November 29 2017
RES 500X: Survey Design in the Environmental Social Sciences
2017, Term 2
Instructor: Terre Satterfield
Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)
Survey research is increasingly popular among interdisciplinary environmental social and natural scientists. This seminar aims to harness that interest to develop survey design skills among graduate level and senior undergraduate level students who have either minimal training in survey methods, or are transitioning from fields not normally acquainted with these. We will address survey design fundamentals such as: hypothesis development, logics of independent and dependent variables, structure and question order, problems of validity and reliability, behaviour and choice in design contexts, and sampling strategies for different lay and expert communities. A particular focus for design will be the subfields known as: environmental values, attitudes, knowledge and beliefs; perceived environmental risk; meanings of landscape and place; and indices of social and cultural well-being. Theory and practice for developing scales or indices where none exist or where the design involves ‘difficult to measure’ phenomena will also be examined. Students will become familiar with and literate in practices pertaining to research ethics, including sensitivity to local norms, gender, power, data sharing and ownership. The course will be workshop intensive and thus is most suited for students who already have a particular research objective or topic mind, broadly stated. One key end goal for the seminar is a fully theorized and realized survey instrument that is largely ready for data collection.