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Conducting Research in Conservation: A Social Science Perspective

TextbookHandbook / Manual

By: Helen Newing, Christine Eagle, Rajindra Puri and Colin Watson

376 pages, Figs, tabs


Paperback | Oct 2010 | #180929 | ISBN-13: 9780415457927
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £30.99 $40/€35 approx
Hardback | Oct 2010 | #180930 | ISBN-13: 9780415457910
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £93.99 $123/€107 approx

About this book

This is the first textbook on social science research methods written specifically for use in the expanding and increasingly multidisciplinary field of environmental conservation. It is targeted primarily at undergraduate students of conservation and related subjects, and provides a comprehensive, accessible guide to social science research methods for students with no prior knowledge of the social sciences. It will also be relevant for the many conservation postgraduates and practitioners who have trained in the natural sciences and need to develop skills in social science research.

The book is divided into five sections. The first section is on planning a research project and includes chapters on the need for social science research in conservation, selecting a research topic and developing a research design. Section II is on practical issues in carrying out fieldwork with local communities, including relationships between the researcher and the study community; ethical issues; and collecting and managing social science data in the field. Section III is the core of the book, and provides a detailed text on standard qualitative and quantitative social science methods, including participant observation, interviewing and questionnaires, and workshops. Section IV shows how to analyse social science data both qualitatively (coding, indexing) and quantitatively (simple descriptive statistics and inferential statistics up to and including multiple regression, factor analysis and cluster analysis). The final section outlines the writing-up process and then discusses what should happen after the end of the formal research project, especially in the context of applications in conservation policy and practice.

The book is illustrated throughout with practical examples of conservation-related research from different parts of the world (Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia) and different ecosystems (forests, grasslands, desert, marine and riverine systems; also farmland and home gardens). In addition to examples in the text, it is intended to include a series of boxes with brief narratives from students and practitioners describing practical issues they have faced in the field

There are very few people who have expertise in both the natural and the social sciences, and this continues to be a constraint in the development of the discipline of conservation. The proposed book will be invaluable tool in the training of the next generation of conservation professionals.


1 Introduction: The need for social science research in conservation;
2 Selecting the research topic;
3 Developing a research design; SECTION II. METHODS:
4 Participant observation and informal interviewing;
5 Unstructured and semistructured interviews;
6 Structured interviews: questionnaires;
7 Other types of structured interview;
8 Participatory mapping;
9 Workshops;

10 The role of the researcher: How do they see you?;
11 Ethical issues in social science research: how do you see them;
12 Collecting and managing data in the field;

13 Qualitative processing and analysis;
14. Quantitative analysis: descriptive statistics;
15 Quantitative analysis: Inferential statistics ;

16 The writing-up process
17 Following up: What else is there to do?

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