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Research Guides

GEOG 315: Explanation & Understanding in Geography - Spring 2024: Research Methodology

Research Methodologies

Listed below are a small sampling of a few methods that researchers use in their work.

Experiments - an experiment normally involves the randomized allocation of cases to experimental and control groups, exposing only the experimental group to a treatment whilst controlling the influence of extraneous factors. 

Surveys (or Questionnaires) - a set of carefully designed questions given in exactly the same form to a group of people in order to collect data about some topic(s) in which the researcher is interested.

Participant Observation - a qualitative method of social investigation, whereby the researcher participates in the everyday life of a social setting, and records their experiences and observations.

Ethnography - a research method that includes participant observation, interviews, conversational and discourse analysis, documentary analysis, film and photography, and life histories.

Interviewsa method of data collection, information or opinion gathering that specifically involves asking a series of questions.

Archival Research - primary source research that makes use of evidence found in archival records.

Discourse Analysis detailed exploration of political, personal, media or academic ‘talk’ and ‘writing’ about a subject, designed to reveal how knowledges are organized, carried and reproduced in particular ways and through particular institutional practices.

Secondary Datathe further analysis of an existing data set with the aim of addressing a research question distinct from that for which the data set was originally collected, and generating novel interpretations and conclusions.

Spatial Statisticsthe exploration of physical and spatial features of a particular environment which are associated with certain social outcomes, such as social exclusion or crime, and are therefore seen as having a contributory or perhaps causal effect on social processes or social phenomena.

Source: Victor Jupp, The SAGE Dictionary of Social Research Methods, 2006