An Introduction to Geography as a Field of Study
As a field of science, geography is derived from a Greek word, geographia, which translates into ôearth descriptionö. Eratosthenes (276-194 BC) was recorded as the first person to use the Greek word of the science field. Geography has a lot to do with study of all kinds of phenomena of Earth, its lands, its inhabitants, and its features. In broader sense, geography is a discipline of science with all-encompassing nature where the practitioners do everything in their power to unravel the complexities of the Earth, the extent of which spans from the subject of the location of objects to the process through which they have changed and originated from.
To discuss about geography means to take into account the two larger branches of it. The first branch of the field is human geography and the second is physical geography. Human geography often deals with studying people, how they function in a community, cultures of some people, economies, and their interactions with their environment, measured through how the relate to space and place. Physical geography, on the other hand, is concerned mainly about natural patterns and processes, including ones found at the atmosphere, geosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere.
Geography also has four major traditions in how the research into geographical matters is conducted. They are: a) analyses of spatial category of both human and natural phenomena, b) regions and places area studies, c) studies of the relationships between human and land, and d) the sciences of the Earth. All of these four traditions are to be considered historical in relation with geography as a larger field of study owing to their presence since the early development of the science itself.
As geography deals with matters concerning both human and nature, it has been dubbed ôthe world disciplineö. The all-encompassing subjects it deals with can be used to better understand the correlations between the Earth and the people that live on it. Geography is also called the bridge that connects sciences of human and physical sciences. Physical sciences and human sciences are two different subjects that stand one across the other with stark contrasts separating them. Geography sits between the two, comfortably switches and shares focus with one another. It cannot discuss the physical aspects of the Earth by ditching altogether concerns about people. Similarly, it cannot put its focus solely on human without taking into consideration the matter of physical properties of the Earth itself.