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Panel 8: Quantitative data or analysis to answer anthropological questions: advantages and disadvantages


Sophie Caillon, Catherine Sabinot

Session presentation

In the Pacific region where few social scientists are focusing their research on environmental issues, we have witnessed an increasing numbers of papers dealing with human management of resources written by non-social scientists. They are prolific, as they are based on short-term field observations, and seducing as they attempt to prove through quantitative means hypotheses raised by researchers undertaking long-term research whose complexity could only be described through a qualitative approach. Instead of criticizing what is done within the sphere of conservationists and ecologists, couldn’t we integrate within our qualitative research some quantitative approaches? How can we identify an adequate balance between single- and multiple-cases studies, local- and meta-analysis, qualitative and quantitative data and analysis? The context of Pacific islands, often characterized by a low human-density, is particularly challenging to undertake such statistical research. The audience will hear a diversity of tools that could be mobilized in their own research. The experience of anthropologists but also geographers, ethnoecologists and added to the views of ecologists, mathematicians, and entrepreneurial researchers will be addressed.

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