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Q Bibliography: Rust et al. on causes and solutions to soil degradation

Rust, Niki, Ole Erik Lunder, Sara Iversen, Steven Vella, Elizabeth A. Oughton, Tor Arvid Breland, Jayne H. Glass, Carly M. Maynard, Rob McMorran, & Mark S. Reed (2022). Perceived causes and solutions to soil degradation in the UK and Norway. Land, 11(1), art. 131. (Open Access: https://doi.org/10.3390/land11010131)

Abstract: Soil quality is declining in many parts of the world, with implications for the productivity, resilience and sustainability of agri-food systems. Research suggests multiple causes of soil degradation with no single solution and a divided stakeholder opinion on how to manage this problem. However, creating socially acceptable and effective policies to halt soil degradation requires engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders who possess different and complementary knowledge, experiences and perspectives. To understand how British and Norwegian agricultural stakeholders perceived the causes of and solutions to soil degradation, we used Q-methodology with 114 respondents, including farmers, scientists and agricultural advisers. For the UK, respondents thought the causes were due to loss of soil structure, soil erosion, compaction and loss of organic matter; the perceived solutions were to develop more collaborative research between researchers and farmers, invest in training, improve trust between farmers and regulatory agencies, and reduce soil compaction. In Norway, respondents thought soils were degrading due to soil erosion, monocultures and loss of soil structure; they believed the solutions were to reduce compaction, increase rotation and invest in agricultural training. There was an overarching theme related to industrialised agriculture being responsible for declining soil quality in both countries. We highlight potential areas for land use policy development in Norway and the UK, including multi-actor approaches that may improve the social acceptance of these policies. This study also illustrates how Q-methodology may be used to co-produce stakeholder-driven policy options to address land degradation.

Mark S Reed <mark.reed@sruc.ac.uk> is in the Thriving Natural Capital Challenge Centre, Department of Rural Economy, Environment & Society, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Edinburgh, UK.

Q Bibliography: Nelson et al. on managing fisheries in the face of climate change

Nelson, Laura K., Molly Bogeberg, Alison Cullen, Laura E. Koehn, Astrea Strawn, & Phillip S. Levin (2022, January). Perspectives on managing fisheries for community wellbeing in the face of climate change. Maritime Studies. (ePub in advance of print) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40152-021-00252-z)

Abstract: Coastal communities are being impacted by climate change, affecting the livelihoods, food security, and wellbeing of residents. Human wellbeing is influenced by the health of the environment through numerous pathways and is increasingly being included as a desired outcome in environmental management. However, the contributors to wellbeing can be subjective and the values and perspectives of decision-makers can affect the aspects of wellbeing that are included in planning. We used Q methodology to examine how a group of individuals in fisheries management prioritize components of wellbeing that may be important to coastal communities in the California Current social-ecological system (SES). The California Current SES is an integrated system of ecological and human communities with complex linkages and connections where commercial fishing is part of the culture and an important livelihood. We asked individuals that sit on advisory bodies to the Pacific Fisheries Management Council to rank 36 statements about coastal community wellbeing, ultimately revealing three discourses about how we can best support or improve wellbeing in those communities. We examine how the priorities differ between the discourses, identify areas of consensus, and discuss how these perspectives may influence decision-making when it comes to tradeoffs inherent in climate adaptation in fisheries. Lastly, we consider if and how thoughts about priorities have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laura K Nelson <lknelson@uw.edu> is in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (USA).

Q Bibliography: Munno et al. on students journalists’ mindsets and truthful reporting

Munno, Greg, Megan Craig, Alex Richards, & Mohammad Ali (2022). Student journalists exhibit different mindsets but agree on the need for truthful reporting. Media Practice and Education. (ePub in advance of print) (Link: 10.1080/25741136.2021.2015817)

Abstract: This study investigates the ethical orientations journalism students bring to the profession they seek to enter. Using Q methodology to explore the participants’ subjective conceptions of journalism, we map their attitudes and beliefs about journalistic norms and ethics. Participants (n = 54) sorted 28 statements about journalism from ‘most like’ their journalistic mindset to ‘most unlike.’ Factor analysis identified two distinct mindsets among the participants, one expressing a traditional journalistic mindset, the other embracing a more involved, vocal journalism. Yet both factors expressed strong support for many facets of traditional journalism and embraced an orientation towards the search for truth and the need for truthful reporting.

Greg Munno <gjmunno@syr.edu> is in the Department of Magazine, News & Digital Journalism, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY (USA).

Q Methodology Dissertation: Zhang on faculty professional development opportunities

Zhang, Si (2021). Research university faculty views on professional development opportunities related to teaching: A Q study. Doctoral dissertation (Education), University of Georgia. (Access: https://www.proquest.com/docview/2572546517?pq-origsite=gscholar&fromopenview=true)

Abstract: The growing number of teaching professional development (TPD) programs in most major universities shows higher education institutions’ determination to improve the quality of classroom teaching with the support of contemporary instructional strategies and advanced technology. However, TPD programs at research universities often face the struggle of how to engage faculty members to participate in voluntary TPD. This study used a unique mixed-methods methodology named Q methodology to investigate perceptions of faculty members in research universities toward their participation in TPD in order to understand motives for and barriers against faculty members’ participation in TPD. Q methodology uses an integrated quantitative and qualitative framework to examine human subjectivity. This study followed Watts and Stenner’s (2012) guidance for conducting multi-participants Q research. Discussion of the findings of this study involve comparisons of different viewpoints of faculty members in a large college of education at a research university regarding their participation in TPD.

