Social science methods in Conservation Research
As conservation scientists, hailing from a strictly ecological sciences background, most of us face the problem of applying qualitative and quantitative methods, related to social sciences, while framing and designing our conservation research questions. Our research and coursework don’t leave us with enough time to dwell deep within the social sciences discipline. However, conservation science discourse deals with numerous issues which demand engagement with human or social dimensions of our environment, for example-fire ecology, hunting, grassland ecology, studies on forest products and urban ecology. Comprehensive understanding of such issues necessitate the use and application of social science methods. And yet there are many misgivings, apprehensions and a lack of understanding about how, where and when to use these methods, particularly among natural sciences students.
This workshop is specifically conceptualised and designed for such students. The idea is to make this workshop a short and fun one, so as to reduce, if not completely eliminate the apprehension that most ecologist/wildlife biologist nurture for ‘social sciences’. But at the same time try to comprehensively introduce the participants to concepts and practical hands-on techniques related to social science research methods relevant to conservation science discourse.
On a more ambitious note, we hope that it will prepare and perhaps pique their curiosity to have a far deeper and long-term engagement with the social science-based conservation methods.