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Research Methodologies

 

Fostering More Sustainable Food Choices: Can Self-Determination Theory Help?

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This Dutch study tests the application of Self-Determination Theory (SDT) to understanding respondents' meat consumption choices. Survey questions measured whether respondents were internally or externally motivated, as well as identifying specific motivating factors. Results were consistent with those predicted by SDT. The authors conclude SDT may be a useful framework to analyze complex dietary decisions in order to more effectively influence consumers to make environmentally sustainable meat-consumption choices.

Factors and Convergent Validity of the Pet Attachment and Life Impact Scale (PALS)

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This study tests the Pet Attachment and Life Impact Scale (PALS), which was developed to measure four impacts upon guardians of their relationships with their animal companions: Love, Regulation, Personal Growth, and Negative Impacts. The survey of 651 college students validated PALS consistency with related scales, and its usefulness to more accurately differentiate and measure the factors of guardian attachment to companion animals in future research.


5 Animal Advocacy Pitfalls to Avoid

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HRC has been working with advocacy groups and individual advocates for more than 12 years to help them maximize the impact of their work for animals. Along the way, we’ve learned a few things about effective animal advocacy as well as the common mistakes that many advocates make. Learn more about those mistakes and how to avoid the same pitfalls yourself. Your advocacy will be improved and the animals will appreciate it.



A Strategy for Monitoring and Managing Declines in an Amphibian Community

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This paper proposes a method for defining goals and objectives, selecting and implementing mitigation actions, and monitoring feedback within a mathematical model that adjusts for uncertainties created by limited data. Managing wild amphibians on National Park Service lands near Washington, D.C. in the face of difficult to predict impacts from climate change, urbanization, and other human-instigated habitat challenges is presented as a case study of the technique. The authors advocate this proactive approach as preferable to waiting to take action until a significant population decline in a species is noted.

The Shelter Pet Project - Pet Adoption Topline Research

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This PowerPoint presentation from The Shelter Pet Project illustrates the step-by-step process of analyzing the problem of pet overpopulation, setting a goal (more adoption from shelters instead of breeders), identifying a target audience, and determining the best way to reach them with the message. Research is applied at each step, and provides many valuable insights (such as differences between dog and cat guardians, regional differences, and the qualities potential adopters associate with shelter animals vs. animals from breeders), as well as guiding goals and strategies.

HRC Teams Up with Animal Charity Evaluators to Offer Research Template for Veg Advocates

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HRC and Animal Charity Evaluators have teamed up to provide guidelines for designing surveys on vegetarianism and veganism. We have developed a bank of survey questions that advocates and researchers can use to assess their veg outreach efforts, and also crafted general advice about the research design process. HRC recommends that advocates and researchers use these resources whenever possible not only to ensure that their studies yield useful results, but to allow for greater comparability across campaigns, which will in turn help the animal protection movement craft the most valuable veg outreach strategies.

Influence of Interpretation on Conservation Intentions of Whale Tourists

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This study surveyed tourists at the beginning and end of a whale watching boat ride to measure whether their intention to participate in three whale conservation activities was influenced by the presentations of interpretive tour guides during the trip. Trips with no interpretation were used as a control group, and three different interpretive approaches were use to compare how different psychological factors impacted intentions. Interpretation (as compared to no interpretation) was found to have a positive effect on conservation intentions. Emotionally-based interpretation produced the strongest and broadest increase in conservation intentions. The authors caution that conservation intentions do not necessarily endure over time, or predict behaviors, and suggest that additional measures might improve the likelihood of long-term behavior changes.

Assessing Risk to Birds from Industrial Wind Energy Development via Paired Resource Selection Models

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This article examined the flight paths of Golden Eagles and the siting of wind energy generation devices which may pose a risk to them in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. 30 Golden Eagles were captured, fitted with GPS transmitters, released and tracked through three topographically varied areas. The researchers modeled preferred locations for the eagles and for wind energy siting as competing resources, with the goal of locating turbines at sites with minimum eagle flight path overlap to reduce risk to the eagles. They propose this modeling method to encourage development of wind energy facilities in wildlife habitat in accordance with voluntary wildlife guidelines. Since migration patterns vary by season, a long term goal would be to combine models for all affected wildlife and coordinate them with all regional energy resources throughout the year, turning off high-risk turbines during high traffic migration seasons.

Elements of Consciousness in Animals

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This article discusses findings of several studies that suggest characteristics of consciousness occur in many species of animals. The author concludes that differentiating between levels and characteristics of consciousness that occur in animals, and understanding them as part of a complex spectrum, may enhance our understanding of human consciousness as well as of animal consciousness.


Survey of Attitudes Toward, Conflicts with and Management of Wolves and Bears in Rural Villages in Armenia

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For her Masters thesis, the author performed a baseline study of human-bear and human-wolf conflicts in rural Armenia. In individual interviews and focus groups, participants from 23 rural villages were surveyed on their attitudes towards wolves and bears, frequency and type of conflict events, contributing factors, conflict mitigation strategies used, and current and proposed options for management of conflicts. While almost half of the participants expressed respect or concern for wolves and bears, slightly more than half felt frustrated by conflicts, and unable to adequately protect themselves or their property. Government management policies were not perceived as helpful. The author concluded that implementation of a community-based management program combined with education would empower residents while minimizing conflict-related killing of wolves and bears.

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