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Social research methods


Guidance Documents

The conservation social sciences: What? How? And why? (2015). (Bennett, N.J. & Roth.R.)  Download

Human-wildlife conflict management (2002). (Decker, D. J., T. B. Lauber, and W. F. Siemer)  Download

Key Papers

Bennett, N. J., R. Roth, S. C. Klain, K. M. A. Chan, D. A. Clark, G. Cullman, G. Epstein, M. P. Nelson, R. Stedman, T. L. Teel, R. E. W. Thomas, C. Wyborn, D. Curran, A. Greenberg, J. Sandlos, and D. Veríssimo. 2017. Mainstreaming the social sciences in conservation. Conservation Biology 31:56-66.  Download


Chua, L., M. E. Harrison, H. Fair, S. Milne, A. Palmer, J. Rubis, P. Thung, S. Wich, B. Büscher, S. M. Cheyne, R. K. Puri, V. Schreer, A. Stępień, and E. Meijaard. 2020. Conservation and the social sciences: beyond critique and co-optation. A case study from orangutan conservation. People and Nature 2:42-60.  Download


Drury, R., K. Homewood, and S. Randall. 2011. Less is more: the potential of qualitative approaches in conservation research. Animal Conservation 14:18-24.  Download


Ibbett, H., J. P. G. Jones, and F. A. V. St John. 2021. Asking sensitive questions in conservation using Randomised Response Techniques. Biological Conservation 260:109191.  Download

Jacobs, M. H., P. Fehres, and M. Campbell. 2012. Measuring emotions toward wildlife: a review of generic methods and instruments. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 17:233-247.  External resource


Keith, R. J., L. M. Given, J. M. Martin, and D. F. Hochuli. 2022. Collaborating with qualitative researchers to co-design social-ecological studies. Austral Ecology.   Download

Manfredo, M., J. Vaske, and T. Teel. 2003. The potential for conflict index: a graphic approach to practical significance of human dimensions research. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 8:219-228.  External resource


Nuno, A., and F. A. V. St. John. 2015. How to ask sensitive questions in conservation: a review of specialized questioning techniques. Biological Conservation 189:5-15.  External resource


O.Nyumba, T., K. Wilson, C. J. Derrick, and N. Mukherjee. 2018. The use of focus group discussion methodology: insights from two decades of application in conservation. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 9:20-32.  Download


Rust, N. A., A. Abrams, D. W. S. Challender, G. Chapron, A. Ghoddousi, J. A. Glikman, C. H. Gowan, C. Hughes, A. Rastogi, A. Said, A. Sutton, N. Taylor, S. Thomas, H. Unnikrishnan, A. D. Webber, G. Wordingham, and C. M. Hill. 2017. Quantity does not always mean quality: the importance of qualitative social science in conservation research. Society & Natural Resources 30:1304-1310.  External resource


Salazar, G., I. Ramakrishna, N. Satheesh, M. Mills, M. C. Monroe, and K. K. Karanth. 2021. The challenge of measuring children’s attitudes toward wildlife in rural India. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education:1-17.  External resource

St. John, F. A. V., D. Brockington, N. Bunnefeld, R. Duffy, K. Homewood, J. P. G. Jones, A. M. Keane, E. J. Milner-Gulland, A. Nuno, and J. H. Razafimanahaka. 2016. Research ethics: assuring anonymity at the individual level may not be sufficient to protect research participants from harm. Biological Conservation 196:208-209.  External resource


St. John, F. A. V., A. M. Keane, J. P. G. Jones, and E. J. Milner-Gulland. 2014. Robust study design is as important on the social as it is on the ecological side of applied ecological research. Journal of Applied Ecology 51:1479-1485.  Download


Sutherland, W. J., L. V. Dicks, M. Everard, and D. Geneletti. 2018. Qualitative methods for ecologists and conservation scientists. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 9:7-9.  External resource

White, P. C. L., N. V. Jennings, A. R. Renwick, and N. H. L. Barker. 2005. Questionnaires in ecology: a review of past use and recommendations for best practice. Journal of Applied Ecology 42:421-430.  Download

Young, J. C., D. C. Rose, H. S. Mumby, F. Benitez-Capistros, C. J. Derrick, T. Finch, C. Garcia, C. Home, E. Marwaha, C. Morgans, S. Parkinson, J. Shah, K. A. Wilson, and N. Mukherjee. 2018. A methodological guide to using and reporting on interviews in conservation science research. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 9:10-19.  Download

Books and book chapters

Bryman, A. 2015. Social research methods. Oxford University Press.  External resource


McBride, M. F., and M. A. Burgman. 2012. What is expert knowledge, how is such knowledge gathered, and how do we use it to address questions in landscape ecology? Pages 11-38 in A. H. Perera, C. A. Drew, and C. J. Johnson, editors. Expert knowledge and its application in landscape ecology. Springer New York, New York, NY.  External resource


Newing, H. 2010. Conducting research in conservation: social science methods and practice. Taylor & Francis.  External resource


Punch, K. F. 2013. Introduction to social research: quantitative and qualitative approaches. SAGE Publications.  External resource


Silverman, D. 1993. Interpreting qualitative data: methods for analysing talk, text and interaction. Sage.  External resource


Silverman, D. 2005. Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook. SAGE Publications.  External resource

Vaske, J. J. 2008. Survey research and analysis: applications in parks, recreation and human dimensions. Venture Publishing.  External resource

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