Tag Archives: climate change

5 Tips on How to Make a Mind Map for Research Purposes

Do you know that mind mapping is a useful research tool? Here are five tips on how to make a mind map in developing and enhancing your research topic. An example mind map on climate change is provided at the end of the article.

A mind map can portray relationships and interactions between the different variables or factors that arise from a given topic. For this reason, mind mapping can be effectively used in generating ideas to enrich and enhance your research topic. You can use your mind map in writing the introduction of your research paper or identify gaps in knowledge while preparing your review of literature. 

Five Tips on How to Make a Mind Map for Research Purposes

How do you keep the ideas flowing and enrich your mind map to show everything that comes to mind? The following are five tips on how to make a mind map for research purposes.

1. Don’t evaluate too much.

As you prepare the mind map, you will have the tendency to stop and evaluate if you did connect the right factors or variables that come to mind.

Why is this so?

This is because you are still unconsciously bound by rules or standards set to conform with the norm. You want to conform with what you have learned or what other people have set before you.

You need not be concerned about these rules or standards but allow your mind to flow smoothly or wander. Just let it go where it can comfortably go.

Starting with the central idea, connect any subtopic that comes to mind. Don’t ask yourself whether that subtopic or idea is appropriate to connect with the central idea or not. Just quickly write it and connect with the central idea.

2. Give a time limit for each subtopic listed down in your mind map.

Allow only a few seconds to ponder on a specific subtopic you have written. Don’t let a minute pass on a single topic so you can populate your mind map with more ideas.

3. Be creative.

Preparing a mind map is an opportunity to be creative. You need not only words to express what comes to your mind.

If you want to draw a symbol, scribble a note, place a quotation or anything that reminds you of a particular topic, do it. Graphical entries make your mind map more interesting.

4. Avoid analysis paralysis.

Oftentimes, we have the tendency to overanalyze things or plan too much. This is referred to as analysis paralysis. It’s a hindrance to a productive endeavor.

Don’t be a perfectionist in making your mind map. Briefly analyze how the variables or factors relate with each other and then go ahead with the other components as swiftly as you can. Through constant practice, this will help you process information quickly.

5. Read a lot. Your mind map is only as good as your exposure on a given topic. Therefore, it pays to educate yourself on the specific topic you want to write about or do research on.

Example Mind Map on Climate Change

Applying these tips, I prepared a mind map on climate change as the main theme. Many variables come into play and get incorporated in the mind map as I let my mind wander. I tried to be sensitive on what subtopics my mind suggests to incorporate.

Using the tips above, here’s an example of a mind map that I have produced in a matter of 30 minutes using a free version of XMind, a mind-mapping software.

climate change mind map
Example mind map on climate change (click to enlarge).

Try these tips and enhance your creativity in preparing mind maps.

© 2014 May 14 P. A. Regoniel

Is Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan Due to Climate Change?

It has been three weeks since typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan hit the eastern part of the Philippines quite hard that left nothing but debris to once thriving city of Tacloban and nearby areas. This was an unimagined and unexpected result of sometimes more than 300 kph winds that sent even concrete houses to ruins. Imagine the devastation that a car can do if lifted by the winds or water and hurled at that speed against a concrete wall. Storm surge, a rise in sea level above the usual tide level as intense storm moves over water, left many without homes to live on once the storm has passed and inflicted its fury.

Despite disaster mitigating preparations to frequently typhoon visited places of eastern Philippines, typhoon Yolanda proved to be an exceptional one. Some evacuation centers in raised areas did not serve their intended purposes because these were also ravaged by the strong winds and 10-foot waves. Lives were lost and much agony and chaos transpired at the aftermath.

Typhoon Yolanda Due to Climate Change?

Is this unfortunate event a result of climate change? There were reports from various sources saying with apparent confidence that typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan is a result of climate change. But is this really a well founded statement?

