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Progress report

Crossing the qualitativequantitative chasm I: Hybrid geographies, the spatial turn, and volunteered geographic information (VGI)
Daniel Sui
The Ohio State University, USA

Progress in Human Geography 36(1) 111124 The Author(s) 2012 Reprints and permission: 10.1177/0309132510392164

Dydia DeLyser
Louisiana State University, USA

Abstract This report, the first of three, reviews methods and methodological approaches, qualitative and quantitative. In an effort to look beyond the qualitative-quantitative divide, two geographers with different methodological background and expertise write together. This first report reviews works under the broader context of hybrid geographies, the spatial turn, and the recent explosive growth of volunteered geographic information (VGI). The works reviewed seek to combine methodological approaches in creative ways, or to create other hybrid research methods, all to address the challenging problems of our times problems that often demand synergy in methodology, holism in ontology, plurarism/open-mindedness in epistemology, and embracing diversity. Keywords hybrid geography, methodology, methods, mixed methods, neogeography, qualitative, quantitative, spatial turn, volunteered geographic information (VGI)

I Introduction: Beyond the qualitative-quantitative divide

With this first in a series of three reports we begin an entirely new progress report, one set to cover qualitative and quantitative research methods together, along with the methodologies that ground them and the approaches that seek to integrate them. We write together in an effort to bury the qualitative-quantitative divide in our discipline (and in the social sciences and humanities more broadly) and we contend that this divide has hindered cooperation, collaboration, and constructive engagement of diversity (Curtis

and Riva, 2010; Walker, 2010). In this first report we focus on work that seeks to mix methods and/or methodologies, as well as on work that seeks to transcend the differences between methods and methodologies. This should not be confused with single-minded advocacy for such work as the methodological way forward.

Corresponding author: Daniel Sui, Department of Geography, The Ohio State University, 1036 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210-1361, USA Email:


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Future reports will highlight qualitative and quantitative approaches that do not seek to meld approaches, but attempt instead to carry out their own methodological work well. Across the three reports we seek to recognize the diversity of approaches current in geographical scholarship, but also to propose that we move beyond the methodological divide that has hindered that scholarship. Our goal is to inject tolerance, strive for synergy, and embrace diversity in our methods and methodologies in order to address creatively the complex problems of our time. Such a broad embrace is (and long has been) common in more introductory texts (Gomez and Jones, 2010; Kitchin and Tate, 1999; Montello and Sutton, 2005) and throughout the history of geography. Yet, though this is a vibrant time of publication on methods and methodologies in geography, that broad-spectrum view remains elusive in work that seeks to engage issues of methods at a higher level, where, with few exceptions (Cope and Elwood, 2009; Crampton, 2010), recent advanced texts in geography are, perhaps necessarily, specialized (Bivand et al., 2008; DeLyser et al., 2010; Hay, 2010; Longley et al., 2010; OSullivan and Unwin, 2010) even as others place a growing emphasis on mixed methods for synthesis and holistic understanding (Carpenter et al., 2009; Tashakkori and Teddlie, 2010). On the surface, the qualitative-quantitative divide appears as different methodological approaches. Yet it may also reflect a much deeper division in human intellectual endeavor and knowledge production, akin to C.P. Snows chasm between scientific and humanistic knowledge (Snow, 1993). In such situations, divides can be just that: divisive. If our research and our discipline are to survive and remain relevant, we must move beyond divisiveness. This is not to say that we must set aside all divisions and differences, for such diversity and debates on fundamental issues are productive whether for an academic discipline or a democracy (Fineman, 2009). This can be a fruitful time for methodological engagements that might better serve

geography as an interdisciplinary field (Baerwald, 2010). In the following section we outline the broader context for such engagements.

