The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

NERRS Online Qualitative Research Course

Posted by | June 19, 2015

Course Goals and Objectives

This course was launched in 2013 and built upon the skills of NERRS Coastal Training Program (CTP) staff and others in collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing qualitative data and using the results of this work to improve the quality of meetings, foster effective project management, and facilitate collaborative research projects. (Examples of qualitative data include meeting minutes, workshop flip charts and notes, policy documents, newspapers articles, and narrative survey responses.) We're hosting everything here as a resource for those that took the class and for anyone interested in following along.

Learning objectives

  1. Participants will build skills such as data collection protocol design with an in-depth look at interview techniques, content management coding, and the synthesis, organization, and display of results.
  2. Participants will explore ways to use qualitative research to improve recruitment and general engagement of key audiences (e.g. those living in rural areas, respecting traditional ecological knowledge).
  3. Participants will understand how to use qualitative techniques to improve science translation and education to key audiences.
  4. Through an individualized learning portfolio, participants will qualitatively explore aspects of their work most pertinent to them and create a working outline of a qualitative research plan.
  5. Through interactive dialogue, participants will practice framing, communicating, and advocating for qualitative research and its importance to the CTP and the NERRS for a broad audience.

About the Instructors

Dr. Verna DeLauer is a research scientist at the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University in Massachusetts. She is also the Associate Director of an NSF funded undergraduate research program. She is interested in how individuals perceive and respond to complex environmental problems. While her degree is in natural resource management and environmental studies, she is trained and utilizes social science methodologies from anthropology and psychology to learn how individuals and groups are making sense of these multi-faceted environmental interconnections and how that manifests in decision-making. Verna teaches courses on social science research methods, citizen engagement and sustainability, the socio-cultural dimensions of water management, and human geography. Prior to receiving her PhD, Verna worked for many years in the environmental field for the Audubon Society, the New Hampshire Coastal Zone Management program, and the Student Conservation Association. She has also been involved with regional efforts to create a marine spatial plan in the Northeast. Her latest project is looking at the impact of local food movements on individuals' sense of community.

Dr. Christine Feurt uses the Collaborative Learning approach daily in her work with coastal managers, municipal officials, fellow scientists, and outreach professionals. As the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Wells Reserve, she applies collaborative learning to protect sources of drinking water, implement Low Impact Development, and develop indicators of ecosystem health in southern Maine watersheds. Dr. Feurt's research and experience using collaborative learning to address coastal management challenges has been synthesized in the Collaborative Learning Guide for Ecosystem-based Management and in a training course, "Working Together to Get Things Done." Chris's coastal management work also informs the classes she teaches at the University of New England. During her 30-year career, Chris has worked as a coastal ecologist, educator, and natural resource manager in national parks, wildlife refuges, universities, and coastal communities around North America. In 2007 she received her PhD in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England.

Preparatory Coursework

  • Watch this introductory video:
  • Read "Crafting Good Research Questions," by Shanna Kirschner here
  • Read "Qualitative Research Methods Overview" by Family Health International here.

Training One: Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods

  • Watch video here
  • Class worksheet here.

Training Two Preparatory Work

  • Watch video here
  • Download and read "Toward a Definition of Mixed Methods Research" by R. Burke Johnson, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie and Lisa A. Turner here
  • Check out the Qualitative Researcher blog here

Training Two: Collecting & Analyzing Data

  • Watch video here
  • Data Collection Questions--Class Worksheet here
  • Worksheet 2 here
  • Class opinion questions here

Training Three: Coding

  • Watch video here
  • Read "Coding Interview Responses" by Raymond Gorden (from Basic Interviewing Skills) here

Further Resources




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