Historical data series are often characterised by a high level of uncertainty and complexity. As a result, they require specialised knowledge of the sources and the context to which they relate. The Quetelet Center consists of a team of experts that can offer you the necessary advice and support for using historical statistics in a scientifically sound way.
Source-related historical context
Historical sources, in particular censuses and data series from previous centuries, provide valuable research material but require careful interpretation. The social context to which these data relate is very different from today’s situation.
Insight into the historical frame of reference and a thorough knowledge of the sources on which the databases are based is necessary to correctly interpret and use the data series for scientific research. A critical analysis of the statistics is essential to guarantee the quality of the research results. We at the Quetelet Center are happy to help you with all your questions about historical datasets.
Spatial visualisation and analysis
A widely used means of studying historical statistics is spatial analysis. This technique is applied to uncover causal relationships and to test hypotheses. Historical data series can be converted into detailed maps using the geographic information systems (HISGIS) developed by the Quetelet Center.
These tools were developed in collaboration with the CartoGIS research group. If you would like help to create maps, graphs or tables based on quantifiable historical datasets, please contact us.
Historical statistics are characterised by a broad field of application that extends beyond the traditional boundaries of individual disciplines. The sciences have become specialised to such an extent that knowledge has become fragmented. As a result, researchers need to draw on different disciplines to unlock the full potential across the university.
The Quetelet Center brings together scientists with different backgrounds and knowledge. Their expertise is complementary and applied by us to set up innovative projects and to strengthen existing research inside and outside Ghent University.