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Geographic Information Systems for the Social Sciences
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Geographic Information Systems for the Social Sciences
Investigating Space and Place



August 2005 | 272 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"The Steinbergs have produced a very relevant book for the times. . . . While many books have emerged on the details of GIS, few resources exist to help teach the merger of GIS with more standard research methods. The Steinbergs accomplish this goal in a way that is readily accessible even to undergraduates."
—Theodore Wagenaar, Miami University  

"The Steinbergs take the reader through all of the essential foundations of GIS… using examples drawn from the social sciences throughout. This book will be essential reading for any social scientist looking for a straightforward introduction to GIS."
—Mike Goodchild, University of California, Santa Barbara  

Geographic Information Systems for the Social Sciences: Investigating Space and Place is the first book to take a cutting-edge approach to integrating spatial concepts into the social sciences. In this text, authors Steven J. Steinberg and Sheila L. Steinberg simplify GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for practitioners and students in the social sciences through the use of examples and actual program exercises so that they can become comfortable incorporating this research tool into their repertoire and scope of interest. The authors provide learning objectives for each chapter, chapter summaries, links to relevant Web sites, as well as suggestions for student research projects.  

Key Features:

  • Presents step-by-step guidance for integrating GIS with both quantitative and qualitative research
  • Provides an introduction to the use of GIS technology written at an accessible level for individuals without GIS experience while providing depth and guidance appropriate to experienced GIS users 
  • Offers an associated interactive Web site—http://www.socialsciencegis.org—to provide a forum for sharing experience and ideas, input to the authors, and a variety of other examples, data, and information related to the topics covered in the text

    Geographic Information Systems for the Social Sciences offers a nuts-and-bolts introduction to GIS for undergraduate and graduate students taking methods courses across the social sciences. It is an excellent textbook for courses dedicated to GIS research and its applications in the fields of Sociology, Criminology, Public Health, Geography, Anthropology, Political Science, and Environmental Studies. It is also a valuable resource for any social scientist or practitioner interested in applying GIS technology to his or her work.

    An Instructor's Resource CD, containing PowerPoint slides, test questions, and suggested Web site links, among other items, is also available to all professors adopting this text.

     
    Preface
    Organization of this book  
    Chapter Summaries  
     
    Introduction
    Social Inequality in Chicago Slums  
    Railroads as Indicators of Civilized Society  
    Early Social Ecology: Spatial Studies of Chicago  
    Relevant Web Sites  
     
    1. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
    What is a Geographic Information System?  
    Understanding GIS  
    The "G" in GIS  
    The "I" in GIS  
    The "S" in GIS  
    Summary  
    Relevant Web Sites  
     
    2. GIS Basics
    An Example of a Spatially-Based Study  
    GIS Data Formats  
    Spatial Data Formats  
    GIS Data Models  
    Topological and Raster Data Models and Analysis Approaches  
    Data Compression and Packaging  
    Essential Mapping Concepts  
    So What Do I Do?  
    GIS Output  
    Summary  
    Relevant Web Sites  
    Suggested Reading  
     
    3. Topics for Sociospatial Research
    Introduction  
    What Value Does GIS Present in Social Science Research?  
    Exploring and Integrating Information  
    Determining Project Goals  
    Guiding Questions  
    How To: Steps in the Process  
    Relevant Web Sites  
     
    4. Research Design
    Inductive Versus Deductive Approach to Research  
    What Is the Purpose of Your Research?  
    Stages of Sociospatial Research for Deductive Research  
    The Role of Time  
    Errors in Human Inquiry  
    Ecological Fallacy  
    Ethics and GIS  
    Relevant Web Sites  
    Suggested Reading  
     
    5. Qualitative Research Methods and GIS
    Introduction  
    Grounded Theory: GIS Using an Inductive Approach  
    Grounded Theory and GIS  
    Sociospatial Grounded Theory Using GIS  
    Questions to Guide Integration of GIS Into Field Research  
    Local Sources of Data  
    Oral History Interviews  
    Participant Observation  
    News as a Source of Data  
    Ethnography and GIS  
    Case Studies and GIS  
    Public Participation and GIS  
    Relevant Web Sites  
     
    6. GIS Data Collection and Development (Sources, Input, and Output)
    Introduction  
    Data Acquisition  
    Evaluating Data Suitability  
    Obtaining GIS Data From the Internet  
    Obtaining Data From Offline Sources  
    How Can I Use My Own Data?  
    Approaching the Use of GIS With and Without Computer in the Field  
    Data Collection Considerations  
    Unit of Analysis  
    Database Concepts and GIS  
    Rules for GIS Database Development  
    Creating GIS-Friendly Data Tables  
    Integrating Other Types of Data  
    GIS Output  
    Conclusions  
    Relevant Web Sites  
     
    7. Measurement
    Introduction  
    Type of Data Source: Primary or Secondary  
    Concepts, Variables, and Attributes  
    Operationalization of Concepts in GIS  
    Different Data Types: Matching Geographic and Social Variables?  
    Validity and Reliability  
    Data Sampling and GIS  
    Study Area and Sample Unit Boundaries  
    Factors Affecting Choice of GIS Variables  
    Relevant Web Sites  
    Suggested Reading  
     
    8. Data Documentation and Model Development
    The Importance of Ground Truthing Data  
    Documenting Data Accuracy and Quality (Metadata)  
    Analytical Approach  
    Phases of Abstraction  
    Statistical Outputs From GIS  
    Relevant Web Sites  
     
    9. Analysis, Interpretation, and Application
    Analysis Techniques  
    Cartographic Classification  
    Buffer and Overlay  
    Proximity Polygons and Nearest Neighbors  
    Social Networks and Network Analysis  
    Topographic Tools  
    Spatial Interpolation and Simulation  
    Modeling  
    When to Use GIS as a Problem-Solving Tool  
    Potential Pitfalls  
    Relevant Web Sites  
     
    10. Future Opportunities for Social Research and GIS
    Linking GIS and the Social Sciences  
    Using GIS to Study Society and Change  
    Identifying Social Inequality  
    GIS City Case Example  
    Government and GIS  
    Data Continuity Over Time  
    Metadata Documentation of Your Data  
    Future Directions for GIS and Social Sciences  
    Visualization and GIS  
    Faster Response Time  
    Impact of Tools for the Future  
    Parting Thoughts  
    Some Suggestions for Student Research Projects  
    Relevant Web Sites  
     
    Glossary
     
    Web Links
     
    References
     
    Index

    This book will be essential for the Data Analysis and Information management modules on the course. It is pitched at about the right level for the students, and will be helpful to both those who have used GIS before, and those who wish to improve their knowledge and skills. A very useful text.

    Ms Helen Poole
    Social Science , Coventry University
    July 15, 2010
    Key features
    • Provides links to relevant web sites
    • Learning objectives for each chapter
    • Examples are included throughout
    • Step-by-step guidance for integrating GIS with both quantitative and qualitative research
    • Provides an introduction to the use of GIS technology for both the academic and the practitioner.
    • Written at an accessible level for individuals without GIS experience while providing depth and guidance appropriate to experienced GIS users 
    • Book has an associated interactive website http://www.socialsciencegis.org  providing a forum for sharing experience and ideas, input to the authors and a variety of other examples, data and information related to the topics included in the text.
    • Suggestions for student research projects.

    Sample Materials & Chapters


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