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A basic guide for empirical environmental social science

Michael Cox, Environmental Studies Program, Dartmouth College


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In this paper, I address a gap in the literature on environmental social science by providing a basic rubric for the conduct of empirical research in this interdisciplinary field. Current literature displays a healthy diversity of methods and techniques, but this has also been accompanied by a lack of consistency in the way in which research in this area is done. In part this can be seen as resulting from a lack in supporting texts that would provide a basis for this consistency. Although relevant methods texts do exist, these are not written with this type of research explicitly in mind, and so translating them to this field can be awkward. This paper is designed to fill this gap and enable more consistency in the conduct of empirical environmental social science. Basic types of research designs and methods are covered, as are criteria for evaluating these methods.

Key words

environmental social science; research design; research methods;

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087