• Sea level rise
– Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the
last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly
double that of the last century
• Global temperature rise
– All three major global surface temperature reconstructions
show that Earth has warmed since 1880.
– Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20
warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the
warmest years occurring in the past 12 years.
– Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline
resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009,
surface temperatures continue to increase
• Warming oceans
– The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the
top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of
0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969
• Shrinking ice sheets
– The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass.
– Data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment
show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic
miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006,
– while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles)
of ice between 2002 and 2005
• Glacial retreat
– Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the
world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies,
Alaska and Africa
• Many other evidence like:
– Extreme events
– Ocean acidification
– Decreased snow cover
Responding to climate change
• Climate change is one of the most complex issues facing us today.
• It involves many dimensions – science, economics, society, politics
and moral and ethical questions – and is a global problem, felt on
local scales, that will be around for decades and centuries to come.
• Carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping greenhouse gas that has driven
recent global warming, lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds of
years, and the planet (especially the oceans) takes a while to
respond to warming.
• So even if we stopped emitting all greenhouse gases today, global
warming and climate change will continue to affect future
generations. In this way, humanity is “committed” to some level of
Responding to climate change…
• Because we are already committed to some level of
climate change, responding to climate change
involves a two-pronged approach:
– Reducing emissions of and stabilizing the levels of heat-
trapping greenhouse gases in the
– Adapting to the climate change already in the
Does that help address the issue?
• Natural scientists cannot deal with climate change without
understanding of the societies which are being talked about,
the societies that are affected, and the societies where such
policies will be implemented.
• The perspective needs to open to: analysis in terms of human
systems that generate green house gases, the ways in which
different groups perceive and understand climate change, its
varying impacts on people around the world and diverse
societal mechanisms that drive adaptation and mitigation.
The data has many underlying layers…
• There are inequalities in terms of impact on societies and its
vulnerability depending on a number of factors apart from
climate regimes and natural variations
• That the impact on human systems is mediated by social
structures that entail differences in perceptions, inequalities,
power relationships- there are excluded and marginalized
• That there is a history of societies!
• Telling a Complete Story with Qualitative and Mixed Methods
Research - Dr. John W.mp4
Contributions of qualitative research
• A potential discipline which helps to ask many such
relevant questions is anthropology:
– Draws attention to cultural values and political relations
– Historical context underpinning the debates
– Holistic view of human and natural systems (societal
Anthropological research in climate
• Ethnographic insights through fieldwork- research over
extended time periods in single or multiple communities-
gives an insight into how communities observe changes in
weather, climate and landscapes and how they respond to
• Contextualized understanding can help inform adaptation
• They have also drawn in various other actors into the study
• Such studies have also looked at social dynamics of scientific
• Historical perspective- environmental anthropology
• Reveal diversity of adaptive mechanisms in societies
• In works such as “Weather, climate and culture” (Strauss and
Orlove) it has been illustrated how communities interpret
meteorological phenomena through folklore and art and
respond to these phenomena through agricultural and health
• Anthropologists have covered a wide gamut of issues ranging
from biodiversity conservation to disaster response.
• Historical discussion on impact of climate change on
vulnerable community and need for adaptation has also been
instrumental in situating the argument along lines of uneven
pace of development (attn: discourse on historic
• The scales of work of scientists and anthropologists maybe
different but the analytical and methodological tool is
important to understand the opportunities and risks
Foundations of research
• Research traditions
– Based upon philosophical underpinnings
• Ontology- study of being (Crotty, 1998: 10); ontological
assumptions are concerned with what constitutes reality.
– For example, the ontological position of interpretivism
is relativism, which says that reality is subjective,
individually constructed based on senses/experiences.
– Ontological position of positivism is realism-objects
have an existence independent of the knower.
• Epistemology- is concerned with the forms of knowledge
(Cohen et al., 2007: 7). Epistemological assumptions are
concerned with how knowledge can be created, acquired
– For example, the interpretive epistemology is subjectivism,
which says that the world does not exist independently of
our knowledge. Meanings and associations are
constructed by human beings.
– Positivistic epistemology is that of objectivism- so the
researcher and the researched are independent entities.
• Methodology- is the plan of action concerning why, what,
from where, when and how data is collected and
– Positivistic methodology seeks to explain
relationships. Positivists attempt to identify causes
which influence outcomes (Creswell; 2009: 7).