For a scientist or a discerning person, a pronouncement like this is not easy. There should be an empirical investigation and evaluation of data to make such conclusion. An examination of historical records will reveal important information that will cause one to pause and think, if indeed, the typhoon is unusually strong due to changes brought about by global climate change.

typhoon

If we evaluate the records of typhoons that crossed the Philippines in the past, there actually were typhoons of similar magnitude as Yolanda or Haiyan. In a Yahoo news story, two typhoons approximate the same damage . One was recorded in January 12, 1898 and another in 1912. According to estimates, the former typhoon left 400 Europeans dead and 6,000 natives while the latter killed or wounded 12,000 people. The latter typhoon hit similar areas, i.e., the provinces of Leyte and Capiz.

Yardstick for Comparison

Apparently, these data suggest that past typhoons similar to Yolanda or Haiyan already crossed the affected areas. Typhoons of such magnitude come in cycles. They tend to repeat through time. If such is the case, then there’s no reason that the current onslaught can be fully attributed to the effects of climate change; apparently has become much more pronounced during the past two decades.

On the other hand, these reports alone may not be sufficient evidence to compare typhoon impact in the areas mentioned. Similar parameters should be used, meaning, all conditions during typhoon impact should be the same. A great difference exists in many respects. Some of those related to the number of casualties are listed below:

  • disaster preparedness of the people
  • accuracy of inventory and reports
  • human population of the stricken areas
  • timeliness of rescue, assistance and relief
  • technological (especially communications) capability

While climate change is a convenient excuse for the great damage inflicted by supertyphoon Yolanda or Haiyan, the message of the unfortunate event is clear: Be always on guard. Whether the typhoon is due to climate change or not, warnings of an unusual event should not be taken lightly. Experience is not the only sole basis for readiness.

© 2013 November 28 P. A. Regoniel

Indigenous People’s Adaptation to Climate Change

Climate change spared not indigenous people’s lives as these stories reveal. Read on to find out how they tried to adapt to the brunt of climate change.

Shift in Weather Condition Affects Upland Agriculture

The indigenous people of Palawan Island like the Palaw’ans observed that there was a sudden shift in weather condition that influenced their planting season in the rain dependent uplands. Normally, they would start planting their slash-and-burn farms when the ground is moist enough to support growing seeds.

The Palaw’ans and other indigenous ethnic groups like the Tagbanua test the soil’s moisture by plunging the sharpened, hollow-end of a bamboo (Schizostachyum lumampao) pole into the ground. When the ground is dry, the soil will fall off from the hollow opening but when it is moist, the soil would stick inside the hollow end. Sudden, earlier than usual downpour would show the latter soil condition and the tribe would start planting their crops. But then they saw their efforts gone to waste when several months later, heavy rains pound the almost ripe grains of rice. They could not predict the whims of the weather.

The sudden changes in weather also led to the pest outbreaks like rat infestations in farmlands. Aside from this, changes in weather can trigger the spread of plant diseases, severely parched crops thus less crop production, and displacement of farmers from their land.

How do the indigenous people adapt to these changes? The two adaptation strategies discussed below was described by Reden, a colleague who was once working with indigenous people in the remote hinterlands of southern Palawan as part of the university’s extension activities.

Adaptation 1. The Old Man and His Handicraft

The old man, an elder of Palaw’an tribe, lives alone in his hut in an isolated part of Culasian in the southern part of Palawan in western Philippines. He subsists on what little yield he can get from a small parcel of land planted with cassava and kaingin (slash-and-burn farm) rice. While awaiting the fruits of his labor, he weaves handicrafts for a living.

This way of life went on for many years until, out of nowhere, a multitude of rats attacked his crops including those of his fellow Palaw’ans. This is the first time that this phenomenon occurred. Everyone suffered because they are living at subsistence level. Subsistence level means they only plant what they need and had nothing in store to feed themselves until next harvest.

One morning, a young tribesman happened to pass by the old man’s house. The young man uttered the usual greetings, but the old man did not respond. Probably he’s asleep, the tribesman thought. He went on his usual way to the mountains to gather whatever edible fruits he can find.

Late in the afternoon when the young man passed the same path again, he saw the old man in the same position he was in the morning. He sensed something was wrong. Curious, the young man came close to the old man sitting on the chair. And he discovered the old man was dead, still holding his handmade craft.

