This project-based course will introduce and develop skills for conducting qualitative and mixed environmental research to analyze complex socio-environmental problems. We will emphasize qualitative research since environmental studies majors will also be introduced to statistics and geographic information systems (GIS) courses elsewhere in their methods training. Researchers often gather qualitative information about participants' experiences, perceptions, and behavior, but they can also be useful in analyzing artifacts, events, and discourse. Qualitative research helps to answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ rather than how many or how much. In addition, qualitative methods can help generate hypotheses for future studies and explain quantitative data. Mixed methods researchers combine elements of qualitative and quantitative approaches to expand breadth and depth of their results, explanations, and conclusions. Course material will draw from methods used in environmental studies, anthropology, planning, geography, and health sciences.
In this class, you hear about how researchers from environmental studies and other fields have learned, applied, and improved their methodological approaches. You will also learn strategies for ethically conducting research as well as how to conduct interviews, thematically code text, write field notes, curate quantitative survey data, integrate and analyze different types of data, and communicate results to diverse audiences. These skills should improve your ability to produce and interpret environmental data using the appropriate mixed methods.