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Field Study Guidelines
GEOG 346, Geography of Religion & Peace, Winter 2019
Instructor: Dr. Terah Sportel ( tsportel.c a; @tsportel); Contact: terah. s, Office: A406c
Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 13:00-14:00 and by appointment as feasible.
Submission Details: The paper is due March 26th end-of-day (11:59 pm) and worth 25% of your final
grade. The assignment must be submitted via MyClass in two formats: (1) odt/doc/docx, and (2) pdf;
ensure files have been uploaded properly. Late submissions will receive deductions of 10% per day
unless students have prior permission with an acceptable extenuating circumstance. To avoid a
deduction of 5% on your final grade all assignment files must be named as follows: Lastname
Firstname_Assignment 2.
Length: Approximately 2,500 words (excluding references and figures).
Format & Structure: Your paper should be formatted with 1.5 spacing with appropriate margins, and
12 pt font (Times New Roman or equivalent). Include the following:
1. A descriptive, succinct title that clearly reflects the central focus of your paper.
2. Appropriate front matter (Title Page, Table of Contents, List of Figures, etc).
3. A clear introduction with a strong aim and thesis that clearly introduces the study and paper
direction. Draw from literature to more strongly introduce key themes.
4. Descriptive, succinct headings for key sections.

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5. Page numbers in the footer of each page.
6. Figures, including photographs, sketches, and data from literature: label figures appropriately
with a label, number, caption, and citation – e.g. Figure 1: Blah blah blah (Author, Date, pg#).
Referencing: APA (Author, Date; not footnote style) – be consistent and consult a referencing guide
(see materials on the MyClass course site under ‘Resources’ / ‘Research & Writing Resources’).
References should be listed alphabetically by author’s last name and formatted appropriately. At least
12 sources should be included (e.g. scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles; books;
newspaper/magazine articles; international organizations/supranational organizations such as the Pew
Research Centre, United Nations; non-governmental organizations; and government). High quality
papers will draw from strong literature, and go beyond the minimum sources required.
Purpose of Assignment: To identify and interpret local religious landscapes and sacred places, and
discuss and critically reflect upon the different uses and significance of space (sacred and profane),
connections to the urban / rural landscape / community, environmental perceptions / connections, and a
geographically situated comparative analysis of different belief systems.
Sportel, University of the Fraser Valley, GEOG 346 1/4
Field Study Explained: Choose two different places of worship and/or significant sacred spaces for
your analysis. Each location must be from a different religion or belief system (e.g. Hinduism, Sikhism,
Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, other ethnic/Indigenous, Scientology). Students must place
themselves outside of their comfort zones and engage in an inter-cultural experience beyond personal
world views/belief systems; students cannot choose a sacred space/place from their own religion or
belief system as a site of analysis (i.e. you cannot engage with your own church/temple/mosque etc.).
One of your chosen locations can be a sacred outdoor space (for example a place of significance for an
indigenous community). There are many places available within the lower mainland.
During your time in the field respectfully take detailed notes, sketches and photographs (as appropriate)
of your observations and experience, and collect pamphlets or any other items of relevance as feasible.
Prior to conducting your study and engaging in experiential learning within each location, it may be
appropriate to obtain permission from somebody of authority to do so. You can attend sacred places
with friends or peers but your observations and submitted assignment will be conducted independently.
Your task in the field is twofold: (1) observe the way space is organized, its significance, and note the
separations between the sacred and profane; and if possible (2) attend a religious talk, sermon, prayer,
festival, and/or open house and critically reflect on your experience. You may not to conduct interviews
with people but you may engage in, and draw upon, informal conversations to enhance your learning.
You are expected to draw upon course concepts and literature to enhance and understand your analysis
and discussion.
