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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



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.
 
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

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