You are here

An Introduction to Scientific Research Methods in Geography

An Introduction to Scientific Research Methods in Geography

March 2006 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

An Introduction to Scientific Research Methods in Geography applies the research, philosophy and methods of the social and natural sciences to topics in geography, while recognizing the pluralism of geography, avoiding simplistic conceptions of scientific geography, such as narrowly "positivistic," "objective," or "quantitative." In this way, the text attempts to promote rigor and progressiveness in geography, helping to build bridges among the various subfields of geography and the other social and natural sciences, while avoiding some of the limiting meta-theoretical conflicts that have characterized geography in recent decades.

Key Features

  • Provides a broad and integrative introduction to the conduct and interpretation of scientific research in geography
  • Covers both conceptual and technical aspects, and is applicable to all topical areas in geographic research, including human and physical geography, and geographic information science
  • Discusses all parts of the research process, including:
    • Scientific philosophy
    • Basic research concepts
    • Generating research ideas
    • Communicating research and using library resources
    • Sampling and research design
    • Quantitative and qualitative data collection
    • Data analysis
    • Display and interpretation
    • Reliability and validity
    • Using geographic information techniques in research
    • Ethical conduct in research

Intended Audience: The text is intended for undergraduate and graduate courses on Research Methods in Geography and related disciplines, such as Environmental Studies. In addition, it will be valuable as a reference work or primer for students, faculty, and other professionals who want a concise and integrated introduction to research methods in geography.

A Scientific Approach to Geography

Fundamental Research Concepts
Data Collection in Geography

Physical Measurements
Behavioural Observations and Archives
Explicit Reports
Surveys, Interviews, and Tests

Experimental and Nonexperimental Research Designs
Statistical Data Analysis
Data Display
Tables, Graphs, Maps, Visualizations

Reliability and Validity
Geographic Information Techniques in Research
Scientific Communication in Geography
Ethics in Scientific Research

For a comprehensive college-level study of geographic research methods, choose An Introduction to Scientific Research Methods in Geography, which covers the entire research process and describes basic concepts, from generating ideas to using library resources and using ethical judgement in conducting, compiling and presenting research. Plenty of illustration of different geographic research techniques include boxed summaries and spatial examples, which self-tests, assessments, and exercises make for a perfect beginner's coursebook.


"I would recommend this book for use as a reference or a text in any undergraduate-or graduate-level course that covers geographic research methods. The final, and perhaps key, strength of this book is that it is written for the entire research community."

Arthur N. Samuel
Bowling Green State University

"Dan Montello and Paul Sutton’s well-written book on how to
pursue geographic inquiry using the scientific method and related research
techniques should become required reading for many present and future
geographers. Even researchers who do not traditionally employ the scientific method,
or do not necessarily adhere to all of its principles, will find this book a
useful addition to their collection. It covers not only topics germane to the
breadth of human geography but offers material that all geographers, human and
physical alike, will find relevant. My expectation is that while this book will
primarily be used for undergraduate courses in research and quantitative
methods, graduate students in geography will also find it a
useful resource."

Scott Bell
Brown University

I will recommend this book for students that do not have a very specific geography background

Dr Martin Van der Velde
other, Radboud University Nijmegen
May 16, 2011

Perfect text for our GEO 470 Senior Capstone Experience

Dr Richard Schultz
Geography Enviro Planning Dept, Elmhurst College
March 10, 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 5

Chapter 3

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781412902861

ISBN: 9781412902878

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.