Human Ecology

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 265–281

Progressive contextualization: Methods for research in human ecology

Authors

  • Andrew P. Vayda
    • Department of Human Ecology, Cook CollegeRutgers University
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00891376

Cite this article as:
Vayda, A.P. Hum Ecol (1983) 11: 265. doi:10.1007/BF00891376

Abstract

Theoretically or practically significant research results concerning transitory as well as persistent phenomena can be obtained by human ecologists while avoiding commitment to long-term, expensive projects, rigid frameworks, traditional disciplinary goals, and unwarranted assumptions about the stability and purposiveness of units or systems. The procedures to be followed, as illustrated by research on people-forest interactions in East Kalimantan, involve a focus on significant human activities or people-environment interactions and the explanation of these by their placement within progressively wider or denser contexts. Guides for progressively contextualizing activities or interactions include a rationality principle, comparative knowledge of contexts, and the principle of pursuing the surprising.

Key words

human ecology research methodssystems analysespeople-forest interactionsfluxstabilityMan and the Biosphere (MAB) programKalimantan (Borneo)

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983