Quantitative Methodologies

Michael Frank Goodchild

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The quantitative revolution of the 1960s stimulated interest in quantitative methods as tools of scientific investigation. The distinction between quantitative and qualitative methods is technical, but has come to signal a much deeper split in the methodology of human geography. Quantitative methods are indispensable tools for mediating the interaction between theory and experiment, within a scientific paradigm that emphasizes replicability and common understanding of terms. Statistical inference allows investigators to reason about the general properties of populations from evidence based on samples, but has significant difficulties when applied to geographic data. Much quantitative analysis is concerned with the fitting of mathematical functions to relationships, while the search for pattern and anomaly is increasingly viable in today's computing environments. Normative approaches that attempt to optimize some appropriate design function are popular, and the distinction between them and more conventional positive approaches is often blurred. Software is now an essential part of quantitative methodologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Second Edition
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780081022955
ISBN (Print)9780081022962
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Central place theory
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Optimization
  • Quantitative revolution
  • Spatial interaction model
  • Statistical inference
  • Statistical software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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