Chapter 3), is a major topic of techniques-related research in geography and it is one of the principal topics of specialization within the field, currently demanded by students and employers alike.

The focus of this chapter on techniques for empirical analysis should not be taken to mean that methodological contributions in geography have been restricted to observation and hypothesis testing. For the past 20 years the discipline has been a fertile field of theoretical research, particularly in conceptualizing and modeling geographic processes. In many ways these theoretical developments have given the discipline its secure intellectual foundation.


Observation of phenomena and events is central to geography's concern for accurately representing the complexity of the real world. The traditional and still widely practiced method of observation is through direct "on-the-ground" contact between geographer and subject through field observation and exploration. Fieldwork is particularly effective for making observations at micro- to mesoscales, as typified, for example, by the study of single watersheds or cities.

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