Problem and opportunity: Integrating anthropology, ecology, and policy through adaptive experimentation in the urban U.S. southwest

David G. Casagrande, Diane Hope, Elizabeth Farley-Metzger, William Wook, Scott Yabiku, Charles Redman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Natural resource management agencies and governmental programs that fund research are increasingly calling for interdisciplinary research that integrates biological ecology and the social sciences in a way that can inform policy. One fundamental impediment to collaboration derives from the emphasis that biological scientists place on experimentation, which is generally not considered a viable option for anthropologists. We suggest that anthropologists could have additional influence on policy by collaborating with biological ecologists in manipulative experiments that include human subjects. Critical to this approach are the participation of research subjects in research planning and willingness on the part of social and biological scientists to rapidly adopt new hypotheses and control scenarios that may emerge from shifting political and ethical contexts - what we call "adaptive experimentation." We provide an example of an adaptive experiment being conducted at Arizona State University, which situates urban landscaping, water conservation, and human behavior within the context of problem definition in water management policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Organization
Volume66
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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