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 23: Merging survey and spatial data using GIS-enabled analysis and modelling

Prem Chhetri and 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


Understanding the spatial patterns of human interaction and engagement with the environmental context or situational setting in which that occurs is critical in spatially integrated social science research. Often attitudinal and behavioural research adopts a non-spatial approach to understanding the hidden behavioural patterns and response sets using questionnaire based surveys. Exclusion of the situational context where a perceptual response or behavioural outcome is elicited could mean that only a partial story will be told. Thus, the integration of unit record survey-based data with spatial data that capture and characterize the locational context of the behaviours on which data are typically collected in a social survey is an important topic for spatially integrated social science research. Human behaviours may be overt, but much of the data collected in surveys tends to be attitudinal or perceptual – and is thus subjective. But that may be in response to physical, socio-economic and cultural stimuli. Understanding of those response relationships might be enhanced if the responses to survey questions are able to be interpreted and analysed within the ‘environmental context’ where they occur. To establish such relationships, behavioural and perceptual data collected through sample surveys needs to be integrated with the environmental or situational context to which it relates, and that situational context can be represented through spatial objective data which represent the objective characteristics of the context; for example the density of the residential area in which a survey respondent lives.

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