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Geographic Information Systems for the Social Sciences

Geographic Information Systems for the Social Sciences
Investigating Space and Place

September 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.'ùTheodore Wagenaar, Miami Universityáá 'The Steinbergs take the reader through all of the essential foundations of GISà 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.'ùMike Goodchild, University of California, Santa Barbaraáá 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.áá 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 usersá Offers an associated interactive Web siteùhttp:/www.socialsciencegis.orgùto 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,áamong other items, is also availableáto all professors adopting this text.
Organization of this book  
Chapter Summaries  
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  
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  
Relevant Web Sites  
Suggested Reading  
3. Topics for Sociospatial Research
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
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)
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  
Relevant Web Sites  
7. Measurement
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  
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  
Web Links

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

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