Qualitative methods for ecologists and conservation scientists

20 Mar 2018

1) Conservation of biodiversity involves dealing with problems caused by humans, by applying solutions that comprise actions by humans. Understanding human attitudes, knowledge and behaviour are thus central to conservation research and practice. 2) The Special Issue brings together authors from a range of disciplines (ecology, human geography, political science, land economy, management) to examine a set of qualitative techniques used in conservation research: Interviews, Focus group discussion, The Nominal Group Technique and Multi-criteria decision analysis. 3) These techniques can be used for a range of purposes - most notably to understand people’s perspectives, values and attitudes and to gather information about approaches to management of species, ecosystems or natural resources. 4) Incorporating human values, perceptions, judgements and knowledge into conservation decision-making is an important role for qualitative techniques; they provide robust means for submitting this information or knowledge as evidence. 5) The articles in this special issue highlight a worrying extent of poor justification and inadequate reporting of qualitative methods in the conservation literature.