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Spatially Integrated Social Science: Background & Objective

The National Science Foundation funds CSISS to enhance national research infrastructure for the social and behavioral sciences. CSISS provides opportunities to engage social and behavioral scientists in the explicit recognition of spatial perspectives and use of spatial analytic tools. This book was devised as a conduit for the main CSISS ideals into academia. The concept for the book was developed in summer 2000 and was released to the public by Oxford University Press in 2004.

The notion of “spatial social science” is in its formative stages. It is drawing momentum from rapidly expanding applications of new geographic information technologies, improved software, and newly available geographically referenced data of relevance to social science issues. We anticipate that spatial thinking and analysis will expand greatly over the next few years and we hope that this book will assist this important transition.

In identifying contributors, we looked for authors of articles with relevant content who were widely cited, supported from major peer-reviewed funding programs, and noted for use of spatial approaches within their disciplines. Though the authors represent several disciplines, they have one major attribute in common – the application of spatial thinking in their research designs and execution.

This book illustrates how the spatial perspective adds value and insight to social science research, beyond what traditional non-spatial approaches might reveal and makes available outstanding examples on the uses of spatial thinking. 21 chapters illustrate how spatial analysis fosters theoretical understanding and empirical testing. Each chapter exemplifies the founding principle for the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS) – that the analysis of social phenomena in space and time enhances our understanding of social processes. The chapters offer substantive empirical content for illustrating the interpretation of specific spatial analytic approaches suited to advanced research in the social sciences. It is our hope that the book will help cultivate an integrated approach to social science research that recognizes the importance of location, space, spatiality, and place. Aside from demonstrating applications of spatial analysis in research, it is anticipated that this book will also be suited as an advanced-level text for a trans-disciplinary audience.

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