Methods of geographical analysis

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Geography Research Methods

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<ul><li><p>Methods of geographical analysisN. Spence with A. OwensGY1148, 2790148 </p><p>2011</p><p>Undergraduate study in Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences</p><p>This is an extract from a subject guide for an undergraduate course offered as part of the University of London International Programmes in Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences. Materials for these programmes are developed by academics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).</p><p>For more information, see: www.londoninternational.ac.uk</p></li><li><p>This guide was prepared for the University of London International Programmes by:</p><p>Professor N. Spence, PhD, LSE, Professor of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London. Formerly Lecturer, then Reader in Economic Geography at LSE. </p><p>Dr A. Owens, PhD, Kings College London; Lecturer in Geography, Queen Mary, University of London.</p><p>This is one of a series of subject guides published by the University. We regret that due to pressure of work the authors are unable to enter into any correspondence relating to, or aris-ing from, the guide. If you have any comments on this subject guide, favourable or unfavour-able, please use the form at the back of this guide.</p><p>University of London International ProgrammesPublications OfficeStewart House32 Russell SquareLondon WC1B 5DNUnited KingdomWebsite: www.londoninternational.ac.uk</p><p>Published by: University of London </p><p> University of London 2007</p><p>Reprinted with minor revisions 2011</p><p>The University of London asserts copyright over all material in this subject guide except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher.</p><p>We make every effort to contact copyright holders. If you think we have inadvertently used your copyright material, please let us know. </p></li><li><p>Contents</p><p>i</p><p>Contents</p><p>Chapter 1: Introduction .......................................................................................... 1</p><p>Aims and objectives of the course .................................................................................. 2Learning outcomes ........................................................................................................ 3Syllabus ......................................................................................................................... 3The structure of this guide ............................................................................................. 3Reading advice .............................................................................................................. 4Essential reading ........................................................................................................... 5Further reading .............................................................................................................. 5Online study resources ................................................................................................... 6Computer-based work ................................................................................................... 7Examination advice........................................................................................................ 8</p><p>Chapter 2: The nature, purpose and practice of geography ................................. 11</p><p>Essential reading ......................................................................................................... 11Further reading ............................................................................................................ 11Aims of the chapter ..................................................................................................... 11Learning outcomes ...................................................................................................... 11Why start here? ........................................................................................................... 11Geography as science ................................................................................................. 13Induction ..................................................................................................................... 15Positivism .................................................................................................................... 15The cultural turn in human geography .......................................................................... 17Postmodernism and geography .................................................................................... 20A reminder of your learning outcomes .......................................................................... 21Sample examination questions ..................................................................................... 21</p><p>Chapter 3: Geographical data: human and physical, quantitative and qualitative, primary and secondary ...................................................................... 23</p><p>Essential reading ......................................................................................................... 23Further reading ............................................................................................................ 23Aims of the chapter ..................................................................................................... 23Learning outcomes ...................................................................................................... 23Quantitative and qualitative data ................................................................................. 24A reminder of your learning outcomes .......................................................................... 41Sample examination questions ..................................................................................... 41</p><p>Chapter 4: Presenting data and mapping geographical distributions ................. 43</p><p>Essential reading ......................................................................................................... 43Further reading ........................................................................................................... 43Aims of the chapter ..................................................................................................... 43Learning outcomes ...................................................................................................... 44Presenting geographical data ....................................................................................... 44Mapping geographical distributions ............................................................................. 53A reminder of your learning outcomes .......................................................................... 57Sample examination questions ..................................................................................... 58</p><p>Chapter 5: Descriptive statistics in geographical applications ............................ 59</p><p>Essential reading ......................................................................................................... 59Further reading ............................................................................................................ 59</p></li><li><p>148 Methods of geographical analysis</p><p>ii</p><p>Aims of the chapter ..................................................................................................... 