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Quantitative methods II: Big theory

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rachel FranklinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


In this second report on Quantitative Methods, I consider the foundational triumvirate that underpins the sub-discipline: data, methods, and theory. I argue that, although “big data” and, more recently, “big code”, may have captured the limelight, theory is invaluable and should not be disregarded. Showcasing the integral role of theory in quantitative human geography, I identify three kinds of useful theory (old school, enduring, and conceptual) and, along the way, highlight beneficial ways in which they contribute to our thinking about data and methods. Throughout, I emphasise that theory is a crucial component of contemporary and future quantitative methods development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Franklin R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Progress in Human Geography

Year: 2023

Volume: 41

Issue: 1

Pages: 178-186

Print publication date: 01/02/2023

Online publication date: 23/12/2022

Acceptance date: 15/10/2022

Date deposited: 25/10/2022

ISSN (print): 0309-1325

ISSN (electronic): 1477-0288

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/03091325221137334

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/rqn4-t631


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