Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Kitchin, R.
Exploring spatial thought
Optional Fields
This article reports on an exploratory investigation of the different ways in which people think about geographical space and formulate answers to cognitive mapping tasks. To try to discover the strategies of spatial thought used in completing a task, designed to measure configurational knowledge (knowledge of the associations between and relative locations of places), individuals were interviewed while they undertook two of four different tests. This was followed by a debriefing interview where respondents could express their feelings and judgments concerning each test. Such an introspective methodology, although being difficult from which to draw any definitive conclusions, does allow an insight into the strategies used in spatial thought and can provide useful information concerning how traditional cognitive mapping research should develop. Many strategies of spatial thought were found to exist. These can be divided into common strategies that concern geographical knowledge (e.g., imagining a map), common task strategies that are general problem-solving strategies usable over several tests (e.g., elimination to narrow choices), and task-specific strategies constrained by the nature of a particular task (e.g., working out distance and direction between A and B, B and C to determine A to C). In addition, by comparing quantitative results with the qualitative interviews it was possible to examine whether the adoption of certain strategies led to more accurate spatial products externalizedd representation of knowledge).
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