Practising Human Geography is critical introduction to disciplinary debates about the practice of human geography, that is informed by an inquiry into how geographers actually do research. In examining those methods and practices that are integral to doing geography, the text presents a theoretically-informed reflection on the construction and interpretation of geographical data - including factual and "fictional" sources; the use of core research methodologies; and the interpretative role of the researcher. Framed by an historical overview how ideas of practising human geography have changed, the following three sections offer an comprehensive and integrated overview of research methodologies. Illustrated throughout, the te
Chapter 2: Official Sources
The centralization of knowledge requires facts – and the legitimization of some facts, and the methods used to collect them, against other facts – to justify features and forms of policy. (Corrigan and Sayer, 1985: 124, emphasis in original)
One of the central arguments of this book is that in all human geographical research it is very important for the researcher to consider the processes through which data sources are constructed. In some cases the researcher is directly involved in the processes of data construction. In others he or she is using data that have been produced by others. In this and the next two chapters, we consider sources of geographical data that are not produced by the researcher him or herself but ...