For example, if you attend a Hindu temple, and a church you might pay attention to the following:
What is the history of the place, and how is it connected to community and the demographics of the
area? If you visit a sacred building, is the architectural design significant, and if so how? How is the
sacred space/place structured at various scales (e.g. body, internally, through social structures,
regionally)? Discuss the ways in which the sacred space/place connects to community. Is the location
of the sacred place related to urban planning, politics, or demographic demand (e.g. colonial settlers or
an ethnic enclave)? Is there water for people to use during or before prayer and how is it used and/or
why is it significant? How is the building structured and is there a reason for its orientation? How do
the prayer rooms differ and how do people use this space?; Are there areas for community gatherings,
festivities and/or food? Are there gendered differences in the use of space? Are genders divided by
space? Are there visible connections to nature and if so what are their significance? Is the location of
the space significant, and if so why?; Are there efforts to separate the sacred and profane within the
space or on the body? How did you feel in this space and how does it differ from what you know and
are comfortable with? Were people welcoming and your experience informative? What are the
similarities and differences between the spaces experienced?
Be creative & make the most of this activity to explore and reflect upon differing perspectives &
cultural contexts!
Sportel, University of the Fraser Valley, GEOG 346 2/4
Field Study Rubric
Introduction (/10)
Criteria 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Grade
• Clear aim and explanation of argument
(thesis) to be pursued & a clear
statement of aim
• Clearly forecasts direction and purpose
of paper; indicates paper structure
• Provides necessary background
information (explanation of key terms,
description of problem or topic for
someone unfamiliar with issue)
• Compelling – hooks reader’s interest in
problem without grand statements
Meets all
criteria; clear
Meets some
criteria; uneven;
lacking clarity
Meets few criteria;
Critical analysis & thought-provoking discussion using a geographic approach (/40)
Criteria 40 36 32 28 24 20 16 12 8 4 0 Grade
• Argumentation draws on geography
concepts and literature
• Research refers to and clearly
integrates course themes and concepts,
connecting them to the field study
• Argument is thoroughly developed
(concepts explained in depth, multiple
examples used, several points/elements
of argument); sufficient depth to
argument and discussion
• Argument is convincing (research
questions satisfactorily answered)
• Discussion reflects critically on field
study experience, addressing different
world views and personal experience
• Intercultural learning clearly reflected
Meets all
criteria; clear;
of human
Meets some criteria;
uneven; lacking
unconvincing; ideas
need further
Meets few
criteria; unclear;
argument; does
not use human
Effective use of sources and evidence (/20)
Criteria 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Grade
• Uses evidence from sources to
illustrate and support argument(s)
• Draws on range of sources to support
argument and discussion (at least 12)
• Carries argument in own voice (avoids
excessive quotation)
• Paraphrases sources to fit paper;
summarizes key points; avoids
excessive overly long quotations
• Clear attribution to literature
Meets all
criteria; clear;
use of sources
Meets some criteria;
uneven; some loss
of voice (reliance on
source language)
Meets few
insufficient use
of sources;
sources not well
integrated or
little sense of
student’s voice
Sportel, University of the Fraser Valley, GEOG 346 3/4
Style, Organization & development (/10)
Criteria 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Grade
• Paper is well organized
• Effective transitions between
paragraphs and sections
• Effective use of paragraphs and
other organizational devices
• Logical development of
• Creatively presented content
• Uses clear, grammatically
correct sentences; concise,
easy to follow style
• Correct spelling and
• Academic style and tone
(avoid contractions, e.g. don’t,
can’t; avoid chatty or
conversational language)
Meets all criteria; clear;
well organized and easy
to follow
Meets some criteria;
paper can be
followed but lacks
logical organization
Meets few
criteria; paper
lacking logical
flow; difficult to
Formatting (/10)
Criteria 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Grade
• Follows referencing APA style
in text & in reference list
• Proper formatting & labelling
(figures, tables, page numbers)
• Front matter included (title
page with descriptive title,
table of contents, list of
figures) with relevant details
• Line spacing (1.5)
• Appropriate length,
approximately 2500 words
Style/formatting used
correctly and
consistently throughout
Style followed but
with errors
Style used
with many
errors, or not at
Conclusion (/10)
Criteria 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Grade
• Clearly summarizes key
arguments & issues
• Ties conclusion back to
Introduction, including the aim
& thesis
• Emphasizes primary
• Reiterates key reflections
Meets all criteria; clear Meets some criteria;
uneven; lacking
Meets few
criteria; unclear;
difficult to read
Total: / 100
Sportel, University of the Fraser Valley, GEOG 346 4/4

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