Table of Contents

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Spatially Integrated Social Science

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Spatially Integrated Social Science

Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series

Edited by Robert Stimson

The chapters in this book provide coverage of the theoretical underpinnings and methodologies that typify research using a Spatially Integrated Social Science (SISS) approach. This insightful Handbook is intended chiefly as a primer for students and budding researchers who wish to investigate social, economic and behavioural phenomena by giving explicit consideration to the roles of space and place. The majority of chapters provide an emphasis on demonstrating applications of methods, tools and techniques that are used in SISS research, including long-established and relatively new approaches.

Chapter 4: Approaches to conducting research

Robert J. Stimson

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, geography, economic geography, environmental geography, human geography, research methods in geography, research methods, research methods in economics, research methods in geography, urban and regional studies, regional economics, research methods in urban and regional studies


As discussed in Chapter 1, research is about generating new information to improve our understanding about social and economic phenomena, events and situations and human behaviours, and to help explain their occurrence. It is about explaining why, when, where and how those things occur. To do that we need data about those things we are investigating. What we need to ensure is that we have confidence that the data we are using to generate information is accurate, valid and reliable, and that the results of our analysis will be meaningful vis-à-vis the research question being investigated. As an information-generating process, research tends to be goal-oriented. When undertaking research, the aim is not to wander at random or chaotically, but to proceed towards an objective. The path may be direct or indirect. Research activities designed to generate information includes those concerned with: · formulating the research question; · developing a research design; · gathering existing and collecting new data; · testing hypotheses relating to data sets; · analysing data; · creating, testing or evaluating problems; · generating, testing or evaluating theory; · understanding interactions; and · making predictions.

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