2014    Hawthorne, T.L., Solis, P., Terry, B., Price, M., and Atchison, C. “Critical Reflection Mapping as a Hybrid Methodology for Examining Socio-Spatial Perceptions of New Research Sites” (Fully Accepted and Forthcoming in The Annals of the Association of American Geographers).

Abstract:  We introduce critical reflection mapping as a novel and hybrid research methodology for examining the socio-spatial perceptions of researchers in new research settings, particularly international ones.  The methodology, theoretically situated within the critical GIS literature, combines two existing research methods (qualitative sketch mapping and critical reflection) to elicit original ways in which researchers can critically reflect on an area new to them while spatially linking these qualitative placed-based reflections to sketch maps.  The methodology allows for synergistic datasets to inform each other and to be analyzed together rather than separately.  Through critical reflection mapping, we demonstrate how multiple datasets and methods are combined so that critical reflection and word clouds add significant intellectual value by making another layer of textual information immediately accessible to qualitative sketch mapping data analysis.  We present two cases studies in Belize and Panama from our current community geography research agendas to demonstrate the viability as well as the caveats of this novel methodology for understanding and representing the immediate socio-spatial perceptions of researchers.  In the context of international research experiences discussed in this article, the methodology captures individual responses to features of the built environment including walkability and sustainability; documents the changing emotions a newly immersed researcher has in a largely unfamiliar geographic setting; and connects new experiences in a foreign research setting to an individual’s everyday lived experiences, positionality, and multiple identities.  It also makes these visible experiences more visible to fellow researchers in a large research team and thus lends itself as a potential forum for shared reflection.

Keywords: Belize, community geography, critical reflection mapping, critical GIS, Panama

2014    Hawthorne, T., Atchison, C., and LangBruttig, A. “Community Geography as a Model for International Research Experiences in Study Abroad Programs” The Journal of Geography in Higher Education 38(2): 219237.

Abstract:  Collaborative engagement with local residents and organizations is often cited as one of the most valuable aspects of community-based research integration in classroom
settings. However, little has been written on the impact of community engagement in
international study abroad programs. We explore the use of community geography in
Belize to develop international, community-based research experiences for undergraduate
and graduate students. In our study abroad program, students utilize
Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems data collection,
fieldwork, and interviews to understand social and environmental issues important to
our Belizean collaborators. As we demonstrate in this article, foreign collaborators often
have different expectations, commitments, burdens, and resources that either encourage
or limit their participation in all stages of the research process. These conflicts present
researchers and educators with a significant challenge to identify the appropriate model
for community engagement that works best in the particular international context. With
these challenges in mind, we examine a community geography model for study abroad
programs that has implications for geography and related disciplines as scholars work to
create meaningful and sustainable international research experiences that benefit higher
education students as well as community residents and organizations in host countries.

Keywords: community geography; study abroad; international education; fieldwork;

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