II Geographys new turn to synthesis and holism

Geography as a discipline has oscillated between analytical and synthetic paradigms (Harvey, 1997; Turner, 1989). During the first decade of the 21st century, along with geographers current and recent turns to specific domains and approaches (e.g. the critical turn, the cultural turn, the relational turn, the computational turn, the communicational turn, the mobilities turn, the performative turn, etc.), one turn deserves particular attention here: the turn to synthesis and to holism. At least three trends over the past 10 years provide broader context for this synthetic and holistic turn. First, there are calls for a unified geography as the new disciplinary identity (Matthews and Herbert, 2004), for a new synthesis (Gober, 2000), and for studying our planet not bit by bit but all at once (Clarke, forthcoming). As a conceptual framework, hybrid geographies propose to practice this new synthesis in geographic research: Whatmore argues that it is both more interesting and more pressing to engage in a politics of hybridity . . . in which the stakes are thoroughly and promiscuously distributed through the messy attachments, skills and intensities of differently embodied lives whose everyday conduct exceeds and perverts the designs of parliament, corporations and labour (Whatmore, 2002: 3). For Rose (2000: 364), hybrids transgress and displace boundaries between binary divisions and in so doing produce something ontologically new; this notion is echoed by Kwan (2004:759) who recognizes two major divisions within geography: the partition between physical and human geography, of nature from society; and the separation of spatial-analytical geographies, which attempt to create a mode of disembodied geographical analysis, from social,

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cultural, and political geographies. For these scholars, hybrid geographies seek to integrate in grounded practices elements thought to be incompatible or conflicting. Hybrid geographies, also sometimes known as boundary projects, challenge existing boundaries and forge creative connections within geographies physical and human, critical and analytical, qualitative and quantitative aiming to integrate perspectives on space, place, flow, and connection.1 Second, the first decade of this century has witnessed a spatial turn across the physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities, with scholars from different disciplines challenging issues from a spatial perspective. Space has become an integrating theme across the social sciences evidenced by emerging spatially integrated social sciences ( and scholars across the humanities have made GIS and spatial analysis integral parts of their research methodologies (Bodenhamer et al., 2010; Fisher and Mennel, 2010; Knowles, 2008; Scholten et al., 2009; Warf and Arias, 2008). Economist Paul Krugman was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for his work in economic geography. And recent work by mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, and ecologists in complex networks, visual analytics, and spatial modeling has enhanced geographys quantitative toolbox. This spatial turn has not been confined to the Ivory Tower. Policy-makers have realized the crucial importance of space and place in understanding the complexity of the worlds problems, seeking solutions to these problems that will work well under diverse local circumstances the World Bank (2009) framed last years world development report entirely from a geographical perspective, concluding that alleviating, and eventually eliminating, poverty problems must start with reshaping the worlds economic geography. In the USA, the Obama White House has urged all federal agencies to develop place-based policies (Orszag et al, 2009). Third, there is the merger of new means of understanding spatial data with new ways of

creating and acquiring it. The first decade of this century saw the rapid development of Web 2.0 technologies along with major advances in GeoWeb and geospatial technologies, including traditional geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing (RS), global positioning systems (GPS), and location-based services (LBS). This is an unprecedented moment in human history: we can now know where nearly everything, from genetic to global levels, is at all times. These technological advances can be brought to bear on the corresponding data avalanche the vast amounts of user-generated content and volunteered geographic information (VGI) that pours out as individuals become sensors, gathering and disseminating data about their environments and themselves in increasing spatial-temporal detail. Advances in geospatial technologies during the past 10 years have enabled ordinary citizens with little formal training to participate in the production of geographic data and knowledge through diverse forms of user-generated content and VGI. Neogeography has emerged as a descriptive and analytical tool for large numbers of people outside of academia, a process catalyzed by digital mapping technologies and the social-networking practices of Web 2.0 (Batty et al., 2010). The rise of neogeography during the past five years has contributed to the explosive growth of a diverse array of geo-tagged data, and stimulated a new mode of knowledge production via crowdsourcing (Goodchild, 2009). Neogeography and VGI may not mean much when viewed at the individual level, but interesting patterns may emerge when the vast amount of fragmented individual-level data is aggregated and synthesized.

III Recent efforts in geographic synthesis: A step toward consilience?

This section reviews recent efforts towards geographic synthesis that reflect the three trends


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outlined above. All these efforts aim to move beyond the qualitative-quantitative divide, and a narrow view of geographical scholarship. For each hybrid we give a synoptic overview, and offer more detailed discussion on methods and methodologies in representative case studies.

