The process of learning qualitative research has altered dramatically and this Handbook explores the growth, change, and complexity within the topic and looks back over its history to assess the current state of the art, and indicate possible future directions. Moving beyond textbook rehearsals of standard issues, the book examines key methodological debates and conflicts, approaching them in a critical, discursive manner.
Chapter 20: The Art of Geographic Interpretation
The Art of Geographic Interpretation
Our interpretations are our claims to the independent creation of new knowledge. Arrogant work, indeed.
So what is this ‘arrogant work’ we are involved in? What is the art of geographic interpretation? Interpretation in qualitative research is variously (and often unhelpfully) described as something that relies on ‘mysterious procedures’ (Agar, 1980), a process of ‘transformation’ (Wolcott, 1994), or allowing the ‘emergence’ of key themes or issues from materials (Bennett and Shurmer-Smith, 2002). But is this continuing air of mystery around qualitative inquiry necessary in an era when this range of methods has seemingly come of age (Crang, 2002, 2003, 2005)? Phrases such as these have in common a sense of ‘going beyond’ the categorising, ranking, ...