Geographic skills: A case study of students in the United Arab Emirates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The worldwide technology boom has created an information revolution. Consequently, a large number of people who previously had limited access to geographic data can now use Internet-based geographic information for a number of diverse purposes. The average person has access to geographic information for tourism, shopping, business, and even route planning. Though access is a boon for users, a solid grasp of geographic principles is critical if the information is to play a meaningful role in expectations and results. This study investigated the geographic skills that secondary-school students and university geography students in the United Arab Emirates have acquired during their course of study. It considered the first-year university students (freshmen) as representatives of secondary-school graduates, and college seniors as college graduates. The study also considered gender: it examined how men's and women's skills differ in terms of map reading, map design, understanding directions, and calculating distances. Results from the study pinpointed strengths and weaknesses in geography curricula and the need to revise the present system at both the secondary and university levels. Although the results show that geographic skills are generally weak among university students, they also showed that senior students' performance was measurably better than the freshmen, and the male students perform better than the female students. This study concludes with recommendations to improve geographic skills for secondary and university students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2015


  • UAE
  • education level
  • gender
  • geographic skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Education
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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