Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 69 ›› Issue (8): 1224-1233.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201408015

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A critical review of research methods of Western human geography: A combination of knowing and doing for Chinese human geography

LIU Yungang1, LI Zhigang1, LI Bin2   

  1. 1. School of Geography Science and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China;
    2. Department of Geography, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  • Received:2014-04-12 Revised:2014-07-20 Online:2014-08-20 Published:2014-11-18
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271165; No.41130747; No.41271163; The MOE Layout Foundation of Humanities and Social Sciences, No.12YJAGJW007

Abstract: The research of China's human geography today calls for a transition from ‘exquisite mediocrity’ to ‘exquisite innovation’. This transition demands scholars to clean up the barriers in- between scholarships and their application, and by returning to the origin of innovation, the interaction between theories and reality, and abandoning their superstition and imitation within the studies or imitation of Western human geography. We identify several key issues for Chinese researchers, such as an understanding of the roots of western theories and methods, and their links to indigenous problems or institutions; improving the development of academic institutions by distinguishing society and association, scholarship and application, academic and applied geography; encouraging real scientific spirit with criticism; keeping the openness of the system of knowledge-production and being respondent to the indigenous demands of the society; deepening the communication between theories and phenomena. To extricate itself from the trap of colonial geography and to build up a model of independent production of knowledge, for China's human geography the combination of knowing and doing is the only pathway.

Key words: combination of knowing and doing, human geography, the West, China, scholarship and application