A Sea of Connections needs to prove itself: adaptive research during the pandemic
Over the past decade, an increasing number of studies have taken into account the multi-faceted aspects of Pacific fisheries by articulating ecological and economic perspectives. Our project ‘A Sea of Connections: Contextualizing Fisheries in the South Pacific Region (SOCPacific)’ aims at broadening this endeavour by re-embedding coastal and oceanic fisheries in their wider context and by exploring the large web of socio-cultural, geopolitical and policy connections within which fishing practices occur. For this, we conduct interdisciplinary and multi-level analyses across diverse scales and dimensions of fisheries, fisheries management and marine governance, including local perceptions and practices, global changes and drivers, and national and regional management frameworks and strategies. Our analyses focus on three study areas: New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji where extensive fieldwork periods were to be conducted. Then the pandemic hit, and the following adjustments evolved:
Our main fieldwork period was supposed to be mid2019-end2020, which ended up with us cancelling everything in March 2020.
Most important impacts were on our two PhDs who had merely started their data collection, and a colleague who had to be flown out – after weeks of waiting – from Vanuatu with help of the Foreign Ministry.
In autumn 2020 we decided to continue our research work in Fiji and New Caledonia (both Covid-free up to that date) by means of contracting local researchers from our project’s network – mainly to conduct interviews.
This has continued throughout 2021, now being followed by a collaboration with the Okeanos-Foundation in Vanuatu.
So, instead of using participatory online tools, we involved ‘our’ local scientists to the best possible extent, which worked most of the time (despite some really difficult contracting obstacles to work out beforehand). This was and continues to be covered by our (unfortunately quite full) fieldwork budget.
A participatory modeling approach to analyze local perceptions of aquaculture as a social-ecological system
ZMT, WG Institutional & Behavioral Economics
Here I present a PhD study applying fuzzy cognitive mapping, a participatory modelling approach, to build social-ecological system (SES) knowledge of the aquaculture sector in Nusa Tenggara Barat province, Indonesia. Fuzzy cognitive mapping is a method by which stakeholders serve as local SES experts, creating structured quantitative models representing their knowledge and perceptions (or “mental models”) of a given system. Fuzzy cognitive mapping has been applied to an increasing array of environmental governance contexts to explore differences in perceptions between stakeholder groups, and to build semi-quantitative models to assess SES structure and forecast scenarios in otherwise data-scarce contexts. In this presentation, I primarily focus on discussing challenges and experiences in adapting this traditionally face-to-face exercise to the changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, including adapting the data collection and local researcher training protocol to a hybrid online and in-person approach. Progress on the early stages of pretesting and data collection will be discussed, including reports from the local researcher team on experiences conducting the participatory exercises in both formats.
Online Q sorting, an alternative approach to assess stakeholders perspective during pandemic Covid-19 in Indonesia
Working Group Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Social Science Department, Leibniz ZMT Bremen
Covid-19 pandemic has shifted our approach, particularly, in social research due to limitation of human-to-human direct interaction as part of the health protocol to protect everyone. As a PhD student in Social Science Department (Leibniz ZMT Bremen), I had no choice other than postpone my fieldwork and empirical data collection when pandemic hit very hard not only here in Germany but also in Indonesia, my home country where my case study is taking place. I implemented Q methodology to evaluate the performance of TURF management implementation in Seribu Marine National Park. In a normal setting, Q sorting, one of the steps in implementing Q methodology, is conducted face to face with the respondent. However, due to physical distancing and strict human movement rules that has been applied around the globe, including in Indonesia, the normal Q sorting cannot be performed. Thus, I shifted from offline to online Q sorting. Insights and lesson learned from this experience will be shared, including the challenges and opportunities in doing such online data collection.
Adapting network mapping to a remote setting in times of disrupted fieldwork
Yim Ming Connie Kwong, Roald Leeuwerik
WG Deliberation, Valuation & Sustainability, ZMT
Network mapping (Net-Map) is a method of social network analysis to map different stakeholders and to visualize perceived network structure and relationships. This method is traditionally done through pen-and-paper approaches. However, the current pandemic has posed social and travel restrictions to the use of Net-Map as a face-to-face participatory fieldwork tool. Online whiteboards offer an alternative with needed functionalities for remote fieldwork while there are also methodological, ethical and practical challenges. In our presentation, we will share our experiences of using Miro – one of these online whiteboards – to substitute for or complement the traditional pen-and-paper Net-Map exercises. We will elaborate and reflect on the design of the Net-Map exercise, the test-runs that have been done, as well as the planned collaboration with local field assistants and how to adapt the remote exercise to different local contexts.