Landscapes - People - Global change

Author: k8sherren (Page 1 of 66)

New chapter: using surveys in critical social acceptance work on renewable energy

The cover of the new Batel & Rudolph-edited volume that contains our chapter on quant methods.

Nice to see a new chapter out this month, Strategies for Integrating Quantitative Methods into Critical Social Acceptance Research, drawing on three different surveys about renewable energy in the last few years with UAlberta colleague John Parkins, one with MES Ellen Chappell, both co-authors. The book is co-edited by Susana Batel and David Rudolph, focusing on ‘critical’ approaches to social acceptance work on renewable energy. While they first approached me to do something on climax thinking, for some reason I can’t quite remember (probably the long delay for that previous chapter to come out), I pitched something on quant methods instead. Our chapter argues that quantitative methods are not anathema to critical approaches: they bring important strengths but call for some creativity in design. The three surveys we used as exemplars covered the national scale, provincial scale (Alberta) and regional scale (Tantramar/Chignecto), and each sought to reach beyond methodological individualism and  Likert questions by engaging with place and materiality, looking relationally, exploring situated norms, forcing trade-offs, using vignettes or scenarios and enquiring about emotions. Now that I can see the impressive full line-up, I can’t wait to get back into the office where I expect my complimentary copy is waiting for me.

New review paper: ecosystem service delivery in dykelands and tidal wetlands

Conceptual diagram of believed ecosystem service flows, Figure 3 in Sherren et al. 2021.

Conceptual diagram of believed ecosystem service flows, Figure 3 in Sherren et al. 2021.

The first output of the Landscape 1 case study of ResNet, the Bay of Fundy dykelands, is out this week in Facets, Canada’s open access science journal: Understanding multifunctional Bay of Fundy dykelands and tidal wetlands using ecosystem services—a baseline. We set out to understand ecosystem service flows from tidal wetlands and drained agricultural dykeland (former tidal wetland), as climate change forces a rethink of the dykeland system. This review covered papers, theses, reports, and drew in some cases on other jurisdictions where there was a dearth of local data. We uncovered some key gaps but also potential synergies in balancing the system for sustainability. Filling some of the gaps to inform decisionmaking is the undertaking that faces us in ResNet.


New review paper: using social media images in social science

Figure 3 in Chen et al. 2021, Distribution of scholars and collaboration between continents

Figure 3 in Chen et al. 2021, Distribution of scholars and collaboration between continents

Delighted to have a new open source scoping review paper in New Media and Society led by PhD student Yan Chen, Using social media images as data in social science research.  This paper is the result of one of her comprehensive exams and allows us to see some of the strengths and biases of this emerging practice. There is a distinctly English-language and small-data approach to these datasets, compared to ‘culturomics’ approaches emerging in conservation contexts, for instance, that use lots of machine learning approaches. There is also a chaos of approaches to ethics and copyright in the handling and use, characteristic of a method that has not yet matured and is subject to a constantly shifting context in terms of platforms and usage norms.


New paper: media analysis as SIA monitoring

Quick on the heels of Gardenio’s first thesis paper, below, his second paper is out today in Journal of Environmental ManagementUsing news coverage and community-based impact assessments to understand and track social effects using the perspectives of affected people and decisionmakers. This paper allows us to look at two of the ‘state of the art’ SIAs in recent years, for the Site C and Keeyask hydro projects. Each used a community-based approach where affected First Nations were funded to create their own impact assessment documents for consideration by the panel, yet the public discourse differs dramatically. We compared those documents with longitudinal media coverage to understand the longer term perspectives of affected people and decisionmakers in each case, a data source much more available than any formal monitoring in Canada. This allowed us to explore the potential of such datasets as suggested in this 2017 paper published about modernizing SIA.

New paper on SIA methods in Canada

Figure 1 in Gardenio da Silva's 2021 ERSS paper showing that limited SIA methods means limited SIA scope.

Figure 1 in Gardenio da Silva’s 2021 ERSS paper showing that limited SIA methods means limited SIA scope.

Hot on the heels of Gardenio da Silva’s MES thesis defense, his first paper is out this morning in Energy Research & Social ScienceDo methods used in social impact assessment adequately capture impacts? An exploration of the research-practice gap using hydroelectricity in Canada. Gardenio reviewed publicly available social impact assessments (SIAs) from 37 hydroelectricity projects in Canada to see what methods are being used to understand baseline conditions and anticipate impacts. Not surprisingly, the methods are  dominated by open houses and census-based input/output tables, the approaches that are best able to be controlled by proponents and consultants. About half used interviews, and a quarter or less more rigorous approaches like participatory mapping or surveys, but most methods were poorly described. The range of impacts vary similarly: all SIAs looked at demographic change, infrastructure impacts and job creation, but fewer than half tackled issues such as gender, equity, crime, substance abuse, etc (see above). The number of methods employed was more correlated with the size of the project (p<0.001) than how recent it is (p<0.05). The paper makes some recommendations about improvements that could be made in SIA practice, and segues nicely to Gardenio’s second paper about monitoring, which should be coming along soon.

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