Si Zhang <zhangsi@uga.edu> is a graduate of the Department of Learning, Design, and Technology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA (USA) and will soon take a position in the Center for Teaching and Learning, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA.

Q Bibliography: Franklin et al. on challenges facing geoscientists

Franklin, Jess, Tiernan Henry, Gesche Kindermann, & Caitriona Carlin (2021, January). Trust and perception: Key challenges facing geoscientists in practice and in Irish society. Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, 39(1), 29-45. (doi: 10.1353/ijes.2021.0002) [Related poster: https://www.mic.ul.ie/sites/default/files/uploads/624/Franklin%20IGRM%20poster.pdf%5D

Abstract: Society is underpinned by geoscience, from power generation, construction, communication, resource management, water supply and security, to responses to climate change impacts. Communicating the complexities and uncertainties that are familiar concepts to geoscientists with the general public can be challenging. Fostering and increasing public trust in geoscience is therefore essential to empower stakeholders to make better informed decisions about the various complex environmental issues facing society. There is abundant evidence that this can only be effective if there is a dialogue, an exchange of information with stakeholders, rather than just a presentation of information. However, before the geoscience community can effectively start that dialogue, we need to understand how the geoscience community is perceived, and how trusted it is. This project assessed the public perception of, and trust in, geoscience and geoscientists in Ireland, through a series of semi-structured interviews and a subsequent online survey. Trust in and the perception of geoscience and geoscientists was explored and compared to other professionals who may interact with the natural environment such as environmental scientists and engineers. The results from the survey, coupled with the thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews provide a basis for reflection by the geoscience community.

Jess Franklin <jesscfranklin@gmail.com> is in the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland.

Q Bibliography: Deignan & Morton on English medium instruction for subject lecturers

Deignan, Tim, & Tom Morton (2022, January). The challenges of English medium instruction for subject lecturers: A shared viewpoint. ELT Journal [online]

(Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccab084)

Abstract: English medium instruction (EMI) is seen as a site for improving students’ English language, yet the role of the EMI lecturer in achieving this is contested. Views on what constitutes appropriate training and professional development for EMI lecturers also differ regarding English language skills and EMI-specific methodology. Using Q methodology, this paper explores these issues from a particular perspective, a synthetic viewpoint based on six EMI lecturers with very similar views. Its voice is pro-EMI yet has significant concerns regarding the workload involved, is insecure about its own linguistic performance, fears a loss of subject content depth, and questions the effectiveness of EMI for students learning a subject. The paper highlights the importance of such feelings in relation to perceived language and pedagogy challenges and considers the broader implications for EMI teacher training interventions regarding the practices of disciplinary knowledge-building and the linguistic and communicative resources used to enact them.

Tim Deignan <timdeignan@runbox.com> is an independent consultant and author based in the UK whose work has included various research projects in the tertiary education sector. He consults for various clients including universities, colleges, trusts, and non-governmental organizations, and his work typically involves modelling different values and perspectives on complex issues in order to improve policy and practice. Tom Morton < tom.morton@uam.es> is Beatriz Galindo Distinguished Research Fellow in the Department of English Studies, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), where he is a member of the UAM-CLIL Research Group. His research interests include discourse in CLIL and EMI classrooms, and language teacher knowledge and identity.

Q Doctoral Dissertation: Duffy on using photovoice to navigate social-ecological change in coastal Maine

Duffy, Kevin P. (2021, December). Using photovoice to navigate social-ecological change in coastal Maine: A case study on visibility, visuality, and visual literacy. Doctoral dissertation (Communication), University of Maine. (Open Access: https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/etd/3495)

Abstract: Media representations of the environment support specific cultures of viewing that can create expectations about how to observe social-ecological interactions in everyday life. While public perceptions may appear, in some cases, to reflect these normative representations, more critical and participatory approaches to environmental research and management have begun to complicate these representations as they are negotiated through intrapersonal, interpersonal, and group communication. Working from a visual cultural approach that interrogates issues of visibility, visuality, and visual literacy, this dissertation theorizes how coastal residents represent their own observations and experiences of environmental change through photography and what impact their views have on the perceived availability, desirability, and feasibility of community responses to change. For this project, I designed and facilitated a multi-stage photovoice project and a Q method evaluation that engaged a small group of residents from the communities surrounding the Bagaduce and Damariscotta Rivers in Maine. Across the three main chapters, I critically and collaboratively analyze the affordances of photography as a research methodology, visual communication practice, and social-ecological assessment tool. In the second chapter, I document the social-ecological changes residents perceived to impact their community and how related interactions were framed as inevitable, manageable, and deconstructive. In the third chapter, I explore how residents used photographs in individual interviews and group discussions and through material and dialogic exchanges to broaden, focus, and shift their meaning-making. In the fourth chapter, I evaluate how the photovoice methodology influenced participants’ perceived development of visual learning and communication skills and discuss implications for photovoice goal attainment. Together, this research indicates that environmental applications of photovoice may inspire resilience thinking through group negotiation of visual meaning and critical reflection on self-other-environment relationships. In turn, this research offers new possibilities for understanding and engaging visual representations of social-ecological change that constitute community experience and influence environmental adaptation.

