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Adding quality to geography: On the importance of qualitative research in human geography

Lookup NU author(s): Martin Sokol


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This article aims to highlight the importance of qualitative methods in geographical research. It argues that qualitative methods offer important opportunities for improving research in human geography. For this reason, qualitative approaches have received much attention in Western geographical theory and practice. This is demonstrated through the examination of a series of paradigmatic shifts and illustrated with examples from geographical practice. While acknowledging that qualitative research is not without its problems, the article argues that Slovak geography has a lot to gain from embracing qualitative research much more fully. With this aim in mind, the article offers a description of selected qualitative methods including interviews, focus groups, action research, case studies, observation and the analysis of textual and visual material. In addition to this, we also discuss the use of these methods in various geographical research contexts using recent examples from Western geographical practice. While in the paper we emphasize the importance of qualitative research approaches, we also discuss the problems of qualitative data collection/construction, the issue of subjectivity and the challenges related to the ethics of qualitative research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rochovska A, Blazek M, Sokol M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geograficky Casopis

Year: 2007

Volume: 59

Issue: 4

Pages: 323-358

ISSN (print): 0016-7193

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Slovak Academic Press Ltd.