1 Hybridizing physical and human geography

Although geographers following the cultural/ political ecology tradition have for decades worked on topics that link physical and human geography, the growth of hybrid geographies has drawn an increasing number of human and physical geographers (who normally would practice either one exclusively) to cross the physicalhuman divide. Neil Smith (1998) speculates on o capitalthe emergence of what he called El Nin ism both literally and metaphorically noticing the striking similarities in the rhythms of o/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and capitEl Nin alisms periodic crises, and striving to link them o capitalism remains in a causal chain. El Nin controversial, and others dispute the extent ENSO has affected US macroeconomic performance. Using data for ENSO fluctuations and the rates of US inflation and economic growth over the 18941999 timespan, Berry and Okulicz-Kozaryn (2008) explore whether there has been any co-cyclicality between the two phenomena and whether aperiodic ENSO shocks have had any impact on these macroeconomic parameters. They discerned no co-cyclicality or aperiodic shocks, concluding that while ENSO may briefly influence the performance of particular sectors of the economy in particular regions, such locally important effects vanish into the noise surrounding macroeconomic trends in an economy as large and complex as that of the USA (p. 625). Leichenko et al. (2010), however, attempt to relink the current global financial crisis to global climate change using a double-exposure framework. Their empirical results from Californias

Central Valley support the link between global climate change, global financial crisis, and how those are manifested from global to local levels. Meanwhile, Gober et al. (2010a) saw that global climate change presented an uncertain future for urban water planners, particularly in desert areas (like metropolitan Phoenix where they situated their work). The potential local impacts of large-scale processes like global climate change were difficult for urban planers to grasp and apply, so Gober et al. (2010b) downscaled global climate models to the size of metro Phoenix, applying those together with urban-runoff predictions and inputting the data into WaterSim, an integrated computer-based modeling program that could simulate scenarios for Phoenixs water resources based on different projected climates, water-management policies, and water-usage demands. The model enabled the suspension of politicized decisions relating to global climate change, in order to show how endangered a resource the citys water would be under even optimistic scenarios, while also revealing that adaptive policies encouraging residential conservation could lead to long-term water sustainability even under the worst climate-change scenarios. It is not only human geographers addressing in new ways topics typically thought physical (Campbell, 2009; Yusoff, 2009, 2011); physical geographers have also embraced topics more traditionally human (Frazier et al., 2010; Mark et al., 2010; Valdivia et al., 2010). The study of globalization, as Clifford (2009) suggests, need not be the exclusive domain of human geographers or social scientists: physical geography has always been global at heart, and globalization must be seen historically in the global export of western science including physical geography that underpinned colonial resource exploitation. Inspired by Allan Preds work (1984) on the formation of place, Phillips (2001) highlights the primacy of place in human impacts on the environment, and contingency of place has been a dominant theme in his recent publications

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(Phillips, 2009a, 2009b). In a parallel to human geographers efforts to examine economic impacts of global climate change, physical geographers have studied the environmental consequences of the rising divorce rate. Yu and Liu (2007) tracked carbon footprints of couples in 12 countries who married and then either divorced, stayed married, or divorced and remarried. Because divorced couples typically require two residences, Yu and Liu found that energy consumption, water usage, and the amount of space occupied per person all increased dramatically with divorce. In hydrological modeling, Odoni and Lane (2010) advocate an approach that is knowledgetheoretic rather than data-theoretic in order to capture the richer sources of information available to the modeler. Such sources include thirdparty reports, personal recollections and diaries, old photographs and press articles, and opinions which have been, by convention, either excluded from analysis, or simply added into descriptions of model results at the point of dissemination and consultation. This framework represents an effort by physical geographers to embed qualitative data as an integral part of their quantitative models: as they argue, the production of scientific knowledge comes to include not just scientists and specialists, but also those people for whom model predictions make a material difference (p. 151). Continental philosophy has likewise become a source of methodological reflection for physical geographers. Using Nietzsche, Comrie (2010) aimed to engage physical geographers and fellow physical scientists to reconsider their roles as scientists. Debunking the mystique of science and the misconception of seeing science as independent of people and society, Comrie showed that science gains its power by the ways we attach meaning to it and its findings: we should thus act on our ability to bestow that power. Comrie challenges physical geographers to overcome their trained tendency toward detached environmental science and instead fashion a new physical

geography that includes meaning and action. Mistry et al. (2009), drawing from their work on water quality in Guyana, traced their journey as physical geographers from top-down experts to participatory facilitators addressing issues of reflexivity and positionality often (mistakenly) thought only of concern to human geography.

