Selecting methods [part 4]


Surveys allow you to ask specific questions with anticipated types of answers (if you ask how much you will get a number) to a much larger audience than interviews (assuming surveys are shorter and easier to get people to do). However, especially if you don’t do the survey in person, you must grapple with the fact that it is “secondary data”. That is, you are assuming the person answering the survey is not only truthful, but actually accurately knows the answer you want.

Key point I look into consideration for SFA:

  •  Can allow for large collection of quantitative data (which is important when doing a city-wide study), depending on the delivery method (e.g., online vs in person)
  • People may have a hard time accurately recalling quantitative data on UA because they do not systematically collect them.

Key points I look into consideration for local context:

  • Can be helpful to determine certain variables I think might be important in how P is cycled such as type of organization or individual who run the UA I look at.
  • Can be a good way to collect data that verifies if my survey sample is representative of city averages I use for some of the local context factors.
  • Again, because surveys are not as in-depth as interviews, there can be problems with how someone interprets the question and thus get “off-topic” answers.
  • Can’t really get to the “why” people do what they do.
Urban garden in Melbourne Australia. An example of a place one might go to survey urban gardeners.


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