Urban studies: Methods of data collection and data analysis
Sociological department Russian State University for the Humanities Moscow, Russia
City is a special object for the sociologists. The point is that the traditional «measurements» added spatial component. So when we start to explore the city, we need to adapt the usual research methods (such as interview, observation, experiment). The study of urban space involves not only detection of urban distance and orientation, detection of boundaries of various units (center, districts and neighborhoods, the boundaries of the city as a whole), but also symbolic perception of the spatial dimension. Therefore, the selected research strategy can build the following methods:
1. Including projective questions into interview
2. Creating pictures, maps, photos.
3. Interpretation of existing pictures, maps, charts, photos, etc.
4. In addition, you can apply a strategy based entirely on an analysis of physical environment and visual images - a visual strategy.
Required minimum «tools» to collect data:
1) General map of the city and detailed district maps (including transport schemes)
2) Camera (photo, video)
3) Paper and pencils (for schematic drawings)
4) Questionnaire tool (if necessary)
5) prepared visual images as stimulus materials (if necessary)
In our opinion, the combination of different methods (interviews, projective techniques, visual techniques) gives a more complete picture of the social processes in modern cities. Because the city is filled with visual signs, one of the most effective methods of data collection and analysis of social information is a visual strategy.