Why did I choose a Geography EE?
I honestly thought that it would be fun because data collection would require a lot of travelling around. I also felt the idealistic prospect of adventure: I saw monitor lizards, hummingbirds and snail eggs! Whoa. So if you like walking around a lot and exploring, a Geography EE would be your thing. (Disclaimer: This depends on the topic that you choose)
Other than that, a Geography EE also expands your environmental awareness. Not that I intentionally set out thinking that way, but I realised along the way that it actually made me more appreciative of the clean environment we live in. My EE was about pollution, so comparing Singapore’s Marina Reservoir to other water bodies such as the Mississippi River or the Ganges River made me feel glad that I didn’t have to dip my hands in super filthy water (But still, the water’s pretty dirty at some parts).
I also took ESS. ESS really helped me in terms of report writing and data collection skills.
What are the benefits of it?
Firstly, and this is going to sound rather dumb, but you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing your friend’s faces contort into a WHAAAAT-face, when you tell them you’re doing a Geography EE. It’s a pretty niche area, and it’s really different and interesting from what other people are doing. It’s quite literally and figuratively a breath of fresh air.
Secondly, as I’ve mentioned earlier, it makes you more environmentally aware, and it will (probably) allow you to see the practical environmental issues your survey area faces. For example, it allowed me to correlate the level of water quality at different land uses to the amount of human traffic in an area! Or if you’re interested in congestion and the bid rent curve, you can look into traffic densities, the spheres of influence of prime locations, and land prices. The amount of topics you can choose from are really diverse and practical!
Also on a side note, the number of A-grade Geography EEs are pretty high.
(Disclaimer: Provided that you’re willing to work hard for it)
The most common pitfall is being lazy. You have to finish your data collection as fast as possible because it’s extremely time consuming and tedious, and really hard to do during the school term. I took about 2-weeks to finish data collection during the holidays and another 2-weeks to process the data, so it’s really a lot of work. Depending on what you do, you may also have to walk. A lot. It’s a lot of outdoor work (Once again, depending on what topic you choose), so prepare some sun-screen.
You’ll also have to learn how to use things like data loggers and maybe construct your own data collection contraptions. For example I had to make a device to collect water from inaccessible places, and my friend had to build a pipe-thingy for his soil infiltration investigation.
Data collection may also be embarrassing. (I had to literally ‘fish’ for water from a highway using a water bottle, some string, and a rock). People are judgemental. Haha kidding. That’s the fun part.
Also you may almost get arrested. (Don’t be blur and accidentally stumble into a restricted area like me.)
There is no set format, but listen to your mentor’s advice! (It will help a lot)
In case you’re curious, here’s a format I used:
1.1. Research Question
1.1.1. Definition of Terms
1.2.2. Study Site
1.3. Aims and Objectives
1.4. Literature Review
2.1. Preparation for Collection
2.2. Data Collection
3. Results and Analysis
3.1. Qualitative Data
3.2. Quantitative Data
Jonathan Yip (6.18) is from the graduating batch of 2014. He took Geography, Literature and Economics at Higher Level.