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Geographers at work: research methods

Here are examples of cultural geographic research that demonstrate both the primary methods we discussed this week - interviewing, analysis of cultural texts, and ethnography - and alternative and experimental methods. 

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I. Conventional methods.

II. Alternative and experimental methods.

And you can view part of my current creative and research project on landscapes here.


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Matt Herbert

I read the article "Photographing faith in suburbia" and found it to be really fascinating. Photography, as a method of cultural geography, is heavily based on empiricism (knowledge through observation.) Yet, the authors of this article were clever in that they sent out people with cameras to not only take pictures, but to report back what they learned verbally. A lot of the concepts mentioned in the article were a combination of the photographs mixed with the ideas, opinions, and observations of the participants. I think think is a great method to use to understand cultural geography.


I read the Tim Cresswell poems and I thought that they were a really interesting take on how different places area perceived and the many pieces that come together to create a place. I liked the first poem List Sonnet on Justice the most. I found the poem a slightly funny take on how different things take been turn into a capitalist. The idea that something as complex as justice can be achieved by calling a phone number is an amusing idea that doesn’t make any since when we think about it.

Kamalei P.

I read the Tim Cresswell poems as well and I thought it was an interesting read. The different poems basically talked about the location or the environment of the different places and gave those things meanings. For example, one poem talks about Brooklyn and we all know that Brooklyn is a well-known location in New York. But then another poem talked about a person named Karl Max wandering the aisles of a store named Tesco and I liked how they gave an important meaning to an environment as unimportant as a store aisle. You can find many things and many different meanings in these poems, but I liked how they analyzed the little geographic details and gave a sense of place to these different locations found in the poems.

Jiayue Wang

The article "Leave only footprints? How traces of movement shape the appropriation of space," combines conventional and experimental methods together, research mountain biking and walking in a national park in Scotland, to explore how the marks made on the ground through outdoor recreation become caught up in struggles over appropriate ways to move one’s body in nature. This article identifies traces of movement, and the ways in which they are rendered ‘visible’ or ‘natural’ in talk, action and terrain, as key territorialising devices. In particular, a social and cultural treatment of the environmental impacts of outdoor recreation highlights how absence, as well as presence, of traces can be a powerful device for staking claims to space.

Ming Ng

I read "Leave only footprints? How traces of movement shape the appropriation of space," too. It talked about how the different traces shown were visible or natural left in the terrain. They also paid attention to other tracks in the ground that isnt necessarily what you may usually find on outdoor terrain. They looked at mountain bikes tracks and hikers traces in the landscape. The study also learned how important the mountains were for mobility where it was a pathway to get to places and go through.

John Stone

I read "Photographing Faith in Suburbia," and I think that photographs are a great way of documenting culture. Photos can capture different cultures for other people to view and get a glimpse into, and analysis could be easier after capturing the moment with picture and film. Without film, it would be very difficult for us to see into the lives of people with different lifestyles and understand different cultures.

Ana Bautista

I read the "Beautiful place, beautiful face..." I thought this article was extremely weird. I had no idea this existed i new about plastic surgery, but the tour I did not. This was an example of digital geography, it explained about the website on plastic surgery and how it had body parts on the side. Gender is am major influence in this article as well as mobility.

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