Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Overview Research in geography Types of geographic research questions Quantitative versus qualitative research approaches Using GIS for research in geography.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Overview Research in geography Types of geographic research questions Quantitative versus qualitative research approaches Using GIS for research in geography."— Presentation transcript:

1 Overview Research in geography Types of geographic research questions Quantitative versus qualitative research approaches Using GIS for research in geography

2 Why do we do research in geography?

3 Research for exploration Investigation of little-understood phenomena Identification of important variables Generation of questions for further research

4 Research for description To describe and characterize patterns and phenomena To document patterns and phenomena of interest

5 Research for explanation and understanding To explain what caused an observed pattern or phenomena To explain why a pattern or phenomena is characterized the way it is To understand processes and interactions between people, places, and phenomena

6 Research for prediction To predict future patterns or outcomes for different phenomena To forecast events and behaviors resulting from different phenomena

7 Exploratory questions: learn about a new issue Descriptive questions: describe a phenomenon Explanatory questions: explain a phenomenon Predictive questions: predicting future patterns Research studies often include two or more types of research questions Types of research questions in geography

8 GIS can be used to answer all types of research questions: Exploratory: Is there a spatial pattern? Descriptive: Has the pattern changed over time? Explanatory: What caused a pattern to change? Predictive: What do we expect the pattern to look like in the future?

9 GIS can be applied in both quantitative and qualitative research studies

10 Quantitative research approaches Application of numerical analytical techniques to address geographic research questions (of all types) Defined as the collection, classification, presentation, and analysis of numerical data

11 Qualitative research approaches Use non-numerical information (e.g. conversations, artifacts, visual images) Entails a wide range of approaches such as unstructured interviews, ethnography, content analysis Shared belief in grounded theory (generate theory from information that the researcher collects)

12 All quantitative analysis is based on qualitative judgements (e.g. quantitative survey of quality of life in Oslo) Did the respondent understand the question? Did the respondent understand your answer scheme (e.g. 1 = agree; 2 = disagree) ? Did the respondent realize the questions were only about living in Oslo? Was the respondent answering honestly or just randomly?

13 All qualitative data can be measured and coded using quantitative methods (e.g. unstructured interviews about quality of life in Oslo Code responses in an open-ended interview with numbers that refer to data specific references For example, code the factors that people see as reflecting high quality of life (e.g., bars, skiing) Quantitative research can therefore be generated from qualitative inquiries.

14 What’s the real difference between research approaches? The major difference between qualitative and quantitative research stems from the researcher’s underlying strategies. Quantitative research is viewed as confirmatory and deductive in nature (use data to test theories) Qualitative research is considered to be exploratory and inductive (gather the data and learn what’s happening from the data and then generate theories)

15 Questions to consider for qualitative versus quantifative research Is your aim the generation of new theories or hypothesis? Do you need to obtain a deep understanding of an issue? Is the issue too complex to quantify? (what does it mean to be poor in Oslo today?) Are you willing to trade detail for generalizability? (e.g., someone’s experience of poverty vs. a quantifiable measure of income levels)

16 GIS is a tool for all types of research questions and research approaches GIS and quantitative, descriptive analysis GIS and quantitative, explanatory analysis GIS and qualitative, descriptive analysis GIS and qualitative exploratory analysis

17 GIS and Quantitative Analysis: Vulnerability to climate change and economic changes in Indian agriculture

18 Context Agriculture in India –27 % GDP –700 million people –more than 60 % is rainfed cultivation Both climate change and economic globalization are ongoing processes with uneven impacts. Indian agriculture will be confronted by both processes simultaneously, leading to changing patterns of vulnerability.

19 Main objectives Assess vulnerability of agriculture to climate change in the context of economic changes Use GIS to identify highly vulnerable areas and social groups Interview farmers in highly vulnerable areas to understand how farmers are coping with climatic and economic changes

20 Methodology GIS-based vulnerability profile Village-level case studies Integration of macro- and micro- scale analyses

21 Globalization vulnerability

22 Climate Change Vulnerability

23 Double Exposure: Areas that are Vulnerable to both Climate Change and Globalization

24 Case study approach Questionnaire-based survey –Economic status –Agricultural practices –Coping mechanisms –Access to facilities (electricity, irrigation, health, education, loans, etc) Participatory rural appraisals Focus group discussions with small and marginal farmers One-to-one meetings with village heads and district administrative officers

25 GIS and Quantitative Methods GIS can also be combined with statistical techniques such as correlation and regression Correlation: are observations correlated across space (e.g. do high income counties cluster together) Regression analysis: incorporate correlation across space into a spatial regression model

26 GIS and Quantitative Explanatory Analysis: Accounting for Income Variation on American Indian Tribal Areas

27 Rural Poverty and Tribal Areas Persistent poverty is an enduring problem for rural areas In the US, persistent rural poverty is especially evident on tribal lands Tribal lands also tend to be located in very “marginal places” Cross-sectional economic and geographic literature has paid relatively little attention to tribal areas (despite many case studies)

28 Research Questions 1. Are there significant differences in per capita income levels between tribal and non-tribal areas, after controlling for locational and other characteristics? 2. Across tribal spatial areas, what accounts for income level variation?




32 What might explain variation in spatial income levels? Locational factors: proximity to urban areas, cost of living, natural amenities, transport infrastructure Structural factors: industry structure (shares in manufacturing, agriculture/resources, federal gov) unemployment rate Individual factors: educational attainment, age- structure of the population Tribal and social capital: AI population share, presence collective economic activity (gaming), type of tribal area (presence of tribal land base)

33 Key Findings Locational, Structural and Individual factors all matter in accounting for income variation across all county groupings, including all tribal types of tribal counties Consistent factors include market size, unemployment, educational attainment, and shares of retirement-age population

34 Key Findings Tribal counties do not have significantly different income levels than other counties (once locational and other factors are controlled) But, tribal and nontribal counties with high shares of American Indians do have significantly lower incomes than other counties (even controlling for other factors)

35 GIS and Qualitiative Methods GIS has historically been applied primarily to quantitative questions Newest frontier in GIS research entails use of GIS in qualitative research

36 Marianna Pavlovskaya, Professor of Geography (CUNY-Hunter) 2002 "Mapping urban change and changing GIS: Other views of economic restructuring," forthcoming in Gender, Place and Culture.

37 Research Questions How did the end of communism affect people’s everyday lives? How did their participation in the economy change (changes in the nature of work)? How did their access to consumer goods changes?


39 Mei-Po Kwan, Professor of Geography (Ohio State University) Evaluating Gender Differences in Individual Accessibility: A Study Using Trip Data Collected by the Global Positioning System

40 Research Questions How do typical daily travel patterns vary between men and women? What do these variations imply about employment opportunities and leisure time activities?


42 Summary GIS can be used to answer all types of research questions, including exploratory, descriptive and an explanatory questions GIS applies to both quantitative and qualitative work The choice of GIS techniques depends on the type of research questions that you are asking The research questions should always come first

Download ppt "Overview Research in geography Types of geographic research questions Quantitative versus qualitative research approaches Using GIS for research in geography."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google