A few days ago, a neighbor said the old man complained of a lack of food just like everyone else who had nothing to harvest that season. To keep his hunger away, he resorted to working on his handicrafts to sell in the nearby village. But his effort proved futile because he died while trying to ebb the tide of hunger. He is no longer fit and strong as the younger members of his tribe to survive days without food.

Adaptation 2. Gleaning the Gleaned Farm

The old man’s adaptation strategy did not work but some of his fellow Palaw’ans survived through other means. One of these strategies is farm gleaning.

I discovered this adaptation strategy accidentally while walking a dirt road on the way back to the city located more than 200 km away. Looking for subjects to photograph in the rural setting, I noticed a family huddled close together next to a pile of rice straw. I took a shot to document the scene (see picture below).

gleaning

Initially, I thought the family owns the farm and were winnowing grains from their harvest. But when I asked Reden about it, he said those are indigenous people scavenging what was left of the lowlander’s harvest.

This is a pitiful sight because this scavenging activity reflects how poor these people are. Gleaning from what has already been gleaned is difficult.*

Discussion

The problem of global climate change lingers and affects all marginalized people especially those who rely on what nature provides.  Those engaged in subsistence farming or hand-to-mouth existence such as the Palaw’ans described in this article are most vulnerable. The severe effects on the food source of the Palaw’ans show how a shift in weather condition can have significant impacts to resource-dependent communities.

A subsistence way of life can have positive benefits to the environment because subsistence living means the least possible extraction of natural resources. This enables the forests and coastal regions to regenerate from minor disturbances inflicted by resource users.

The subsistence way of life, however, seems to be an inefficient response to the effects of climate change. There is a need for the indigenous people to modify their way of life to successfully cope up with the growing threats of global climate change. They need to produce more than what they actually need. This means a greater are of land for planting or more resource extraction activities.

Meanwhile, the scavenging activities show that the Palaw’ans are a resilient people able to survive the challenges of the times. For a minority group with low population, this adaptation would be sufficient to soften the impact of climate change.

These stories show that climate change can change the way of life of resource dependent people. It threatens the very survival of people who for generations lived compatibly with nature.

————

*I missed the rare opportunity to ask a few questions about what the Palaw’ans are doing while on the field. Their self-narrated story would have made this account more interesting. But this is a good lead for research on how indigenous people adapt to the effects of climate change.

I resolved to probe more during my next visit to the place as part of my job as the university extension director at that time but then my work assignment changed and I forgot all about it. This is a lesson that should always be borne in mind by a researcher and an old one at that: “Strike when the iron is hot.” The same opportunity may not come again so exert extra effort each time something interesting like this comes up.

© 2013 September 9 P. A. Regoniel

Household and Government Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change

Flooding has been a perennial problem in many countries. This is made worse by climate change. How do households and governments adapt to these events?

I could not access the internet for the past two days due to service interruption probably caused by the strong typhoon code named ‘Maring” and southwest moonsoon referred to as ‘Habagat’ by the locals. The heavy fall of rain inundated many parts of northern, central, and southern Luzon in the Philippines affecting many residents living in those areas. The rising tide and release of impounded water in large hydroelectric dams worsened flooding in areas where the waters flow.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the calamity affected more than 1.7 million people where 17 died, 41 got injured and 5 persons were missing[1]. Many of these people stayed in evacuation centers after the raging waters submerged their houses and damaged their belongings.

Significant changes may have been made to mitigate the effects of flooding because the death toll this week is lesser compared to that of Typhoon Ondoy or Ketsana in 2009 that caused the death of more than 300 persons[2]. Apparently, the people as well as the government may have learned to adapt from experience and prepare for such disasters which seem to get worse.

Climate change is believed to be the primary cause of typhoon severity in the past few years. Despite the controversies associated with climate change, I adopt the side of those practicing the precautionary principle, i.e., it is better to adopt a policy that addresses an environmental problem than having to suffer the consequences of not taking action. Thus, I incorporate climate change in the following subtitles on people and government’s adaptation to large-scale flooding as a result of climate change.

