Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Alex and Keahna at BoFEP

It’s summer conference season, and two team members have just been to St. Andrews, NB, for the joint Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership/ACCESS conference. Keahna had the opportunity to present early survey results from her Petitcodiac causeway survey, and talk about the larger study of which it is a part. Alex talked about the qualitative data analysis he led from our recent survey of apartment residents around the Minas Basin to understand their perceptions of coastal adaptation options like raising dykes, removing them to restore tidal wetlands and managed dyke realignment. He got a runner-up award for his poster. Conferences like BoFEP that are focused on a landscape/seascape, rather than field of study, are wonderful opportunities for engaging across disciplines.

Keahna presented preliminary results from the Petitcodiac case of her IDPhD research.

Ever busy, Alex presented two posters at the same time, one on his work with ResNet and one on his upcoming MI thesis work.

New research note on understanding sense of place

Figure 1 in Cotton et al. 2024, explaining the process

Visiting PhD student Isabel Cotton joined my team and the ResNet project for 3 months last year,  from her home unit at the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia, and recently published a methods-oriented research note on that work in Journal of Environmental Psychology. The paper, Comparing thematic and search term-based coding in understanding sense of place in survey research, shows the result of exploratory work we did with Bangor University linguistic scholar Thora Tenbrink that took a qualitative approach by contrast with most survey-based assessments of sense of place. We compared the results of inductive and search-term-based coding of a free-text survey question on a survey of Minas Basin house residents asking them to, “Please describe [their] local area, in terms of what it means to [them] personally and how [they] use it”. The two sets of categories varied in their correlation, with more tangible themes like recreation/experience, relational/family and cultural heritage/history the strongest across the methods, compared with less comparable themes about restorative environments and small-town identity. What was particularly interesting, however, was that it was possible using word clouds to identify new terms to allow the search-term approach to improve its performance significantly (for instance recreation went from 0.75 to 0.96 correlation by adding only one term, exercise; see above).

New paper on practical fit of ES ideas in urban planning

Figure 2 in Thompson et al. 2024, in Planning Practice and Research.

Congratulations to Kate Thompson on her second dissertation paper hitting print today in Planning Practice & Research. The paper, The ecosystem services concept in urban planning: the criteria for practical fit, draws upon 31 interviews and two focus groups Kate did with planners in 3 Canadian cities to understand how planners feel about ecosystem services concepts and related tools (normative fit) and the suitability of both for planning work (practical fit). The gap between the two allowed her to probe about the characteristics that support practical fit, and the important role of policy entrepreneurs in encouraging that fit.

New paper on social media data access for the public good

Congratulations to Yan Chen, whose first PhD paper is published (open access) today in Frontiers in Big Data, titled From theory to practice: Insights and hurdles in collecting social media data for social science research. She started her PhD in 2018, the year of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and this paper is a perspective piece that documents her challenges of data access for her PhD, which took her through eight different options before finding one that worked (enough). This was in stark contrast to Instagram data collection for her Master’s several years before, for which she used the academic tool Netlytic. The closing of APIs starting in 2018 did not make people safer, it just concentrated the data in a smaller set of (commercial) hands. This paper advocates for a stronger role for government and other regulators in ensuring access to social media for public good research.

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