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“The methods one chooses depend upon the research questions asked and the ultimate purpose of the knowledge produced” (Mattingly and Falconer-al-Hindi, 1995). Examine this statement with reference to at least two specific geographical projects with which you are familiar.When choosing a method to answer a research question an academic will have in mind a desired outcome from their research, therefore an appropriate method will be used to this end. An academic will do this for the ultimate purpose of validating their theories or epistemological viewpoint. An economic geographer is likely to choose a different method of research (collection of statistical data) than a social geographer (participant observation and surveys) as the purpose of the knowledge produced will be different in each case. As Geography is a multidisciplinary subject the sheer amount of data and previous studies that are available to a geographer are boundless. Robinson (1998: 12) writes, “Geographical data may take many forms, being obtained from a number of different sources and generated in a variety of ways”. Geography is open to interpretation; there is no right or wrong answer and as there is so much data the purpose of the generated knowledge from the research can be suited to a desired outcome.Welsh et al. (2001) ‘Abortion in Adolescence: A Four-Country Comparison’, uses a qualitative analytic methodology to compare abortion rates between Great Britain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United States. Each country has legalised abortion procedures and the article is looking at how the issue has evolved to one of preventing abortions, by these countries turning their efforts to effective family planning. The article starts with a verbal analysis of abortion statistics showing how each country has performed in relation to each other at cutting abortions. The study then sets out its aims which are to prove that abortion services are more accessible and personal attitudes towards abortion are more accepting in Sweden and The Netherlands compared with views expressed by interviewees in Great Britain and the United States.The methods used in this study, were firstly to take a group of professionals who had experience in the field of adolescent pregnancy, through either a personal or public health perspective. Originally a sample was made in each country and the sample group was expanded via the recommendations of the sample group in each country. It was intended that half the sample group had a background in physical or mental health; the remainder were to come from a other professional backgrounds. The sample was to include those with opposing views on contraception and abortion. It was intended that 20 people (the sample) would be taken from each country, but in reality around 18-19 were taken, all respondents ranged from 31-76 years old, with an intended equal split in gender makeup. The next stage in the method was for one of the authors to conduct a semi-constructed interview in English, allowing the interviewee to lead the conversation into other associated topics. The interviews centred on abortion and teenage pregnancy prevention. The interviews were tape recorded, transcribed then analysed to pick out specific themes. Such as all respondents agreed that it was the teenagers own choice as to whether they have an abortion or not.The purpose of the knowledge is of an informative nature interesting to not only academics but also policy makers. Abortion is an extremely topical issue and a comparison between select western countries with varying attitudes towards the acceptance of abortion gives the countries involved an insight how their citizens view abortion. Interviewees in Sweden are described as using mild words “the Swedish way”, whilst interviewees in the United States describe a polarised view of the subject (ibid: 76). The study then describes on an individual country basis its recommendations on strategies for change based on the interviewee’s responses.Llanos (2001) ‘Understanding Power in Argentina study of the policy of privatisation in the 1990’s’, uses a completely different method to answer the articles research question. Here he is trying to show us the power relationships between the President, Congress and the Lower House in Argentina through the case study of privatisation. This is done via the use of secondary data in the form of quotes and philosophies from other writers, to give us a view of how Argentina’s political system has developed and how the issue of privatisation came about and then carried out. Llanos leads us through an evaluation of Argentina’s politics up until 1989, taking us from the military transfer of power in 1916, through all the stages of successive populist governments and poor economic management which carried Argentina into the problems it had in 1989. Carlos Menim was elected in 1989 and was the first ruler to take power in Latin America since 1916 without military assistance.Throughout the rest of the essay an argument is put forward that although Menim exercised emergency powers to get his privatisation bills to Congress and then on the statute books, he was not autocratic. (As is normally the case in many Latin American governments) It is argued that even though Menim had a majority in congress, his policies were scrutinised and altered with amendments, in fact many of the privatisations were delayed for a period or indefinitely by congress as they were considered to be too radical. He validates this with examples of how his government became more vertically transparent overtime with the emergence of the media exposing any flaws or highlighting problems with Menims policies. This accountability culminated in Menims’ government moving democracy to a more socially accountable level called ‘limited centralism’ (Llanos, 2001:69). This it is argued is a substantial move from the norm in Latin America, where even if democratic elections are held, a government comes to power with the leader basically authoritarian, accountability and free press is a luxury not often in evidence. Examples of opposing viewpoints are bought in during the essay, to bring some counter opinions to the main arguments of the essay, but each of these is diminished by convincing arguments that the Llanos puts forward to discredit these views.Both of these papers have different methodologies as they set out to answer a completely unrelated set of objectives in two distinctly diverse geographical fields. The first paper looked at humanistic viewpoints to do with the issue of abortion in adolescence and the geographies of this phenomenon, which is deeply embedded in social geography. The methods used were qualitative using a structured interviewee led questionnaire, with some statistical analysis of responses and an in depth comparison between attitudes in the four different countries. The second paper is an analysis of what has been written by an array of different authors, no primary data was collected in the method of this paper it was simply an analytic view of different philosophical viewpoints to prove that democracy exists in Latin America. To try to apply the same methods as in the teenage abortion study to the Argentinean study would be unworkable. Firstly the study on Argentina is carried out in only one country, and secondly the Argentinean study is carried out on historical data from academics and not humanistic opinions from related professionals, to try and apply the methods of the Argentinean study to the teenage abortion study would be equally fruitless.The methods chosen in each of these papers are inextricably linked to the ultimate purpose of the knowledge produced, neither of the studies methods are transferable to the others study because the research questions asked are fundamentally different.

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