A dash of science
Nomothetic = the study or discovery of general scientific laws.
Ideographic = the study or discovery of particular scientific facts and processes, as distinct from general laws.
(I am starting to believe the term “facts” is completely arbitrary. What is a fact? The dictionary says “a thing that is known or proved to be true.” Or “information used as evidence.” Or “the truth about events as opposed to interpretation.” The truth? Best I don’t go down that tangent.)
My understanding of the above terms is this:
As chorology relies upon ideography in order to contrast and compare regions from one another, thus specifying the particularities of each region, it is more of a subjective understanding of place. The essence of comparative analysis is personal interpretation. What are the similarities between this place and that place? What are the differences? You naturally highlight the facets and experiences that you feel are most important.
Nomothetic involves analysing the features of an environment on their face value. This is to understand a place as a fixed assemblage; topographically. Each raw material fits within a spatial assemblage to form a place. Instead of taking into consideration the sociological impressions of place (i.e. a house is a house, a bathroom is a bathroom), a nomothetic approach would understand place purely by the personal experiences of it (i.e. a house is no longer a house but four walls of brick and mortar, wooden frames, tin roof, etc. OR a bathroom is not a bathroom but tiles, a sink, toilet, etc.).
Useful explanations of the nomothetic and ideographic can also be found here.
I have been collecting useful definitions to strengthen and broaden my understanding of placemaking. The Dictionary of Human Geography has been a useful resource: