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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.

    For instructors

    Review and Desk copies for this title are available digitally via VitalSource.

    Request e-review copy

    If you require a print review copy, please call: (800) 818-7243 ext. 6140 or email textsales@sagepub.com.

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    This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.