Elizabeth Davies gives a talk for the symposium exploring cultural values and preferences surrounding the illegal wildlife trade.
Qualitative anthropological methods enable open-ended exploration of cultural values and preferences of wildlife products. Ranging from guided walks to key informant in-depth interviews and participant observation, qualitative methods compliment standardised and quantitative approaches to better understand complex human motivations and preferences for multiple actors. These approaches can help the researcher understand how traditions and values drive decisions to use different animal products for various medicinal, status, in-group membership or other reasons, which may not become apparent or fully understood through standardised quantitative approaches alone. Some key things to consider when planning and developing a qualitative research approach include: In what places and through which methods could you talk to illegal wildlife users or sellers? Who are the key influencers to talk to in this trade? Who should ask the research questions? How can you elicit and gage honesty of responses about people’s opinions and behaviours? Examples are provided from the bushmeat trade in Central Africa and the bear bile trade in Southeast Asia.
NOTE: Elizabeth Davies is standing in for Shannon Randolph, who was the advertised speaker, as she is no longer able to attend due to extenuating circumstances.