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Quantitative Geography

Quantitative Geography
The Basics

First Edition

September 2016 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Numerical data are everywhere. Charts and statistics appear not just in geography journals but also in the media, in public policy, and in business and commerce too. To engage with quantitative geography, we must engage with the quantitative methods used to collect, analyse, present and interpret these data.

Quantitative Geography: The Basics is the perfect introduction for undergraduates beginning any quantitative methods course. Written in short, user-friendly chapters with full-colour diagrams, the book guides the reader through a wide range of topics from the basic to the more advanced, including:
  • Statistics
  • Maths
  • Graphics
  • Models
  • Mapping and GIS
  • R
Closely aligned with the Q-Step quantitative social science programme, Quantitative Geography: The Basics is the ideal starting point for understanding and exploring this fundamental area of Geography. 
Introducing Quantitative Geography
The Use and Abuse of Statistics
Principles of Statistics (or, how statistics work)
Some Maths and Notation
Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
Statistical Testing, statistical significance and why they are contentious
Data Presentation and Graphics
Mapping and GIS
Looking at Relationships and Creating Models
Multiple regression and geography
Analysing Geographical Patterns and Differences
An Introduction to R

'Quantitative Geography: The Basics' delivers exactly what the title promises. An engaging overview of the field that makes a strong case that all geographers can and should be exposed to statistical methods, if they are to fully engage with the contemporary discipline, and to participate effectively in wider, number-saturated, public debates.

David O'Sullivan
Associate Professor of Geography, Berkeley, University of California

I like the pitch of this book because the reader is encouraged to think and use common sense when looking at statistical outputs and to be critical but not negative for the sake of it. Technical terms are explained, often with an analogy. Graphical presentation is covered in detail with examples of different ways of illustrating the same outputs so it is clear why choices help or hinder interpretation. Particular highlights are that using pie charts is a really bad idea and that the author has used parkrun data. However, as a founder and run director at Skipton parkrun, I must declare that my opinion is biased!

Paul Norman
Lecturer in Geography, University of Leeds

I very much like the idea of this book. As a quantitative-based lecturer in a school of geography I struggle to find texts on statistics that will hold students' interests as they often crave geography-motivated examples. It is useful to have access to a statistics text that explicitly focuses on quantitative geography. The content is laid out in a straightforward manner and is not overly mathematical. I would be happy to suggest the text to my students.

Daniel Goldberg
Lecturer in Geography, University of Edinburgh

This is an important book. Rich Harris makes a compelling case for why fluency with data, its collection, analysis and interpretation, is essential for geographers and geography today. The text provides a platform that encourages students to engage with ideas about data - relevant for all students whether interested in social, cultural or, economic geography, or hydrology, geomorphology or biogeography. This is a valuable addition to any introductory undergraduate geography reading list.

Catherine Souch
Head of Research and Higher Education, Royal Geographical Society

A remarkably pedagogic and perfectly illustrated quantitative geography manual that will delight students of all levels as much as their teachers

Thierry Feuillet
European journal of geography

It presents useful insights and example to help student understand the subject matter

Dr Tokunbo Olorundami
School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy, York St John University
March 26, 2024

As with other texts by Harris, this book is written in a way that is accessible to undergraduate students who may be unsure of their quantitative abilities. The book is nicely divided into three parts that progressively lead the student from understanding why quantitative geography is useful, through the basics of maths and statistics needed to do quantitative geography, to the final part that shows how quantitative geography is done. Harris does an excellent job making quantitative geography interesting in a way that works well for both students who have strong quantitative skills as well as those who don't. This, through ample use of diagrams (in colour) and clear explanations, and a minimum of equations required to effectively teach key concepts in quantitative geography.

John Lowry
School of People, Enviro & Planning, Massey University Manawatu - Turitea
February 27, 2018

As an approachable introduction to quantitative methods, this book will be a good entry point for the Year 1 students taking the Researching Manchester course that I lead.

Dr Ross Jones
School of Environment and Development, Manchester University
November 17, 2016

This book is the perfect complement to our undergraduate programming and statistics class: challenging without being too daunting, consistent in its use of examples to develop deeper insights, and comprehensive in its coverage of the foundations of quantitative geography.

Dr Jonathan Reades
Department of Geography, King's College London
November 22, 2016

The title may say 'Basic', but the content certainly doesn't: the book hits that narrow line between too basic (no maths, no deeper explanations) and too advanced (too many 'it clearly follows that'). It's the way we try to teach our courses so it's a great fit.

Dr Jonathan Reades
Department of Geography, King's College London
November 22, 2016

Sample Materials & Chapters

Quantitative Geography: Mapping and GIS

Richard Harris

Richard Harris is Professor of Quantitative Social Geography at the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol. He is the lead author on two textbooks about quantitative methods in geography and related disciplines: Statistics for Geography and Environmental Science (Prentice Hall, 2011) and Geodemographics, GIS and Neighbourhood Targeting (Wiley, 2005). Richard's research interests are in the geographies of education and the education of geographers. He is currently Director of Bristol Q-Step Centre, part of a multimillion pound UK initiative to raise quantitative skills training among social science students, and... More About Author

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