2 Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods

The interdisciplinary nature of geography (Baerwald, 2010) can foster a methodological hybridity in the mixing of qualitative and quantitative methods and methodologies. Recent work features sophisticated mixed-methods approaches that cross the divide between spatial-analytical and social-critical approaches (Barker, 2009; Brown et al., 2008; Collins, 2009; Elwood, 2010; Lo pez-i-Gelats et al., 2009; Schuermans and De Maesschalcka, 2010; Travlou et al., 2008; Tschakert, 2009; Velazquez et al., 2009; Zulu, 2009), revealing the binary between such approaches as pseudo rather than real (Barnes, 2009). Critical geography need not be qualitative and can use numbers (Schwanen and Kwan, 2009) after all, Karl Marx used quantitative methods extensively. But, as Elwood (2010) points out, thoughtful mixed-methods research must bridge not only methodological but also epistemological and philosophical divides. Cherished theoretical principles may become renegotiated: Bergman et al. (2009: 265) seek nothing short of a methodological reinterpretation of what employing mathematical arguments could mean within larger, postpositivist theoretical projects in critical human geography. Mixed-methods research offers human geographers the opportunity to identify appropriate roles for different methods (Elwood, 2010). In transport geography this may involve exploring how context affects human travel behavior. Zoliniks (2010) multilevel, mixed-methods approach to the criticisms of quantitative methods in transport geography shows that quantitative modeling (at a


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single level) can complement qualitative analysis (across multiple levels). Goetz et al. (2009) examine recent transport-oriented research in highly cited geography journals, revealing that geographical research on transport topics is more prevalent and (though often influenced by civilengineering approaches) reflects a wider range of epistemological and methodological approaches than frequently assumed. They propose a critical-transport-geography research agenda that calls for the greater integration of qualitative analysis into predominant quantitative-modeling approaches. Perhaps most dramatic in mixed-methods research in human geography is the development of qualitative GIS (Aitken and Kwan, 2010), which, along with participatory GIS, feminist GIS, and critical GIS, works to reconceptualize GIS as more than only quantitative in terms of data, analysis, and representation. Emerging in response to critiques that characterized GIS as rooted in positivist epistemologies and most suited for quantitative techniques associated with the discredited spatial science (Wilson, 2009), qualitative GIS reveals that GIS, from its inception, has been more than quantitative (Cope and Elwood, 2009: 171). Using mixed/hybrid methods in representation, mode of analysis, and conceptual engagement, qualitative GIS embraces non-cartographic forms of data, qualitative analysis, and multiple modes of representation (Cope and Elwood, 2009). Furthermore Knigge and Cope (2006, 2009) show how the inductive, iterative analysis practices of grounded visualization can engage scale in GIS as both a cartographic representation and a sociopolitical construction. Elwood (2009), drawing from her work on grassroots GIS practices, demonstrates how cartographic representations generated in a GIS might be engaged to produce multiple and different understandings of neighborhood, negotiating the meanings and characteristics associated with neighborhood as flexible and fixed, and engaging them as both material and imagined space. And Aitken and

Craine (2009) show how a non-representational reading of GIS-based representations can illuminate greater insights into affective and emotive politics than more traditionally technical readings.

3 Archival ethnography
Ann Laura Stoler (2009) urges a move away from treating the archives as an extractive exercise (p. 47), advocating applying ethnographic sensibilities to archival research. This shift, from archive as source to archive as subject (p. 44) is not entirely new (Darnton, 1984; Ginzburg, 1982), but this hybrid form of research has been forwarded by a number of geographers. As Ogborn (2009: 18) advises, We can examine archives . . . [by] asking ourselves what forms of communication are they? both when they were created, and in communicating between past and present. Lorimer and Philo (2009) do just that in their endeavor to allow more disorder into the archive through their investigation of the haphazardly kept and collected archive of their own geography department. They point out that the researcher needs to be suspicious of the apparent order, and instead seek out cracks in the fac ade because a disorderly archive need not yield a disordered account, nor must an ordered archive yield an orderly one: the most conventionally ordered accounts . . . may also be the ones that miss what is most important (Lorimer and Philo, 2009: 229, 250). Lambert (2009) employs an ethno-historical approach, identifying blanks within the written record to understand the identities and histories of enslaved witnesses and excavate their knowledge from colonial archival traces (p. 48), demonstrating how even the unsaid can become evidence (p. 58). Others, like Cameron and Matless (2010), also found things thought not accessible in archives. Studying an ecological field course in the UK, they showed how even ignorance itself (in this case the ignorance of local agricultural practices that course participants had mistaken for natural processes) must be achieved

