Introduction to social science

for conservation

Introduction to social sciences for conservation

This course is targeted at those starting out in social science, perhaps with an existing background in natural sciences or conservation practice, who now find themselves either using social science evidence, commissioning social science or integrating social science into their research and practice. 


Participants will gain a foundation in the breadth of social science disciplines and how these can be usefully applied to conservation.  It will provide them with a springboard to advance their understanding and application of conservation social sciences.   


By the end of the course, the attendees will:

  • Have an appreciation for the breadth of social science disciplines and their place as a core component of conservation;

  • Understand the range of methods applied in conservation social sciences and the types of data collected;

  • Be empowered to integrate social science understanding into their current and future activities.


Course content:

  • Motivations and myth busting conservation social science;

  • Overview of the disciplines of social science;

  • Social science methods: introduction to questionnaires, interviews and focus groups, qualitative and quantitative data and considering the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches;

  • Adopting social sciences in your work: practical tips for working in a traditionally natural science sector.

Dates for our 2021 courses will be released soon.  Subscribe to updates and be the first to hear.

Online course

This online training takes place over three consecutive mornings.  It will be a small training group with a maximum of 15 people.  The training is done live, led by Rebecca Jefferson, and will involve presentations and small group discussions with your fellow participants.  It will be as interactive as possible to give you the best opportunities to learn and engage with the materials. 


The sessions will cover:

Day 1: What is social science and why is it important to conservation?  This session will provide an overview of the disciplines of social sciences and the ways in which it can be applied to conservation and the types of impact it can have.


Day 2: Methods and techniques for conducting social science.  We will cover the typical methods social scientists use in their research, and discuss qualitative and quantitative techniques


Day 3: Barriers and enablers for integrating social sciences into conservation.  Here we will explore the challenges which can be faced by individuals trying to integrate social sciences into their work, organisation and sector.  You will be supported to produce an action plan to help you gain the most from attending the training.


All participants are eligible for a 1:1 follow up conversation with Rebecca (via Skype, Zoom or phone).  During these conversations you can follow up on your action plan and your own progress integrating your learning into your work, or explore other elements of the course.  The call will be arranged at a mutually convenient time around four weeks after the course.   



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