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Volume 1, Number 1

Assessing and Improving Geographic Belief: A Cognitive Approach
Norman R. Brown and Alinda Friedman
Volume 1 (1999), Number 1, Pages 1-13

Over the past several years, we have conducted numerous experiments designed to assess what people know about world geography and to determine how new facts affect prior knowledge. Typically, participants first estimate the latitudes or longitudes of cities in different parts of the world. Next, they are given information about the actual location of a small number of these cities and provide a second set of estimates. These location estimates are converted to representations, called location profiles, which convey information about estimation accuracy, the subjective division of continents and countries into regions, biased beliefs about the location of these regions, and beliefs about the relations between regions both within and between continents. In addition, differences between the first and second estimates indicate how representations of global geography are updated when people learn new location information about individual cities. This article provides an introduction to this research, and summarises is main findings.

Keywords: subjective geography, location profile, bias, category, seeding

Cross-Cultural Research in Geographic Education: Some Challenges and Realities
Rod Gerber
Volume 1 (1999), Number 1, Pages 14-37

Geographic educators around the world are becoming increasingly interested in research work on similar topics that are being conducted in similar and contrasting settings around the world, e.g. in topics such as learning mapping skills, students’ understanding of the world and environmental values. Of concern is the extent to which these comparisons are reasonable, considering the different contexts in which they occur. It is, therefore, important for geographic educators to appreciate the nature, challenges and benefits of cross-cultural research in geographic education. Key challenges such as language, methodology, stakeholders’ values, the situation/context, cross-cultural versus cross-national research and extent of generalization of results need to be considered. In addition, the benefits of cross-cultural research in geographic education, including internationalization of outcomes, generalizability, collaboration amongst researcher, and improved curricular development are worth noting.

Keywords: geographic education, cross-cultural research, research methodology

A Functional Taxonomy For Mapping in Geographic Education
Henry W. Castner
Volume 1 (1999), Number 1, Pages 38-65

A taxonomy of map use functions, and the map types associated with each, is proposed as a tool in developing more logical sequences of classroom activities that introduce students to maps, their various uses, and to the processes of geographic thinking. Awareness of the great variety of map types and functions is needed so that students can improve their skills in creating and using the appropriate map for inventory, navigation, measurement or analysis tasks. Traditionally we categorize maps on the basis of content, scale, or user group. But this fails to illuminate the different ways we design maps so as to address a variety of spatial problems. This paper discusses criteria that can be used to create such a taxonomy and applies them to a prototype taxonomy. It identifies four genera of map use tasks or questions and more than fifty species of models, drawings, and map types. A number of implications for geographic education are noted.

Keywords: taxonomy, mapping in geographic education, tasks in map use, geographic thinking

A Schema Theoretical Approach to Understanding Map Readings
Joan Maier
Volume 1 (1999), Number 1, Pages 66-84

This two-year study employed a modified grounded theory research methodology. Two questions guided this study: 1.) Could schema theory explain map reading? 2.) Could schemata and processing strategies for map reading be identified and characterized? The subjects voluntarily interpreted a familiar and then an unfamiliar map followed by probing questions that query the subject to think “out loud” in order to clarify their voluntary responses. Individual subjects’ protocols were compiled for constant comparative analysis. These procedures resulted in (1) evidence that supports the application of schema theory to explain map reading; and the development of schemata and processing strategies categories.

Keywords: schema theory, map reading, comprehension, geographic literacy, processing strategies


Wilson, Frank R. 1998. The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the BRian, Language and Human Culture. New York: Panteon Books.

  • Henry W. Castner
  • Volume 1 (1999), Number 1, Pages 85-88