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Coral reefs lesson one - Case study
Coral reefs lesson two- Data analysis
Coral reefs lesson three - Analysis task
Coral reefs- Follow up task

'From the Field' Awards

Inspiring fieldwork supported by the RGS-IBG

Coral reefs - Lesson two: Data analysis

Conducting a coral damage surveyKey questions

  • What does the life of a field researcher involve?
  • What methods were used to collect data for this study?
  • Why were these methods chosen?


To have a good understanding of the kinds of activities undertaken by Phillip and the other field researchers, the importance of accuracy and to be able to both describe and explain at least two of the fieldwork methods utilized by Phillip.

This lesson focuses on your understanding of the process of planning, organising effective fieldwork investigations. During today you will see how important it is to follow exact and precise processes to ensure that you collect the most reliable results possible. During the lesson, think carefully about why reliability is important and what safety measures the team have to think about before they get started. Try to get in to the role of a field researcher. Remember this could be you in the future.



Go to the Friends of Menjangan blogsite and use the Biosphere Foundation in Menjangans slideshow from Saturday 11 June 2011 to answer these questions:

  • What things are important to the people of Menjangan?
  • What job do you think the divers are doing?
  • What is the island like?
  • What do you think the some of the roles of the Friends of Menjangan might be?


Phillip's research is focussed on exploring five main issues:

  • Looking at the physical structure of the reef
  • Assessing human and physical Impacts on the reef
  • Looking at the abundance and variety of Species in the Menjangan Reef
  • Exploring the patters and relationship between reef structure, species variety and abundance.
  • Considering the implications of the study’s results to future management and projects to protect the Island and reef.

We will consider issues four and five next lesson, during this lesson we will look at the first three of these, which focus on methods of data collection whilst out in the field.

You have been provided with a set of images to show some of the main activities during the day, as well as information on the study methods used.

First, sort these images in a way which you think will correctly demonstrate the order of the main activities of the day. You have three minutes.

Your main challenge today is to create a storyboard which shows off a day in the life of a field researcher on the Menjangan reef study. 

You need to include:

  • Typical daily activities whilst out in the field
  • A description of at least two of the methods used
  • Reasons for the choice of method (what is good about them? What are the advantages of using them?.

Make sure that you use the images to help remind you of each method.

Below are the resources that you should use in addition to the method information and images to create your storyboard:


Your teacher will have chosen a couple of storyboards created by students in your class to photograph (using IPad or other device) and project on the Interactive White Board. As a class go through the aspects of the daily routine of a researcher in the field that these examples show well and important areas of the methodology they have missed out or could add more to. When doing this highlight and annotate the projection of the work to show these things as appropriate.

Finally spend five minutes in pairs looking at each other’s work.  Suggest at least two things which have been done well and two aspects which could be improved.


Complete your storyboard by using the advice of your peers and your own opinion to improve the work already done. You may feel that you need to continue exploring the Menjangan expedition a little further to do this.


Practice exam question. Looking at the data collection techniques used in this study. Focus of question is on describing and explaining the methods of data collection used and why these are appropriate to this particular study.

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