Advances in Qualitative Methods in Environmental Research

Holly Caggiano, Elke U. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Qualitative research methods examine a wide range of topics in the study of environment and resource management. This first review on the topic highlights innovative and impactful research over the past few decades, drawing from social science disciplines that include sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, public policy, and psychology. We describe qualitative research methods that have addressed five scientific goals: (a) describing what the world is like, (b) predicting what the world can be like, (c) acknowledging researcher positionality and reflexivity and diversifying ways of knowing in theorizing and research designs, (d) integrating imaginaries into empirical research and building narratives to make sense of possible futures and to broaden our view of scientific inquiry, and (e) helping scholars grapple with the deep complexity of socioecological systems. As we explore these themes, we explain foundational qualitative approaches and highlight examples of environmental qualitative research that apply them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-811
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual Review of Environment and Resources
StatePublished - Nov 13 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science


  • climate change
  • environment
  • participatory research
  • qualitative methods
  • research methods
  • socioecological systems


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