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Title: Issues of validity and integrity in cognitive mapping research : investigating configurational knowledge
Author: Kitchin, R. M.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1995
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It is argued in this thesis that at present, research within the field of cognitive mapping is theoretically and practically weak. The relevant issues of validity which are leading to weak research are explored, and ways to increase the integrity of conclusions that can be drawn from cognitive mapping research are outlined. The first half of the thesis concentrates on examining how cognitive mapping research can be strengthened from a conceptual perspective. The field of cognitive mapping is defined and its reasons for study justified. Issues relating to the practical study of cognitive map knowledge are examined, and it is argued that the route to stronger validity is through the integration of ideas and concepts from geography and psychology. A conceptual shema is detailed which attempts such an integration. The second half of the thesis details the practical study. Four studies were undertaken using a multi-data, multi-analysis research strategy to examine issues of practical validity. Both quantitative tests and qualitative semi-talk aloud protocols were used to collect data. It was discovered that all the configurational knowledge tests produced varying results due to methodological biases. Spatial familiarity was found to be a significant factor in the acquisition of cognitive map knowledge, but there were only a few minor differences between the results of females and males. It was established that alternative aggregation strategies lead to different results, and it was concluded that each strategy should be used for specific purposes. Respondents reported many different strategies of thinking about geographic space, although no one strategy produced better results. There was evidence that respondents' knowledge is stored as both imagery and propositions, and that it is stored hierarchically. This thesis provides evidence that the convergence and integration of ideas and techniques from geography and psychology is fruitful, producing research which is conceptually sound, and that the issues of practical validity can be successfully strengthened.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available