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Interviewing and Field Observation
Graduate Program (& Advanced Certificate) Status
Course Description

In this course, we will focus on two qualitative data collection techniques that are especially useful in gaining detailed insights on socio-ecological perspectives and environmental dynamics: field observation and in-depth interviewing. Field observation provides an opportunity to observe environmental dynamics including what people (and other beings) do, and how they interact. Interviewing gives us access to how others perceive, articulate and experience environmental phenomena based on asking questions and listening about how they conceptualize a given issue or problem and why they do things the way that they do in a given context at a given time. Both of these data collection techniques, especially when combined, provide rich and detailed insights into the specific dynamics, opportunities and challenges of environmental issues informed by the research setting and the perspectives of the research participants.   

Learning Outcomes

1)    Foundational Knowledge: Know and understand techniques for conducting in-depth, open-ended interviewing and field observation, and how they contribute to building certain kinds of knowledge in the field of environmental studies.

2)    Application: Gain experience in applying interviewing and field observation skills  by: 

  • conducting a field observation and generating fieldnotes
  • designing and following an interview protocol (what are effective interview questions, guidelines and ethics?); 
  • conducting an in-depth interview; and
  • analyzing and presenting the data

3)    Integration: Enhance and enrich ways for exploring, studying, investigating, and answering questions about environmental dynamics, issues or problems based on a respect for methodological rigor, research ethics and how the research participants see and do things. This also requires self-reflection on how you see and engage in the world. 

4)    Passion for Learning: Strengthen curiosity and build inquisitive capacities to understand environmental issues and dynamics in a variety of settings and be able to discuss and share your insights with others.


Field Observation (20%)

Interview Protocol (10%)

Interview/Transcription (15%)

Coding and Thematic Analysis (25%)

Poster (30%)



Course Level
Course Open to
Students on-site
Remote students
Academic Year
US Credits
ECTS Credits
Course Code
ENVS 5013