Qualitative data

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


Against the backdrop of mounting skepticism about scientism in the social sciences over the past 40 years, qualitative data has achieved a new prominence in human geography. Geographers have become increasingly attentive to the ways people make sense of the places they inhabit and to their understandings of the meaning of action. After first defining qualitative data and setting out some of the forms it takes, this entry discusses a variety of issues surrounding qualitative data collection, trustworthiness, and analysis in human geography. It also discusses some of the powers and liabilities of qualitative data, including consideration of the crisis of representation. The entry concludes by pointing to future challenges that new work on areas such as affect, performativity, and nonrepresentational theory in human geography present for our understandings of qualitative data collection, analysis, and communication.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Geography
Subtitle of host publicationPeople, The Earth, Environment and Technology
EditorsDouglas Richardson, Noel Castree, Michael F. Goodchild, Audrey Koyabashi, Weidong Liu, Richard A. Marston
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781118786352
ISBN (Print)9780470659632
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • data quality
  • epistemology
  • field methods
  • knowledge
  • qualitative data
  • qualitative research
  • research
  • research methods
  • sources


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