What Makes a Citizen of the Sea ?
.........is what PhD student Pamela Buchan wants to find out.
She's had a long love affair with the sea, starting with a Marine Biology degree, and research into ragworm perception of night and day.
A period with the British Science Association followed, working with nature groups in the Manchester area, but then she wanted to get back nearer the sea, and moved with her family to Plymouth to start first an MRes, and then a PhD on Citizens of the Sea.
She's worked with Coastwise and a couple of other groups in the South West for three years, and the focus has been on why people want to be involved in marine and environmental stewardship, and the relationship to the concept of citizenship in its various guises from local to global.
As with all research, she started with previous work in the area - environmental policy, psychological factors and motivation, and influence of locality. This led to the methodology (Pictured R), including the gathering of qualitative and quantitative data, case studies and ethnography - 280 surveys were issued and a programme of interviews arranged.
The key to any research like this lies in consistent classification of interview statements into standardised categories to allow quantitative analysis.
She used the Schwartz basic human values circumflex (pictured R) as the basis for this, using analysis and interpretation of individuals' words and phrases. The intention is to end up with an understanding of the correlation between people's circumstances and their predisposition to be 'Marine Citizens'.
Pamela is working on the results, but was able to share some of the early conclusions with Coastwise members; there is an embargo on this until her thesis is complete, but she has promised to return and share the full results !
This research should ultimately fit into a broader picture of government interest in the involvement of the older part of the population in outside and social interests, and mobilising a hitherto underutilised resource in worthwhile activity for the public good.