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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Shennan, I. Handbook of sea-level research: framing research questions. In: Shennan, I., Long, A.J. & Horton, B.P. Handbook of Sea-Level Research. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley; 2015:3-25.

Author(s) from Durham


Many studies of sea‐level change are implicitly inductive, depending on inferences and reasoning, where extrapolations may be made to develop generalizations. An inductive approach typically follows a line of reasoning from experience, the argument following a route from describing the effect and leading to an account of the cause. The approach of multiple working hypotheses has many advantages. A key stage in the approach is the formulation of each potential idea, hunch, and hypothesis in a testable form. In scientific literature sea level is relative in two respects: elevation relative to the surface of the Earth, and elevation relative to the present. In many studies sea‐level index points are described as observations, often to separate them from estimates or predictions from glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) models. Relative sea‐level change always includes both time, relative to present or another clearly defined zero, and elevation, between the sea surface and land surface.

Department of Geography