Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Integrated research in natural resources : an exploratory analysis of five case studies Public Deposited

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  • Integrated research that attempts to bring together social, biological, and physical variables is a recent phenomenon in natural resources. Scientists, land managers, politicians, and society as a whole have recognized that in order to produce optimal decisions for both humans and the environment, research on the interactions between the two is increasingly necessary. Although many projects have attempted integration, little is known about how these projects have been set up, what barriers they have encountered and what can be learned from past efforts. This research reports on five Pacific Northwest self-defined "integrated" projects, and uses qualitative methodology to understand what can be learned from efforts to bring together scientists and natural resource agency personnel to study relationships between natural and human systems. In order to determine how integrated research was viewed by those who have participated in it, a comprehensive literature review and interviews with integrated project participants were conducted. These interviews explored how project participants defined integration, whether they felt their projects achieved integration, and important barriers and substantive factors affecting the success of integration. Findings revealed that barriers to conducting integrated projects include the effects of disciplinary differences and roles in projects, institutional barriers in academia and agencies, and funding issues. Important factors that affect integrated research include time allotment, context and scale issues, capability of leadership, team composition, and the effects of differing definitions of integration. Recommendations for future projects include planning with time for disciplines to understand each other, physical proximity for team members and leadership, and defining questions together at the beginning of the project. These findings suggest that integrated efforts will require up-front time spent on planning, developing integrated questions, and building relationships, and that integration itself is an ongoing, iterative process.
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