Janet Stirling

Doctor of Philosophy, (Geography)
Study Completed: 2007
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Geography fieldtrips in NZ at Secondary School and undergraduate level in the second half of the 20th Century and beyond.

Ms Stirling’s research offers a humanistic study of the practice of geography fieldtrips. Lecturers and teachers were interviewed to understand why fieldtrips are a part of geography courses, how they relate to geographers’ theoretical understandings, and what geographers hope to achieve by running fieldtrips. The study considers narratives of fieldtrips, involving the background and memories of those who have run fieldtrips, to elicit values and convictions important to the geographer. It suggests that the meaning of fieldtrips relates to geographers’ own approach to the subject, their philosophy of geography. This approach affected the way in which fieldtrips are practised, from a focus on mapping, to foci on gathering statistics, understanding society, and concentrating on matters of difference in society. Four main approaches were identified: classifying, applying general theories, using structures, and deconstructing the world. This work contributes to understanding the role of geography fieldtrips in New Zealand.

Professor Michael Roche
Associate Professor Juliana Mansvelt