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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Water Management and Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #360622

Research Project: The Use of Treated Municipal Waste Water as a Source of New Water for Irrigation

Location: Water Management and Conservation Research

Title: Identifying stakeholder groups in natural resource management: Comparing quantitative and qualitative social network approaches

item WUTICH, AMBER - Arizona State University
item BERESFORD, MELISSA - Arizona State University
item BAUSCH, JULIA - Arizona State University
item EATON, WESTON - Pennsylvania State University
item BRASIER, KATHY - Pennsylvania State University
item Williams, Clinton
item PORTER, SARAH - Arizona State University

Submitted to: Society and Natural Resources
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/13/2019
Publication Date: 1/12/2020
Citation: Wutich, A., Beresford, M., Bausch, J., Eaton, W., Brasier, K., Williams, C.F., Porter, S. 2020. Identifying stakeholder groups in natural resource management: Comparing quantitative and qualitative social network approaches. Society and Natural Resources. 33(7):941-948.

Interpretive Summary: Stakeholder analysis, including social network analysis, has long been recognized as an essential part of natural resource management and research. Both qualitative and quantitative methods have been used to determine social networks. The purpose of this research is to assess the efficiency of quantitative and qualitative social network approaches in identifying stakeholder groups and to determine which method is the most cost effective. In cost-constrained projects in which a choice must be made between qualitative and quantitative approaches to social network-based stakeholder analysis, the qualitative approach is the more cost efficient route for identifying stakeholder groups.

Technical Abstract: Social network methods are commonly used in stakeholder analysis for natural resource management. Qualitative and mixed-methods approaches are relatively new to social network analysis, and have not been widely applied to stakeholder analysis. Our goal is to explore the efficiency of two different analytic approaches—qualitative and quantitative—to social network approaches to identifying stakeholder groups. Our paper examines stakeholders involved with water and agriculture management in the Verde Valley, Arizona. Social network data were collected from 23 stakeholders, and analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. The results indicate that, for this sample, qualitative analysis was more efficient, in that it yielded a stable result—the identification of four stakeholder groups—within 15 interviews. In contrast, the quantitative analysis did not produce a stable result after 23 interviews. Our findings suggest that, in resource-constrained projects, a qualitative approach to social network-based stakeholder analysis can be efficient and effective.