The answer to your essay question

If you are writing a Geography essay, whether it is for an exam or for coursework, the short answer to the question you have been set is probably “it depends” and the long answer (the essay) is probably an exploration of exactly what it depends on, in different geographical situations. My undergraduate tutor taught me that more than 30 years ago and it has stood me in good stead ever since.

Try looking through some old exam papers and applying “the it depends gambit”. More than likely you will find it helps you to identify interesting angles and plan an effective essay. Pretty much everything in Geography depends on something else. At the grand scale most things vary from place to place, between different scales and at differing times, so even for a very simple question it is usually worth thinking about whether the answer would be the same if you considered the question at a bigger scale or over a longer time period or in a different climatic setting or under a different political framework. If any of those things make a difference to your answer, then your answer depends on… those things. If you look at your title and you see an answer immediately that does not seem to depend on anything, but is just a simple one-serves-all answer, just look again and check. Few answers in Geography stay the same if you look at the question from a different angle or at a different scale.


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