Kevin P Duffy <kevin.duffy1@maine.edu> is a graduate of the Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Maine, Orono, ME (USA).

Q Bibliography: Liu et al. on minerals extraction for electric vehicles

Liu, Wenjuan, Datu Buyung Agusdinata, Hallie Eakin, & Hugo Romero (2022, March). Sustainable minerals extraction for electric vehicles: A pilot study of consumers’ perceptions of impacts. Resources Policy, 75(12), art. 102523. (Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resourpol.2021.102523)

Abstract: Global transitions to electric vehicles (EVs) have triggered a surge in demand for the required minerals, whose extraction impacts raise questions on the overall sustainability of EVs. The impacts of mineral extraction are usually invisible to consumers who are at the relative end of EV-minerals’ life cycle, posing a challenge for the governance of minerals. Due to their increasingly important role in motivating corporate response, understanding consumers’ perceptions is crucial to inform efforts towards sustainable mineral extraction (SME), which encompasses the actions, policies, and practices to minimize environmental and social impacts of minerals extractions. In this study, we applied the telecoupling framework and combined a survey and Q-method to examine how EV consumers perceive the life-cycle developments of EV, impacts of minerals extraction, and potential governance schemes. Our analysis identified and discussed the nuanced categories of perceptions and their implications. Overall, there is a general lack of awareness of impacts among respondents, but most respondents recognized the complexity in the supply chain of EVs and the role of consumers in influencing its governance. Contradictory opinions are widely found, reflecting the tensions and conflicts between the imperative of energy transitions and the reality of adverse mining impacts. Improved SME governance should consider the differences in consumers’ purchase motivations when mobilizing for changes, and not detract from the positive roles of EVs. We also highlight the need for a telecoupling view in mineral governance and suggest a shift in the EV supply chain to include broader sustainable development goals and a global community of consumers, affected communities, and the general public.

Datu B Agusdinata <bagusdin@asu.edu> is in the School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA.

Q Bibliography: Tinch, Ankamah-Yeboah, & Armstrong on legitimacy and acceptability of environmental valuation

Tinch, Rob, Isaac Ankamah-Yeboah, & Claire Armstrong (2022, January). Exploring perspectives of the validity, legitimacy and acceptability of environmental valuation using Q methodology. Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, 8(2), art. 12. (Link: https://doi.org/10.15351/2373-8456.1151)

Abstract: The extension of market systems and economic appraisal methods to the natural world and allocation of scarce resources is highly controversial and viewed by some as unethical. This has resulted in questions about the appropriate role of valuation and appraisal methods in informing policy and decision-making. We address this issue by assessing the different points of view that exist in marine research, management and policy communities regarding the estimation of monetary values for marine ecosystems and services and their use in appraisal and policy settings. The principal perspectives emerging from a Q-sort survey of respondents reveal a clear distinction between a group that is highly sceptical of the framing of human-environment relations in terms of ecosystem services and of the use of economic appraisal and valuation tools in this context, and two or three other groups that are broadly favourable towards that paradigm and its methods, but with slightly different reasons for supporting valuation in practice. Despite the distinguishing features, areas of consensus emerge, including a strong shared perspective that places avoiding damage to marine biodiversity and ecosystems as a fundamental obligation. Furthermore, it is shown that the sceptics do not entirely reject valuation out of hand, but rather express understandable concerns about applicability and appropriate uses that are to some extent recognised by the pro-valuation groups.

Rob Tinch <rob@eftec.co.uk> is an environmental economist and Brussels representative with eftec Ltd. (www.eftec.co.uk), a British environmental economics consultantcy. Isaac Ankamah-Yeboah <iay@ku.dk> is at the Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Claire Armstrong <claire.armstrong@uit.no> is in the Norwegian College of Fishery Science, Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Q Bibliography: Everson on returning from atheism during college

Everson, Kimberlee (2022). Returning from atheism during the college years. Pastoral Psychology. (ePub in advance of print) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-021-00990-1)

Abstract: Young adults are increasingly rejecting religion in favor of various forms of disbelief, including atheism and agnosticism. Many religious leaders hope to bring these young adults back to belief. This study examined the experiences of 10 college students who self-described as becoming believers after a phase of disbelief. Using Q methodology, this group of students was found to come, or return, to a belief in God for one of three reasons: (1) looking for truth, (2), wanting life to mean more, or (3) suffering because of life crises.

Kimberlee Everson <kimberlee.everson@wku.edu> is in the Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research, School of Leadership and Professional Studies, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY (USA).