Quantitative methods I: The world we have lost – or where we started from

Ron Johnston*, Richard J Harris, Kelvyn Jones, David Manley, Wenfei Winnie Wang, Levi Wolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
650 Downloads (Pure)


Although pioneering studies using statistical methods in geographical data analysis were published in the 1930s, it was only in the 1960s that their increasing use in human geography led to a claim that a ‘quantitative revolution’ had taken place. The widespread use of quantitative methods from then on was associated with changes in both disciplinary philosophy and substantive focus. The first decades of the ‘revolution’ saw quantitative analyses focused on the search for spatial order of a geometric form within an, often implicit, logical positivist framework. In the first of three reviews of the use of quantitative methods in human geography, this progress report uncovers their origin with regard to the underlying philosophy, the focus on spatial order, and the nature of the methods deployed. Subsequent reports will outline the changes in all three that occurred in later decades and will chart the contemporary situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1142
Number of pages10
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number6
Early online date17 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • paradigm shift
  • philosophy
  • quantitative revolution
  • spatial order


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