Household Adaptation to Climate Change

While hundreds of people frantically moved to evacuation centers in response to early warnings from NDRRMC, still many others stuck it in their homes saying they are already used to these events and had, in fact, undertaken measures to adapt and survive. Residents even enjoyed the storms, frolicking, jumping in waist deep waters, and laughing it out while taking certain precautions by wearing hard hats and life vests (see video).

Of course, their behavior exposes them to yet another danger, i.e., leptospirosis (a disease caused by water contaminated by excrements of rats or other animals), the possibility of raging waters once the nearby dam releases excess waters in the reservoir, alienation from nearby sources of food if rains continue, exposure to toxic substances that may go with the waters, among others.

Other household adaptations to flooding include adding second floors to homes, modified transportation vehicles, makeshift rafts, thigh high boots, plastic bottles connected together, airbeds deployed as rafts, rubber boats, among others. Many of these household level flood adaptations are inexpensive, largely makeshift, or temporary solutions to flooding.rubber boat

I have not seen a household flooding adaptation on the long-term such as a house on log I saw many years ago in a periodically flooded marsh of Agusan. Of course, having a log house in the middle of the city is absurd but I believe households can come up with long-term solutions to their problems. Relocation to elevated areas, after all, appears to be the best thing households can do. This may mean they will have to forgo their life in the urban centers and live in the hills.

Government Adaptation to Climate Change: Critique and Suggested Solutions

If communities cannot effectively  adapt to flooding, then the government must take steps to aid its citizens. Disaster relief operations always follow calamities like this. This approach, however, is at best palliative. Prevention is always a better approach than cure.

While flooding is a natural event, the government can still do something about it. It can be avoided or minimized to some extent by good environmental planning and action. Good planning and policy can prevent costly impacts of flooding.

In an effort to prevent the costly impact of typhoons, administrators and planners are looking into the contribution of poor drainage, indiscriminate throwing of non-biodegradable wastes as well as buildings that block waterways, and even corruption as unsolved problems that impact on effective flood management.

Poor drainage

Planners in government believe that making infrastructures that promote drainage can help alleviate the problem on flooding. Without incorporating ecological principles, however, this may just be a hit-and-miss approach.

In reality, there is a limit to what a good drainage system can do because Metro Manila was historically a marshland. Flooding is a natural process in wetlands. Cities built on wetlands destroyed a very important ecological function, i.e., flood control[3]. Nature must take its course and repeat the same process (i.e. flooding) when loaded with lots of rainfall. This requires environmental planning that accommodates the role of marshlands: clearing the waterways, leaving existing wetlands as it is, or developing subdivisions away from the natural courses of water.

This entails much cost but the benefits may be weighed against the costs. The impact of climate change appears to worsen each year and investments along this line can prevent future tragedies.

Indiscriminate throwing of wastes that block waterways

Blocked waterways reduces the speed by which water flows to low level areas. Tons of plastic or non-biodegradable wastes still clog the drains. This is made worse by buildings blocking the waterways. This means that in general, many of the citizens still do not adopt good practices in disposing their solid wastes, and city zoning policies are not being followed.

While an appeal to the public to stop them from throwing wastes indiscriminately may work, economic incentives in the form of fines, seems to be a better option. This also requires a vigorous information and dissemination campaign (IEC) to educate the people about the impact of their action to the environment and themselves.

Corruption

Corruption was factored in the flooding prevention equation because a sizable part of the 10 billion pesos in Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF (widely know as pork barrel funds) was diverted to questionable projects of non-existent non-government organizations (NGOs). Only a handful of corrupt officials benefited from such allocations through kickbacks and commissions of up to 45%[4]. A large amount of these funds were earmarked to fund flood control projects.

The government is hot on the heels of the culprits although there are evidences that this corrupt practice have been going on for decades despite rules, regulations and policies that aimed to lower the incidence of this age-old practice. Corruption has been culturally ingrained and became a ‘normal’ part of people’s lives since time immemorial.

A friend and I once brainstormed to find out the underlying cause of corruption. We created a problem tree and arrived at the root cause — GREED.