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and sustained and how this ongoing operation can be revealed in the archives. Neither must non-humans be left from the archives, though their tracks can be difficult to trace. Lorimer and Whatmore (2009) draw on emerging techniques in embodied re-enactive historical geography in their study of elephants and an elephant hunter in 19th-century Ceylon: scrutinizing the hunters published works, journals, and sketches; examining the hunters clothing, equipment and rifle crushed by an elephant; and conducting fieldwork at the sites of Sri Lanka hunts, re-reading key texts in situ as a partial means to understand the archives from a more-than-human perspective. Nor must the archive be understood as merely a textual realm. For Ogborn suggests understanding a world of practice as simultaneously a world of communication (rather, perhaps, than representation) can provide a way forward for historical geographers to explore practices without simply turning our backs on what we have learned about the world through texts (Ogborn, 2009:19). So too must the understanding of archival practices extend to those doing archival research. Bailey et al. (2009) detail the backstage production of their work in a Methodist archive, writing a group-autoethnography-in-an-archive because research methods and reportage cannot be abstracted from the practices and experiences of the researchers. Similar to Mistry et al. (2009) above, they encourage the development of an enlivened geography in which practitioners acknowledge their voices (Bailey et al., 2009:265, 258, 266).

4 Activism, applied geography, and academia

Community engagement, either in the form of Participatory Action Research (PAR) (Reason and Bradbury, 2007), or applied geography (Pacione, 1999), draws on strong traditions in the social sciences and humanities, and involves different hybridizations of research, pedagogy,

participation, political action, and caring. Geographers working in this area, like the Automomous Geographies Collective (2010), reject the false distinction between academia and wider society, seeking instead ways to research and engage collectively, in part by recognizing the emancipatory potential of education, research and publications (pp. 245, 263). Evans et al. (2009) advocate a fusion of methods across subfields previously thought unconnected, arguing that such linkages can be useful particularly in collaborative, community-based work, where they can help recognize indigenous peoples as the authors, not objects, of knowledge (see also Jazeel and McFarlane, 2010). And Gibson-Graham and Roelvink (2009: 343) advocate a hybrid research collective of human and non-human actants to stimulate world-changing processes. Part of the challenge, as Askins (2009) points out, is that although our research, teaching, learning, and activism are shaped by emotions, this is often under-acknowledged. She urges academics to make time and space for emotions in every stage of research. But emotions, according to Brown and Pickerill (2009) are linked to the very sustainability of activism, for activism is sustained through emotional engagements and emotional reflexivity. The meanings and practices of emotional reflexivity must be examined by researchers in the context of the different spaces of activism, for spaces themselves may hinder or enable emotional reflexivity in activism. Such awareness, they argue, can be a first step to sustainability of activism. Another avenue for activist work seeks to link activism and involvement explicitly with pedagogy (see Boyer, 1990), drawing students into academic and community practice. Mountz et al. (2008) linked their course with a local community-service center, allowing research questions and class projects to emerge organically through dialog, and only then asking to collaborate with organizations whose work resonated with the themes that had emerged, and thus laying a framework for meaning


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makingoutside the classroom (p. 228). Course evaluations, community partners, and presentation attendees all responded positively to the projects, yet the time and energy commitments of the course proved overwhelming for many even while it also became a defining part of . . . [their] lives (pp. 233, 235). Despite the challenges, integrating Participatory Action Research with teaching, as Pain (2009) points out, links theory to practice, and enables conceptual and methodological learning to be situated both in and out of the classroom (see the symposium on this topic: Cope, 2009; Elwood, 2009; Kindon and Elwood, 2009; Moss, 2009).

