NEW DIRECTIONS IN GEOGRAPHICAL FIELDWORK. By David Job. Cambridge University Press pound;10.95.
The Update series originated from London's Queen Mary and Westfield College many years ago, to provide digests on current topics from geographers at the research frontier. It has now moved into offering a wider range of material for A-level students and first-year undergraduates.
David Job, the author of the latest title, is better known as a past tutor with the Field Studies Council, and a geography lecturer at the London Institute of Education.
Despite the target audience, thoughtful schoolteachers may prove to be the main readers of this volume, as it handles fairly complex issues about the nature and philosophy of fieldwork in an interesting and sensitive way. Job questions the present reliance of many schools and examination boards on the hard data-gathering approach which has held sway in the past three decades.
He provides two detailed chapters of case studies (the south Devon coast and sustainability issues) arguing the case for the wider use of qualitative work that engages the heart as well as the head.
One has every sympathy with this wider vision, but there should be a word of warning for students who rush enthusiastically into exam projects that strength of feeling is not enough.
Rex Walford directs the Land Use-UK project at the School of Education, Cambridge University, and is a fellow of Wolfson College