59Learning outcomes ...................................................................................................... 60Descriptive statistics .................................................................................................... 60European Union data on economic and social cohesion ................................................ 61Frequency distributions ................................................................................................ 63Measures of central tendency, dispersion, skewness and kurtosis .................................. 66Standard (z) scores and multivariate index construction ................................................ 70A reminder of your learning outcomes .......................................................................... 77Sample examination questions ..................................................................................... 78</p><p>Chapter 6: Modelling systems and estimating relationships ............................... 79</p><p>Essential reading ......................................................................................................... 79Further reading ............................................................................................................ 79Aims of the chapter ..................................................................................................... 80Learning outcomes ...................................................................................................... 80Causal relationships .................................................................................................... 80Visualising the regression relationship .......................................................................... 81Calibrating the regression relationship ......................................................................... 85Measuring the strength of the relationship (correlation) ................................................ 89The goodness of fit of the relationship the standard error and residuals ..................... 90Significance testing and estimation of correlation and regression statistics .................... 90A reminder of your learning outcomes .......................................................................... 92Sample examination questions ..................................................................................... 92</p><p>Chapter 7: Qualitative methods in human geography: depth interviews,observation and ethics ......................................................................................... 95</p><p>Essential reading ......................................................................................................... 95Further reading ............................................................................................................ 95Works cited ................................................................................................................. 95Learning outcomes ...................................................................................................... 96Aims of the chapter ..................................................................................................... 96Introduction: qualitative differences ............................................................................. 96Ethics in geographical research .................................................................................. 103A reminder of your learning outcomes ........................................................................ 108Sample examination questions ................................................................................... 108</p><p>Sample examination paper ................................................................................ 109</p><p>Guidance on answering the sample examination paper .................................... 113</p><p>Introduction .............................................................................................................. 113Specific comments on questions ................................................................................. 113</p><p>Appendix: Figure 5.1 .......................................................................................... 119</p></li><li><p>Chapter 1: Introduction</p><p>1</p><p>Chapter 1: Introduction</p><p>Methods of geographical analysis is exactly that! </p><p>It is a course that is designed to provide an introduction to some of the basic analytical methods employed by geographers when undertaking their research work. These days most degree programmes will include similar courses in their structures. There will be courses (and textbooks) on, say, methods of sociological analysis or methods of biological analysis and these will have their own particular traits depending on whether the subject matter stems from human society or the natural world. Those involving a specific focus on society will be further differentiated according to whether the main emphasis is on the arts and humanities, or more on the social sciences. Those involving the natural world will, too, be differentiated according to whether the physical sciences or the natural sciences provide the emphasis. This is not to say that the methods used in each of these categories cannot be used in another they can. An elementary text on statistics for biologists will not be that much different, except by way of examples, to the same for statistics for sociologists, for example. In the same way some social sciences, such as economics, might well employ mathematical methods that would not be out of place in the physical sciences. As might be expected, the methods that might be commonplace in the arts and humanities subjects rarely cross over into the armoury of subjects that may be grouped under the collective sciences, be they social or natural or physical. </p><p>Why is it necessary to make these points in an introduction to geographical methods of analysis? It is important that you know what you are going to encounter here. Geography is a subject that straddles the divide between the natural and the social world this is one of the reasons why it is such an important subject. It is an interface subject between society and the natural world. In order to take up this position it has to have practitioners (geographers) who can engage in serious research in both the natural and the social sciences and, because the social sciences are insufficient to provide every analytical nuance on society, we have also to add research in arts and humanities. Put simply, in geography we have researchers who regard themselves as human geographers and those who are better described as physical geographers. And indeed there have been some not many who would like to think that they could wear both hats. Again, put simply, if you have different types of geographer you tend to have different types of methods that they use in their analyses.</p><p>So in geography you have the unusual situation of having to become familiar with a whole variety of methods that would not be necessary if you were, say, solely an arts and humanities student or a student from the natural sciences. As a result there is more to learn. This course will provide an overview of the range of methods some strictly scientific, some much more interpretative even artistic that contemporary geographers use in their everyday work. You might well use some of them first hand when it comes to, say preparing an independent geographical project or dissertation that you might well opt to do later in this degree.</p><p>It is fair to say that physical geographers, in the main, use methods fr...</p></li></ul>