Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Category: Methods (page 1 of 11)

Highlighted in Rangelands

Rangelands has a nice feature called ‘Browsing the Literature’, in which a handful of leading rangeland researchers is asked: “If you could recommend one paper or book that you’ve read recently that everybody in rangeland science or management should read, what would it be?” I’ve just learned that in the December 2017 issue, USDA rangeland scientist Dr. David Toledo recommended my commentary from last year with Ika Darnhofer, Precondition for integration: In support of standalone social science in rangeland and silvopastoral research. He commented:

It has become increasingly evident that we cannot view natural resource issues without considering humans as part of the natural resource system. However, there is a disproportionate amount of research in natural science journals regarding the social sciences needed to implement any ecosystem changes. This paper discusses issues related to the integration of the social sciences with the natural sciences (or lack thereof) and highlights the potential contributions of the social sciences in providing critical insights for achieving real-world impact of natural science research.

Thanks to Dr. Toledo for the good press.

Planning workshop at McGill

Hard at work while Andy Gonzalez and Marie-Josee Fortin talk monitoring.

Hard at work while Andy Gonzalez and Marie-Josee Fortin talk monitoring.

Cleared by surgeon to return to work last Monday. Left that afternoon for a two-day trip to Montreal for a workshop to plan a new NSERC project using ecosystem services to aid decision-making in production landscapes. Landscape and thematic teams from across the country joined with engaged partners from across the public and private sector, all inspired by the big vision and strong leadership of Prof Elena Bennett. Thrilled to be co-leading the Atlantic case study for this big new proposal, with such a great interdisciplinary team, and also enjoyed being the SSHRC devil’s advocate in the mix.

 

6-month job in bibliometrics and/or statistics

I am offering a 6-month non-student position in my lab (Jan-June 2019), co-funded by Mitacs‘ Career Connect program, for quantitative analysis support across a few SSHRC projects (e.g. sustainable agriculture, renewable energy). Required skills include bibliometrics and/or social science statistical methods. A short description is  here, and a fuller one is on the Mitacs site. Viable applicants should be under 30, have relevant Masters qualifications (Library/Information Science, Statistics, Information Technology, Computer Science, Quantitative Social Science, Social/Environmental Psychology, etc), and be a Canadian citizen, PR or refugee. Please help me spread the word.

Governing Shale Gas: new book

Matt Dairon, John Parkins and I now have a chapter out on Matt’s Masters work at U of A in Governing Shale Gas: Development, Citizen Participation, and Decision Making in the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Our chapter is near the back, chapter 17 of 18: Seeking common ground in contested energy technology landscapes: Insights from a Q Methodology study.  While the book is about shale gas, this case study uses the same concourse as another recent paper, but in sites of shale and wind farm development in southwestern Alberta, and with interviews to bring nuance.

Edited by John Whitton, Matthew Cotton, Ioan M. Charnley-Parry, and Kathy Brasier, this book:

“… attempts to bring together critical themes inherent in the energy governance literature and illustrate them through cases in multiple countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, South Africa, Germany and Poland. These themes include how multiple actors and institutions – industry, governments and regulatory bodies at all scales, communities, opposition movements, and individual landowners – have roles in developing, contesting, monitoring, and enforcing practices and regulations within unconventional oil and gas development. Overall, the book proposes a systemic, participatory, community-led approach required to achieve a form of legitimacy that allows communities to derive social priorities by a process of community visioning. This book will be of great relevance to scholars and policy-makers with an interest in shale gas development, and energy policy and governance.”

NOLA book serendipity

Three books from my AAG trip to New Orleans

Three books from my AAG trip to New Orleans

Bookshelf serendipity strikes again! I can’t resist telling this story, though it was awhile ago. Appropriate to the geography conference I was in town to attend, I bought a compelling atlas of New Orleans by Rebeccas Solnit and Snedeker, Unfathomable City, part of a series at UC Press, at a small bookstore behind the Cabildo. Each map and essay tells an idiosyncratic story about the place, including human and river channel migrations, social and landscape erosions, including social clubs, seafood and sex. While excellent, it wasn’t an easy one to tote in my bag for idle moments.

The ‘take a book, leave a book’ shelf at my hotel filled the gap with But What if We’re Wrong, by pop seer Chuck Klosterman (sorry Columns Hotel, I’ll leave one next time). Klosterman is talking about the same thing that I was at AAG to talk about: climax thinking. He asks how we can learn to make decisions anticipating the many ways that we might be wrong, so we don’t box ourselves in. Instead we denigrate the people who made decisions or assessments we reflect upon today as folly, but assume against evidence that we’re going to be right. There is something to be said about doubt.

Having finished both of the above, I needed another book for the flight home. During a layover in Toronto airport I bought Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowicz. He is a computer scientist who thinks data mining has replaced social science, so a few sections (particularly the conclusion) grated, but this was a fun (and surprisingly dirty) introduction to how secondary online datasets like our Google queries help us learn what people are really thinking and feeling. I have since brought up his examples in a few social science contexts, like the energy incubator at Cornell. I’m loathe to hand it to students, given some of the icky content (people are, it turns out, gross), but as survey response rates drop, offensiphobia rules, and questions around sustainability cross the sociology/psychology boundary, such datasets may well be the only way we can really understand what kind of society we are really working with.

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