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The case for spatially-sensitive data: how data structures affect spatial measurement and substantive theory

Raumsensible Daten: wie Datenstrukturen räumlich-geographisches Messen substantielle Theorie beeinflussen

Chan-Tack, Anjanette M.


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Abstract Innovations in GIS and spatial statistics offer exciting opportunities to examine novel questions and to revisit established theory. Realizing this promise requires investment in spatially-sensitive data. Though convenient, widely-used administrative datasets are often spatially insensitive. They limit our ability to conceptualize and measure spatial relationships, leading to problems with ecological validity and the MAUP – with profound implications for substantive theory. I dramatize the stakes using the case of supermarket red-lining in 1970 Chicago. I compare the analytical value of a popular, spatially insensitive administrative dataset with that of a custom-built, spatially sensitive alternative. I show how the former constrains analysis to a single count measure and aspatial regression, while the latter’s point data support multiple measures and spatially-sensitive regression procedures; leading to starkly divergent results. In establishing the powerful impact that spatial measures can exert on our theoretical conclusions, I highlight the perils of relying on convenient, but insensitive datasets. Concomitantly, I demonstrate why investing in spatially sensitive data is essential for advancing sound knowledge of a broad array of historical and contemporary spatial phenomena.
Thesaurusschlagwörter urban research; urban sociology; regional factors; data capture; statistics; research approach; zone; analysis; neighborhood; retail trade
Klassifikation Erhebungstechniken und Analysetechniken der Sozialwissenschaften; Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeographie
Methode Grundlagenforschung; Methodenentwicklung
Freie Schlagwörter spatial regression; spatially-sensitive data; spatial measurement; ecological validity; Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP); retail red-lining; supermarket access; neighborhood effects
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2014
Seitenangabe S. 315-346
Zeitschriftentitel Historical Social Research, 39 (2014) 2
Heftthema Spatial analysis
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.12759/hsr.39.2014.2.315-346
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz Creative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht-kommerz.