Measuring what we value: The utility of mixed methods approaches for incorporating values into marine social-ecological system management
Recent shifts towards ecosystem-based management and other holistic and participatory forms of oceans governance and management have come with demands for ways to better incorporate social data into decision-making processes such as integrated ecosystem assessments. This includes information related to a wide range of values associated with different aspects of marine social-ecological systems. This paper addresses that demand by first discussing various notions of value in the literature, and then presenting two case studies from British Columbia, Canada that illuminate some of the opportunities and complexities of using a mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches to bear on the challenge. Findings suggest that values are diverse and are contextually dependent, varying at small scales. Findings further suggest that values are hierarchically arranged and grouped differently by individuals into what might be called perspectives. Finally, the findings highlight that mixed-methods approaches featuring qualitative and quantitative elements may provide a step towards resolving tensions between, on one the one hand, a need to distil complex systems into observable, measurable indicators where the inevitable tradeoffs involved in resource management can be articulated, weighed, and on the other hand, a sense that characterizing the broad range of values that are relevant in shaping attitudes and conceptions of “what should be” in marine systems requires holistic thinking and attention to scale, context, relationality, subjectivity and rich detail.
Murray, G; D'Anna, L; MacDonald, P
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