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K-State Today

March 8, 2021

Geography and geospatial sciences student-faculty team publishes in international Journal of Rural Studies

Submitted by Katherine Nelson

Katherine Nelson, assistant professor in the geography and geospatial sciences department, and Tuan Nguyen, assistant professor in the curriculum and instruction department, have co-authored an article on descriptive definitions of rurality with geography master's students Nathan Brownstein, Devon Garcia, Hayden Walker, Jordan Watson and Aote Xin.

The article, "Definitions, measures, and uses of rurality: A systematic review of the empirical and quantitative literature," was recently published in the highly regarded, international and interdisciplinary Journal of Rural Studies.

"We are pleased this study has been published and hope it contributes to the debate on how to define what is 'rural' and the impacts of these definitions on policy development and application," Nelson said.

The article reviews the literature on quantitative measures of rurality to provide a comprehensive breakdown of the factors included in rurality measures and the techniques used to construct rurality measures. The team found that quantitative measures of rurality have become increasingly complex yet continue to rely heavily on similar sets of socioeconomic characteristics and remoteness metrics. In addition, they find that the ability to compare and validate rurality measures is impaired by lack of open-access to developed datasets and by complex techniques that hinder reproducibility. They argue that advances in inclusion of cultural characteristics and environment and infrastructure quality, as well as open sharing of code and data, are needed to improve the quality and utility of rurality measures for policy and practice.