IEA Training Manual - Module 4

3.1.2 Qualitative data

Besides the growing number of initiatives focused on quantitative measurement, there is also increasing interest in keeping track of qualitative ecological and socio-economic attributes that help provide a more holistic picture. Not everything can, or needs to be, quantitatively measured, so quantitative data alone could miss critical elements. Looking only at quantitative data and nothing else could lead to someone believing that the problem is understood in great detail, which may not always be true. There is a growing sense that environmental assessments could be strengthened by drawing on a wider range of information types and sources, and might be at their best when numerical, technical “hard” data are combined with socially-derived information that more relate to the practical “real-world” dimension of the environment.

Although socially-derived, experience-based information can be turned into quantitative, empirical data and scientifically scrutinized, it is usually gathered using qualitative methods and sources. This can be done, for example, through methods such as:

  • field observation;
  • interviews with people who live in and have direct experience with local environments; and
  • narrative, descriptive, oral histories and interpretive sources on issues such as how much water each household uses a day, how many bicycles or cars there are per household and who gets to use them, how people cope with changing environmental conditions, as well as opinions on environmental policy priorities, disaggregated by race, gender, age or ethnicity.

Qualitative information can complement numerical data and physical indicators by:

  • broadening the scope of environmental inquiry to include people’s experiences, perspectives and perceptions;
  • making use of critical environmental information long before it shows up on the scientific or public radar;
  • integration of certain indigenous or other groups into formal environmental discussions and decision making; and
  • acknowledgement of the fact that human responses to environmental conditions are often based on perception rather than externally-validated facts.

Working with qualitative information poses many challenges in terms of validation, verification, reliability and comparability. For example, individual narratives or small-scale observational field notes can produce highly idiosyncratic and unreliable information. Local and subjective knowledge may not be comprehensive, reliable or correct. People’s perceptions and memories can be distorted, and interviewers’ interpretations of what is said can be skewed.

It is very challenging to integrate qualitative and quantitative information into a holistic view of the state of the environment. Scale problems often mean that scientific assessments and experiential “bottom-up” information are not really examining the same environmental area or problem. Furthermore, it can be difficult to reach across the multiple variations in the form and presentation of information: scientific information often can be presented in a series of data tables, while qualitative information may require long narratives and nuanced interpretation.

Addressing these issues and figuring out how to integrate “hard” quantitative data and “soft” qualitative information in a science-based assessment is increasingly challenging when it is recognized that both approaches can complement each other and together enrich assessment results. A growing number of case studies point to the successful combination of technical-scientific and social science approaches to environmental assessment. Several governmental and inter-governmental agencies are developing capacity for integrating these approaches. In the end, the goal may not be to “integrate” these apparently different forms of environmental information, but rather to make use of their complementarity. Side by side, these different kinds of environmental data and information can offer a broader field of vision than either does alone.

Discussion Questions 

The following discussion question is intended to identify potential sources of qualitative data, as well as explore other aspects of collecting this type of data.

Scenario: Part of your assessment includes a segment on water quality. In addition to using available water quality measurements from monitoring stations, you have decided to incorporate qualitative data into your research because you would like to have a better understanding of local perceptions and experiences related to water quality for the region in which you are working. What might you ask community members in order to understand their perceptions about water quality? Consider different segments of the community, such as local, indigenous community members, non-profit groups, local policy-makers, children, youth and the elderly.

Materials needed: Worksheet listing including blank spaces for adding others.

Alternative questions:

  • What has been your experience with collecting and using qualitative data?
  • What practices or approaches have worked well?
  • How did you use this data in your assessment?
  • What are some of the challenges in collecting, using and presenting qualitative data?


Write comment:

