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Novel and Controversial Methods in the Social Sciences: Introduction to Special Issue

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Society & Natural Resources


Editing this special issue of Society and Natural Resources was especially challenging, as it forced us to grapple with the ways we – as editors, reviewers, and scholars – read, interpret, and ultimately evaluate the scientific endeavors engaged in by our colleagues. We suggest that social scientists are now living in an era of comparative ease with regard to accumulating quantitative and qualitative data from human participants, though, as Stedman et al. point out in this issue, perhaps not via mail surveys. Not only do we now have easier ways of reaching human participants across the globe using online crowdsourcing platforms, we also have many institutions specializing in recruiting representative survey samples across seemingly limitless population subsets. Furthermore, online user generated content from social media sites, discussion forums, blogs and specialized web-based applications allow social scientists to reach and study people where they are, more conveniently than ever before. Yet, this does not diminish the need for or significance of smaller-scale case studies or methodologies like ethnography or community-based participatory research. Such approaches may become even more important for demonstrating precisely the gaps in our knowledge generated by more technologically – not necessarily methodologically – innovative data collection sources.


Floress, Kristin; Sachdeva, Sonya. 2019. Novel and Controversial Methods in the Social Sciences: Introduction to Special Issue. Society & Natural Resources. 32(10): 1077-1079.

Last updated on: November 6, 2019