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Spatially Integrated Social Science: Chapter 1
Chapter 2 >

Thinking Spatially in the Social Sciences
Michael F. Goodchild and Donald G. Janelle

This introduction offers a framework for the conceptual integration of chapters that are intended to illustrate the practice and value of spatial thinking in the social sciences. We begin with an illustration of how the organization of information in non-spatial and spatial formats yields different interpretations, and of how failure to include locational information can shortchange our interpretations of social process. While different disciplines pose different research questions and have different traditions of analysis, we argue that a spatial perspective provides a common thread based on methods of descriptive and exploratory analysis. Specific attention is called to the importance of place-based analysis, the scientific value of spatially explicit models and theory, the utility of geographic information systems (GIS), and the value of space as a basis for integrating knowledge. GIS and spatial statistics are highlighted as appropriate exploratory tools for integrating diverse databases, and for analyzing and visualizing geographical patterns and processes.


Figure 1.1

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