Inductive Visualization: A Humanistic Alternative to GIS
Growing numbers of humanities researchers are turning to geographic information systems (GIS) to map spatial data and to visualize spatial relationships. This article explains the limitations inherent in GIS as a research methodology for humanistic scholarship, then introduces inductive visualization as a promising alternative that in several ways is more suitable to the acutely perceived but imprecise, often highly relational spatial content in the kinds of sources humanists rely on. The authors present examples of both GIS-based visualizations and inductive visualizations from their research on the geographies of the Holocaust, with a particular focus on using this method to identify and analyze spatiality in survivor testimony. The article concludes with reflections on the value of this flexible methodology for teaching students spatial thinking and encouraging them to find powerful means of visualizing the spatial meaning of primary sources in their research.
Type: Staff Publications
Year of publication: 2015