Conservationists are frequently required to research issues at the interface of human society and natural resources such as human-wildlife conflicts, land use change, resource sustainability and forest governance, which require significant study of human and social aspects. Further, a number of conservationists are today undertaking multidisciplinary studies that require exploration of sociology, environmental history and policy, for instance in the areas of protected area management, wildlife policy, ecosystem governance and land use planning. Such studies require rigorous social science research methods as well as sampling designs that are cognizant of socio-cultural issues.

Yet, field researchers working in the area of natural resources/conservation biology often are not equipped with the research tools to undertake such complex studies with the depth and nuance that is needed. Indeed, many young conservationists embark on research and/or implementation in the field without adequate preparation. For instance, oral history, archival analysis, participatory rural appraisal, structured interviews and ethnography, are techniques that are rarely part of post-graduate curriculum in India, particularly in the area of natural resources/ conservation biology. Only a sound usage of such methods can lead to effective field studies and implementation.

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