Interviews and Surveys

This page deals with the set of methods related to interviews and surveys, which are a means of gathering information from people who are part of the social-ecological systems (SES) of interest. This method involves modes and ways of learning from people through asking questions and recording responses (mainly surveys) and through conversations and listening (mainly interviews). The content on this page discusses surveys, in-depth interviews, key informant interviews, life histories, focus group discussions, reflective questioning, conversations, dialogues and arts-based interview methods.

The Chapter summary video gives a brief introduction and summary of this group of methods, what SES problems/questions they are useful for, and key resources needed to conduct the methods. The methods video/s introduce specific methods, including their origin and broad purpose, what SES problems/questions the specific method is useful for, examples of the method in use and key resources needed. The Case Studies demonstrate the method in action in more detail, including an introduction to the context and issue, how the method was used, the outcomes of the process and the challenges of implementing the method. The labs/activities give an example of a teaching activity relating to this group of methods, including the objectives of the activity, resources needed, steps to follow and outcomes/evaluation options.

More details can be found in Chapter 7 of the Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems.

Chapter summary:

This video introduces the concept of Interviews and Surveys.

Method Summaries

There are no method summaries for Interviews and Surveys yet. Please consider contributing.

Case Studies

Using specialised interview techniques to estimate sensitive behaviours

van Velden, J. (2022)

Combining in-depth semi-structured interviews and participant observation to explore retro-innovations in Northern Italian small-scale farming

Garre, A. (2022)

Lab teaching/ activity

There are no lab teachings or activities for Interviews and Surveys yet. Please consider contributing.

Tips and Tricks

Interviews and surveys: a starter guide for social-ecological researchers

Interviews and surveys: a starter guide for social-ecological researchers

Voigt, J., Magadzire, N., Woodhead, A., Villarrubia-Gomez, P. & Garré, A. (2022)

Key Publications related to Interviews and Surveys:
  • Angelsen, A., H.O. Larsen, J.F. Lund, C. Smith-Hall, and S. Wunder, eds. 2011. Measuring Livelihoods and Environmental Dependence: Methods for Research and Fieldwork. London: Earthscan.
  • Creswell, J.W., and V.L. Plano Clark. 2011. Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Moon, K., and D. Blackman. 2014. ‘A Guide to Understanding Social Science Research for Natural Scientists.’ Conservation Biology 28(5): 1167–1177.
  • Newing, H. 2011. ‘Qualitative Interviews and Focus Groups.’ In Conducting Research in Conservation: A Social Science Perspective, edited by H. Newing, 98–118. Oxon: Routledge.
  • Turner, D.W.  III.  2010. ‘Qualitative Interview Design: A Practical Guide for Novice Investigators.’  The Qualitative Report 15(3):  754–760.