Posted by:
- - 16 Dec 2013
Perform the following to discover more about watch well before you are abandoned.
クロノグラフ セイコーセイコー【Seiko】-japan-10.html
- - 16 Dec 2013
Possibly You Also Make These kind of Mistakes With bag !
- - 15 Dec 2013
Done with the numerous japan headlines? Our company is there to help you
- - 15 Dec 2013
japan helps every one of us by integrating numerous one of a kind capabilities and capabilities. It's a unvaluable thing for every follower of japan.
timberland femmes bottes
- - 15 Dec 2013
The things that Everybody under the sun Should Know Regarding bag Web business
- - 15 Dec 2013
Sick and tired of all the men gossip? I'm on this website to suit your needs!!
- - 14 Dec 2013
The Ugly Truth About Your Wonderful japan Desire
- - 14 Dec 2013
Carry out the following to learn more about women well before you are abandoned.
- - 14 Dec 2013
The particular reason why nobody is posting about watch and due to this fact what one should implement this afternoon.
- - 14 Dec 2013
It is possible that You Also Make All of these Slip-ups With bag ?
ADIDAS ORIGINALS送料無料adidasアディダス-campus-39-hiアディダス-キャンパスadidasアディダス-jp-2378.html
- - 14 Dec 2013
This Is A Strategy That's In fact Aiding bag-industry professionals To Advance
カシオ Gショック
- - 13 Dec 2013
Fed up with the numerous japan news reports? Our company is here just for you!
5灯 リデル プラス lidel送料無料シーリングライト-5灯-リデル-プラス-lidel-plus-インターフォルムinterfo-jp-3149.html
- - 13 Dec 2013
Actual Processes To Gain knowledge of watch And Ways One Might Become a member of The watch Top dogs
- - 13 Dec 2013
Terminate Complaining And Start your own personal men Email campaign As a substitute .
- - 12 Dec 2013
Wizard That Is Definitely Petrified Of men.
- - 12 Dec 2013
The reasons why none of us is talking over watch and consequently the things that one ought to complete as we speak.
スニーカー メンズビジネスシューズ-japan-7.html
- - 12 Dec 2013
The key reason why no one is speaking about watch and as a result the thing you should create as we speak.
カシオ Gショックカシオ【Casio】-japan-1.html
- - 12 Dec 2013
bag At some point got You Depressed? We Already Have The Response
nike dunk
- - 12 Dec 2013
For what reason none of us is chatting about watch and therefore things one should complete right away.
- - 12 Dec 2013
Here's Some Of The Method That Is Actually Helping bag-industry professionals To Advance
- - 11 Dec 2013
Collection of helpful actions to find out about watch before you're abandoned.
- - 11 Dec 2013
The key reason why not a single person is discussing about watch and accordingly something that you ought to implement immediately.
コート メンズジャケット-japan-1.html
- - 11 Dec 2013
The Ten MostOdd bag Secrets... And How To Utilize them!
腕時計 ブランドメンズ-腕時計-japan-29.html
- - 11 Dec 2013
Rumor- bag May Have A Main role In Any Site administration
- - 11 Dec 2013
Expert Who's Frightened Of men.
- - 11 Dec 2013
Most people Used to Laugh about japan - Today I laugh at all of them
- - 11 Dec 2013
Things Every one Ought To Know Within The bag Marketing
メンズ ショートシューズ再入荷-3カラー-スエード-オックスフォードシューズ-メンズ-ショートシューズ-クラシック--jp-2763.html
- - 11 Dec 2013
Sick of all men news reports? Our company is here to help you!
- - 10 Dec 2013
Foreign Report : women Considered A Necessity Nowadays
- - 10 Dec 2013
Professional Who Is Afraid Of men.
- - 10 Dec 2013
japan can help all of us by simply integrating several exceptional capabilities and characteristics. It is a unvaluable item for any follower of japan.
レッドウィング エンボスレッドウィング-japan-29.html
- - 10 Dec 2013
Expert Who Is Afraid Of men.
ダウンベスト メンズコート-japan-5.html
- - 10 Dec 2013
Up-to-date information-- bag Can Play A Vital role In Almost Any Website administration
腕時計 人気送料無料-セイコー-seiko-アラーム-クロノグラフ-腕時計-snad89p1-jp-3170.html
- - 10 Dec 2013
Terminate Protesting , Start Off your own personal men Advertising and marketing campaign Instead
折りたたみ自転車 軽量
- - 10 Dec 2013
Studies: bag Will Have Major role In Any Administration
メンズ 靴メンズ-ビジネスシューズ-japan-10.html
- - 10 Dec 2013
The actual fundamentals behind watch which you may benefit from starting today.
- - 09 Dec 2013
Creative men E-book Exposes Ideal Way To Dominate The men Arena
- - 09 Dec 2013
The basic fundamentals behind watch for you to profit from getting started today.
腕時計 人気送料無料-セイコー-seiko-アラーム-クロノグラフ-腕時計-snad89p1-jp-3170.html
- - 09 Dec 2013
Incredible magic formula for the men you'll be able to learn more about today.
- - 09 Dec 2013
Here's Some Of The Procedure That Is Even Assisting bag-industry professionals Growing
ブルゾン メンズ
- - 09 Dec 2013
Variety of great practices to discover more regarding women before you are left out.
- - 08 Dec 2013
New men Ebook Tells Tips On How To Dominate The men Arena
RAYCHELL 26インチ 折りたたみ自転車折りたたみ自転車-26インチ-japan-1_9.html
- - 08 Dec 2013
bag In time got You Down? Our Company Has The Remedy
- - 07 Dec 2013
Check who's discussing bag and also the reason why you should be afraid.
ダイヤブロック 20インチ折りたたみ自転車折りたたみ自転車-20インチ-japan-1_6.html
- - 06 Dec 2013
bag Got You Down? We Offer The Most Effective Solution
Sony ST18i
- - 06 Dec 2013
List of favourable options to discover more on women before you're abandoned.
burberry bags online
- - 05 Dec 2013
japan assists every one of us by simply integrating several distinctive capabilities and characteristics. It is a unvaluable item for every supporter of japan.
SK-2 sk-iiマックスファクター-skii-sk2-フェイシャルトリートメント-クレンジングジェルミニサイズ-15-jp-2375.html
- - 15 Nov 2013
Realistic Air Jordan 40's shoes Sale Within Discount Price. While 100% Authentic And High-quality Guaranteed Where To Buy Jordan 5 Oreo. All The air jordan Shoes Save Close to 80% OFF. May buy Cheap Air The air jordan Shoes Online Individuals Store. FREE Shipment! And you will be able to look our websites about
Cheap Authentic Jordan 5 Online For Sale
- - 14 Nov 2013
mbt maliza shoes 3.1.2 Qualitative data | IEA Community Learning Platform - IEA-General - Resources - IEA Training Manual - Module 4
mbt shoes buy online usa
- - 10 Sep 2013
fu脽ball trikot gestalten
- - 07 Aug 2013
Good blog! I truly love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. maillot de foot 2013