– Deductive approach is taken. Correlation and
experimentation is used. Verifiable evidence is sought
using empirical testing, random samples, controlled
variables and control groups.
• Interpretive methodology aims at understanding the
phenomenon from an individual’s perspective, investigating
interaction among individuals as well as historical as well as
cultural contexts which people inhabit (Creswell, 2009: 8)
• Methodology includes ethnography, case studies etc.
• Methods include participant observation, in-depth interviews,
• Critical Paradigm/critical social research
– The ontological position is that of historical realism that
reminds us that reality is shaped by social, political,
cultural, economic, ethnic and gender values.
– Epistemology- subjectivism; thus knowledge is socially
constructed and influenced by power relations from within
– Directed at interrogating values and assumptions, exposing
hegemony and injustice, challenging conventional social
structures and engaging in social action (Crotty, 1998: 157)
– Methodologies include critical discourse analysis, critical
ethnography, action research…
1) Knowledge is based on the phenomena that
are directly observable
2) The social world should be researched using
the principles of natural science
3) There is stress on reliability and
4) Explanation is achieved through formulation
of causal laws (nomothetic approach)
5) There is use of hypothetico-deductive method
6) Methods imply researcher/respondent
7) Analysis is based on statistical testing of
hypothesis (and therefore the theory)
(Adapted from Henn et al. 2006: 17)
1) Knowledge is based on interpretations and
meanings that are not directly observable
2) The social world should be studied in its
natural state (using participant observation
and in-depth interviews)
3) There is stress on validity
4) Explanation is achieved through description of
social meanings/reasons (idiographic
5) Use of analytic-inductive method; theory
generated from data
6) Methods imply insider approach- joint
construction of subjective data
7) Analysis based on narrative descriptions and
observations of action
• Positivist tradition: research is deemed good if results are due
to independent variable (internal validity), can be
generalized/transferred to other population or situations
(external validity) and different researchers can record the
same data in the same way and arrive at the same conclusions
(replicable and reliable) (Scotland, 2012)
• Interpretive tradition: research is deemed good if it provides
rich evidence and offers credible and justifiable accounts
(internal validity), can be made use of by someone in another
situation (external validity/transferability) and process and
findings can be replicated (reliability/dependability) (Richie and
Lewis, 2003: 263-286; Cohen et al., 2007: 133-149)
• Research problem: Intellectual stimulus calling for
response in the form of scientific inquiry
– that there is something which is not fully understood and there
is a possibility of empirical analysis/investigation. Thus the
situation becomes and object of inquiry.
– Research problem always has to be well defined and leading to
• Research problem should be expressible as a question
– You have to consider:
• What is doubtful, uncertain or difficult in the matter to be investigated
• What has caused this doubt/uncertainty?
– lack of existing knowledge/theory
– contradictions in the existing knowledge/theory
– unproven relationship among variables
Some examples from energy studies
• Most often the research studies on energy issues, household
energy etc. have tended to be positivistic inquiries.
• The most commonly asked question is: “how can we be more
efficient?” (Crosbie, 2006)
• Disciplinary inquiries (for example from economics and
psychology) were unable to yield answers to failure of
economically efficient options. Also, attitudinal variables such
as “values” as a basis for all environmental behaviour seemed
too limited in explanation.
• The problem which arose with positivistic studies was that the
individual or household ‘units’ were considered detached
from their socio-cultural context.
• Questions that would tend to draw interpretive inquiry
would be: “why are we not energy efficient, when clearly
it is technically possible for us to do so?” (Crosbie, 2006)
• Critical social inquiry would tend to ask:
– “Why is a particular community/region devoid of any energy
intervention while the neighbouring community/region has
access to regular and quality energy supply?” Or,
– “What are the opportunities and barriers faced by members of
particular social group-sub-group as far as energy use practices
– A gendered analysis of household energy consumption is not
commonly thought of as a research area.
• Survey has been the most prevalent method for studies in
household energy consumption
• Ethnographic approaches involving in-depth interviews and focus
groups have been less common.
• In depth qualitative interviews and focus groups have neatly
illustrated that energy consuming behaviours, including
development and diffusion of energy efficient technologies, are a
cultural rather than a purely economic/technical phenomena.
• It has also been highlighted that the adoption of energy efficient
technologies do not always result in reducing energy consumption.
