While mental maps and other geographical tools have for some time been employed in cultural geography, they have not been taken up to any significant degree in cultural studies research. This is especially the case with GIS (Geographic Information Systems) computer programs designed to manipulate and represent spatial data. This paper reports upon the early stages of a research project which explores ways in which the data visualization provided by GIS can be valuably employed in humanities discourse-based research methodologies. It will be argued that this process provides a powerful methodological tool connecting the imagined, social world of cultural research ethnography, to the political, topographic and demographic one; this unifying device is especially useful in interdisciplinary projects. Maps also provide a powerful, common sense communication tool for disseminating research findings to policy-makers and the wider community. Therefore, in the next stage of this project, the findings from discourse analysis will be complemented by qualitative semi-structured interview data and mental maps which will provide baseline data capable, in the long-term, of measuring the impact of media discourse on social attitudes to place.
|Keywords:||GIS, Methodology, Discourse Analysis, Qualitative Methodologies, Mental Maps, Semi-Structured Interviews, Space, Cultural Geography|
Senior Lecturer, Research Portfolio Leader, School of Communication and Hawke Research Institute for Sustainable Societies, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
The School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, University of South Australia, Australia
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