5 Mashing up paleo- and neogeography

The explosive growth of volunteered geographic information (VGI) has precipitated a possible new divide the so-called neogeography versus paleogeography (Sieber et al., 2009; Sui, 2009a). If neogeographers are those with little or no formal geographic training who contribute geographic information on a voluntary basis using the technologies loosely known as Web 2.0, then, by implication, professional geographers are paleogeographers. While this division is used only loosely and sometimes sarcastically, it has been on the increase. Many forms of synthesis in the context of VGI applications can be described as mashups (the term, borrowed from the music industry, originally referred to a composition created by blending two or more songs). In the context of Web-based applications, a mashup may have multiple meanings (Sui, 2009b). At the functional/service level, a mashup may be a Web page or application that combines data or functionality from two or more external sources to create a new service. In terms of content, a mashup can be a digital media file containing a combination of text, maps, audio, video, and animation, which recombines and modifies existing digital works to create a derivative work. The term implies easy, fast integration, frequently

using open APIs (Application Programming Interface) and data sources to produce something new. A growing number of companies, including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and MapQuest have developed products and services that enable their users to develop their own APIs for this purpose, and millions of Web users have developed creative applications. But a mashup is more than a technical advance its significance lies in its promotion of a new habit of mind towards synthesis and hybridity. Mashing up neo- and paleogeography has opened new avenues. Liu and Palen (2010) presented a qualitative analysis of the design and creation of crisis-map mashups to describe emergent neogeographic practices in emergency management and disaster relief. They analyzed the circumstances that led to mashup creation, data selection, and design choices vis-a-vis spatial and temporal information representation. Using Ushahidi and New Orleans repopulation maps as case studies, they further discussed the implications of emergent neogeographic practices to illustrate benefits gained by merging professional/paleo and participatory/neo geotechnologies for crisis mapping, and the opportunities provided by the blending of the two for improvement of geographic and cartographic literacy. Zook et al. (2010) document the role of mashing up neo- and paleogeographic information in the Haiti relief effort. They focused on four mashup efforts in particular: CrisisCamp Haiti, OpenStreetMap, Ushahidi, and GeoCommons. Both Liu and Palen, and Zook et al. found such mashups via online mapping sites a key means through which individuals could make a tangible difference in the work of relief and aid agencies without being physically present in Haiti. Goodchild and Glennon (2010) use forest-fire mapping as a case to examine the potential for VGI in time-critical scenarios, further demonstrating the power of crowdsourced online mapping. User-generated content (UGC) and VGI in particular are also increasingly becoming an important data source, often mashed up with

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more traditional sources for geographic research. Cidell (2010) reported the use of content clouds (summarizing the contents of a document by depicting the words that appear most often in larger, darker type within the cloud) as a method of exploratory qualitative data analysis using primarily online information. When utilized as a form of qualitative GIS, content clouds provide a powerful way to summarize and compare information from different places on a single issue. Using Dell Computers customer blog (direct2Dell), which reveals communicative behavior directed both at seeking objective information and locating subjective experiences, Poon and Cheong (2009) show how blog data can be used to examine complex intersubjectivity in economic geography. Other economic geographers have used blog data to examine agglomeration effects and the dominance of major metropolitan areas as information hubs (Jones et al., 2010; Mould and Joel, 2010). OLoughlin et al. (2010) have utilized data from WikiLeaks and the Afghan war to reveal microgeographies, conflict diffusion, and clusters of violence in Afghanistan. Adding to the literature using geospatial technologies in human-rights monitoring (AAAS, 2010), Madden and Ross (2009) have mashed up multiple sources of online and offline interviews and personal narratives to illuminate patterns of genocide, human rights abuses, and atrocities in northern Uganda.