• Cross cultural research has also demonstrated that energy
consuming practices are strongly rooted in traditions, and some are
more amenable to change than others.
• Benefits of interviews and focus groups: finely grained
• Ideal for exploring how social and cultural contexts shape
patterns of household energy consumption.
• Data can be supported by observation.
• But is an expensive process, time consuming, may not
lend to statistical analysis.
Choosing research design
• Research problem and questions determine what is the
focus of the study
• Depending upon the focus, research design is chosen to
pursue the inquiry
• If the focus is on developing theory, grounded theory
approach is adopted; interviews are conducted to
‘saturate’ categories and detail a theory. Coding is an
important part of data analysis.
• Where the focus is on describing/interpreting a cultural
or social group, ethnographic study is useful; interviews
and observations are used. Description, analysis and
interpretation are the means of analysis.
• Where it is intended to develop an in depth analysis of
single or multiple cases, multiple sources of data are
used. Descriptions, themes, assertions define analysis.
• Developing research hypotheses/propositions, concepts,
operationalization of concepts
• Hypotheses are tentative answers to the research
problem, expressed in the form of relationship between
the dependent and the independent variable. They have
to be tested empirically.
• Concepts are abstract summary of particular
phenomenon (for e.g., efficiency; poverty, energy
• Operationalization: develop indicators; observable
Methods of data collection
• In-depth interviews
• Participant observations
• Focus group discussions
• Sampling: theoretical sampling (in pure qualitative design
such as grounded theory)
– It is a process of data collection for generating theory
whereby the analyst jointly collects, codes, and analyzes
his data and decides what to collect next and where to find
them (Glaser and Strauss, 1967: 45)
Qualitative data analysis
• Qualitative research can be:
– Exploratory- theory generating, exploratory research
(typically grounded theory)
– Theory driven- explanatory research
• Grounded Theory
– assumption of lack of data or theory to explain some
phenomenon; these would be constructed by researchers
as a result of interaction with participants and emerging
analyses (Charmaz, 2006, 2009; Thornberg and Charmaz, 2012)
Data analysis- grounded theory
• Data gathering and theoretical sampling
– Use of range of methods including field observations,
qualitative interviews, focus groups, questionnaires and
– Analysis of data evokes insights and data collection
methods can be changed.
– Analysis of data gives insights, hunches till they start
forming theoretical categories
– managing segments of data with a label that
simultaneously categorizes, summarizes and accounts for
each piece of data (Charmaz, 2006: 43)
• Initial coding/Open coding:
– The researcher reads and analyses the data word by word,
line by line and paragraph by paragraph, or incident by
incident. Every code that is generated has to fit the data.
– For example: Corbin and Strauss (2008), while interviewing
Vietnam war victim, came up with concepts like: “war
experience”, psychological survival strategies” and
• Part of the war experience can be explained by the ways
in which psychological survival strategies become part of
the everyday life for the combatants, and of these
psychological survival strategies, blocking out of events is
one example which explains how survival is achieved
• This linking of higher and lower level concepts complete
• Example: Line by line coding (Thornberg et al, 2013)-
experience of 17 year old who is bullied in school. Initial
coding gave codes such as “becoming insecure”, “self
doubting”, “wrongness with self”, “becoming silent”,
• This coding process helps to saturate the emerged codes
and minimize missing important codes and significant
details in data (Glaser, 1978)
• Use of constant comparative method, comparing data
with data, data with code, code with code to find
similarities and differences (Glaser and Strauss, 1967)
• Focused coding: in the process of initial coding, the
researcher discovers the most significant initial codes
that make most analytical sense. Focused codes are then
used to sift through large data.
• In Thornberg’s example, focused codes such as “self
inhibiting” “self doubting” “developing self
worthlessness”. Through constant comparing of codes,
“self doubting” and “self inhibiting” emerged as the
elaborated focused code.
• Memo writing and sorting: According to Glaser (1978:
83), these are ‘theorizing write ups of ideas about codes
and their relationships as they strike the analyst while
• Making sense of the data- Putting down codes,
categories, thoughts, reflections and ideas on paper to
stimulate further theorizing.
• When to stop collecting and analyzing data?
– When study reaches theoretical saturation
– Gathering fresh data no longer sparks new theoretical
insights or new properties, categories, or concepts.