You want to ace this since it is a component with the least content (there's no need to for case studies etc!).


Type of questions that I will be addressing in this post:

  1. State the guiding question / hypothesis

  2. Outline how the students can collect the data

  3. Describe how students can present the data

  4. What conclusions can the students draw about the GI?

  5. Comment on the validity of the conclusion

  6. To what extent does the data support the hypothesis?

  7. Suggest how students can improve the investigation



#1 State the guiding question / hypothesis


Characteristic of such questions:
  • Usually a 1 mark question


Common mistakes:
  • Some of you tend to confuse guiding question with hypothesis.

  • Rephrasing the variables till the guiding question or hypothesis loses its meaning.


Tips:
  • Read the question carefully!

  • In most case, the safest way to craft a guiding question is “How does A affect B?” (Not applicable for all context…read the question and adjust accordingly)

  • The variables are usually given in the question. Try not to rephrase too much or it might lose its true meaning.



#2 Outline how the students can collect the data


Characteristic of such questions:
  • Usually 4-6 marks per question


Common mistakes:
  • Vague and brief answers that do not include sufficient details

  • Not having enough points to obtain the full marks


Tips:
  • Always remember that outlining basically means describing the steps taken by the students to collect the data.

  • So make sure you consider the following in your answer (depending on the context of the question):

  1. Location and timing of data collection

  2. Instruments used

  3. Sampling method

  4. Sampling size

  5. Recording sheet

  6. Frequency of data collection


  • It’s usually 1 mark per point. So please make sure you look through the total marks and decide on the number of points you must write to obtain the full credit. It's always good to write 1 or 2 more points than needed for such questions.



#3 Describe how students can present the data


Characteristic of such questions:
  • Usually a 3 mark question asked in isolation, or combined with a question about outlining the steps


Common mistakes:
  • Not giving the precise and full term of the presentation method

  • Incomplete description of the presentation method

  • Misunderstanding of when to use bar/ line/ scatter graph

  • Assuming that table is a form of presentation method


Tips:
  • Understand that when you write “bar graph” in your answer, it is not accurate as there are many different types of bar graphs (e.g. simple or comparative bar graphs)


  • If you are presenting your data on a bar/ line/ scatter graph, include the following in your answer:

  1. Title

  2. X and Y axis

  3. What each bar or line represent (if you are using a comparative graph)

  4. If you are presenting your data in a pie chart, remember the following:

  5. Convert the data to percentages (%)

  6. Then convert the % to angles

  7. Colour code each sector within the pie chart for each category


  • A bar graph – to show categorical data (e.g. Age group, locations, etc.)

  • A line graph – to show continuous data (e.g. time-related data where the x-axis shows timing rather than categories)

  • A scatter graph – to show the distinct relationship between two variables by drawing the line of best fit

  • A pie chart – to show the proportion of different categories of a subject

  • A table is a form of recording sheet. It’s not an ideal form of data presentation method.



#4 What conclusions can the students draw about the GI?


Characteristic of such questions:
  • Usually a 4-6 marks question


Common mistakes:
  • Not writing enough to attain the full marks

  • Not providing sufficient support from the Figs. provided in the question


Tips:
  • Observe the marks allocation for questions like this. The first mark is always set aside for addressing the question (i.e. The students can conclude that variable A is directly/ inversely proportional to variable B.)

  • After identifying the conclusion, always remember to support your answer with whatever statistics that is provided in the question.

  • If the question requires you to include more than one conclusion (look for clues such as high mark allocation), repeat the above format. Identify another conclusion, support with stats…etc.



#5 Comment on the validity of the conclusion


Characteristic of such questions:
  • Usually a 3-4marks question


Common mistakes:
  • Not addressing both sides


Tips:
  • When you see Command Words like ‘Comment on’, consider the possibility of addressing both sides to the question.


  • In this case, the format of answer should be as follows:

  1. Comment on why the conclusion is valid

  2. Support with statistics from the Figs.

  3. Then comment on why the conclusion may be invalid as well

  4. Support with statistics from the Figs.



#6 To what extent does the data support the hypothesis?


Characteristic of such questions:
  • Usually a 3-4 marks question


Common mistakes:
  • Not addressing both sides

  • Writing ‘the data supports the hypothesis to some extent’. What does 'some' mean? I'd rather you be as precise as you can.


Tips:
  • Format of answer should be as follows:

  1. The data supports the hypothesis to a large/ small extent where…

  2. Statistics from the Figs to support

  3. However, there are anomalies in the data that does not support the hypothesis…

  4. Statistics from the Figs. to support



#7 Suggest how students can improve the investigation


Characteristic of such questions:
  • Usually a 3-5 marks question


Common mistakes:
  • Not linking your answer to increased reliability or accuracy of data


Tips:
  • Always consider linking each point/ suggestion to how the investigation can be improved with increased reliability or accuracy

  • E.g. By repeating the investigation over multiple times throughout the year, the students are taking into consideration the traffic count to the tourist attraction in different seasons. This will increase the reliability of the data collected, and this will also enable the students’ data analysis to be more extensive.


Learn from these common mistakes and don't repeat them. All the best.


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© 2020 by Bernice Loon