IV Conclusions
This report has reviewed broad trends that, from a methodological perspective, could have transformative effects on the practice of human geography. Although they embrace divergent approaches and methodologies to address complex issues, they also converge around a (re)turn to synthesis and holism in their aims. Hybridizing, remixing, and mashing up conceptual frameworks, data sources, and modes of analysis as these works do may provide a means to cross

the methodological, epistemological, and philosophical chasms that have divided human geography. And, while the most common hybrids involve combining the statistical analysis of population data with interviews of a smaller number of people, or supplementing GIS with qualitative data, we have endeavored to show some of the breadth in hybrid methods used by geographers there are others we have not discussed, such as collaboration between geographers and artists (Ahlqvist et al., 2010; Askins and Pain, forthcoming; Nabulime and McEwan, forthcoming). It is nevertheless true that a worrisome percentage of the works we searched for this report do not describe the methods and methodologies employed whether hybrid or not. Even so, the application and success of these hybrid geographies and mixedmethods approaches demonstrates that what were once perceived as methodological, epistemological, and philosophical chasms not only can be, but have been, bridged. More than 30 years ago, Feyerabend (1975: 305306) argued that everywhere science is enriched by unscientific methods and unscientific results, and that the very division between science and non-science was detrimental for true understanding. Consistent with Fayerabends embrace of all methods, Wolch (2003) advocated radical openness itself as a method. Radical open-mindedness, coupled with an engaged pluralist approach as outlined by Barnes and Sheppard (2010) can be a fruitful way forward. Mixing methods, as done by those whose work we have cited here, is but one way of engaging the multiple voices present in the sites and communities where our research is placed. All methods simultaneously enable and disable, and mixing methods is not the only way to approach methodological challenges. Nor would we wish to undermine the complexities and challenges in adopting a synthetic/holistic approach in research. As Wyly (2009) has noted:

how can we ever find the time to master the dizzying array of traditions and techniques required to create truly hybrid geographies, without giving up the depth that comes with specialization in social theory or spatial econometrics or feminist ethnography or participant observation or policy analysis or the list goes on? (Wyly, 2009: 319)

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and McDowell L (eds) Handbook of Qualitative Geography. London: SAGE, 287304. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2010) What can geospatial technologies do for the human rights community? Available at: http:// Askins K (2009) Thats just what I do: Placing emotion in academic activism. Emotion, Space and Society 2: 413. Askins K and Pain R (forthcoming) Contact zones: Participation, materiality and the messiness of interaction. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Autonomous Geographies Collective (2010) Beyond scholar activism: Making strategic interventions inside and outside the neoliberal university. ACME 9: 245274. Baerwald TJ (2010) Prospects for geography as an interdisciplinary discipline. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 100: 493501. Bailey AR, Brace C, and Harvey DC (2009) Three geographers in an archive: Positions, predilections and passing comment on transient lives. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 34: 254269. Barker J (2009) Driven to distraction?: Childrens experiences of car travel. Mobilities 4: 5976. Barnes T (2009) Not only . . . but also: Quantitative and critical geography. Professional Geographer 61: 292 300. Barnes TJ and Sheppard E (2010) Nothing includes everything: Towards engaged pluralism in Anglophone economic geography. Progress in Human Geography 34(2): 193214. Batty M, Hudson-Smitha A, Miltona R, and Crooks A (2010) Map mashups, web 2.0 and the GIS revolution. Annals of GIS 16: 113. Bergman L, Sheppard E, and Plummer PS (2009) Capitalism beyond harmonious equilibrium: Mathematics as if human agency mattered. Environment and Planning A 41: 265283. Berry BJL and Okulicz-Kozaryn A (2008) Are there ENSO signals in the macroeconomy? Ecological Economics 64: 625633. Bivand RS, Pebesma EJ, and Go mez-Rubio V (2008) Applied Spatial Data Analysis with R. Berlin: Springer. Bodenhamer DJ, Corrigan J, and Harris T (2010) The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Boyer E (1990) Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Institutional culture may discourage transdisciplinary research (Wainwright, 2010), and yet, as Turner (1989) argued, single-minded synthetic approaches do not necessarily serve the discipline well. Instead, balanced specialistsynthesis approaches adapted to each new situation may be the most successful methodological framework. Our future reports will examine methods, new and old, that seek to engage either qualitative or quantitative approaches, striving to do them each well and meld them creatively wherever and whenever needed. Note
1. Efforts toward hybridity have been supported at the funding level as well. The US National Research Council (NRC, 2010) identified a transdisciplinary area they term the geographical sciences with a deliberate plural because of the diverse theoretical and methodological framework scholars in different areas follow in their geographical practices; and the US National Science Foundation established a new program funding projects focused on coupling natural and human system dynamics ( 13681); such mandates accelerate synthetic efforts and practices of hybrid geographies.

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