Thus, the solution to this problem lies at the very foundation of one’s value system. Change must come from within the person.

Conclusion

Successful adaptation to climate change entails effective responses at household or community levels backed by a supportive government. The nature of this adaptation could be short-term or long-term. Well-informed government policies on climate change adaptation strategies appears most critical in providing long-term solutions to avert tragic consequences.

References

1.   Reyes-Palanca, Z. (2013, August 23). ‘Maring’ leaves 17 dead, 41 injured. Retrieved August 23, 2013, from http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/top-stories/56739-maring-leaves-17-dead-41-injured

2. Agence France-Presse. (2009, October 9). Death toll from Ondoy rises to 337. Retrieved August 23, 2013, from http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/10/09/09/death-toll-ondoy-rises-337

3. Novitzki, R., Smith, R., and J. D. Fretwell. Wetland functions, values, and assessment. Retrieved August 23, 2013, from http://water.usgs.gov/nwsum/WSP2425/functions.html

4. La Viña, T. (2013, August 6). Investigating the pork barrel scandal. Retrieved August 23, 2013 from http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/08/06/investigating-the-pork-barrel-scandal/

© 2013 August 23 P. A. Regoniel

Household Adaptation to Climate Change in the Philippines

How do marginalized people living in vulnerable coastal communities adapt to the effects of climate change such as sea level rise? What is an example of this adaptation at the household level? The following article describes one of these interesting adaptations and its implications.

One of the interesting aspects of research is discovering something new. Although a phenomenon has been there for a long time, it becomes a relevant point of interest once its occurrence is viewed more keenly and becomes a subject of discussion.

Take for instance the cross-country research our group conducted last year in the coastal areas of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam to document the effects of climate change. One of those inquired in the investigation looked into the adaptation of marginalized fisherfolks to the hazards brought about by typhoon/flooding, coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion.

What I found interesting in this climate change study are the unique ways by which marginalized people try to cope up with changes in their environment. In this particular case that we studied, the fisherfolks’ adaptation to the erosive effects of waves in the gradually advancing seawater was investigated.

We visited three communities (locally called barangays) to find out if there are any signs of initiatives to mitigate the effects of sea level rise. There, indeed, are several interesting adaptations made by fishermen in the tropical regions such as the Philippines. I relate one below.

Household Adaptation to Sea Level Rise

Below is a picture of a household adaptation in response to rising sea levels that erodes the thin strip of land a few hundred meters wide. A series of temporary and permanent houses dot this habitable portion that lies between the sea and the concrete highway running along the irregular coastline.

adaptation to sea level rise
A makeshift structure built of logs, bamboo slats, stones and sand in Binduyan, Puerto Princesa as household adaptation to mitigate the erosive impact of advancing seawater.

I noticed this ingenious way to keep soil from eroding in the beach of Binduyan, a coastal community lying east of Puerto Princesa in the island of Palawan in the Philippines. It may be a common sight to the uninitiated, but to someone who does research this means a lot.

What were the costs involved?

If you will imagine the time, money (although these materials may have been sourced around) and effort devoted by the person to construct this structure, you will be able to appreciate the significance of this adaptation to the life of the builder. Since we are after economic analysis of household adaptations like this, questions like the following arise in my mind:

  • How many people were involved in constructing the makeshift seawall?
  • How much time did it take them to build such structure?
  • What opportunities did they lose as a consequence of working on the structure (see opportunity cost to understand how important this concept is)?
  • What benefits were gained?
  • Did the benefits justify the cost of construction or was it just a waste of time?

Why would this family go to lengths in constructing this makeshift structure made of local materials? It’s unfortunate nobody was there to ask when we passed through as we walked the beach and note down observations. The owners were out somewhere, probably fishing. But these questions helped us design our questionnaire as this visit was part of our scoping activity.

We measured the height of the whole structure. It is 1.2 meters in height! Did seawater rise that high? How many years did it take to reach that level? What is the distance of the water’s edge at high tide from this house since people living in the area took notice of the rising waters?

Questions Lead to Discovery and Informed Actions

Many questions arise as a result of this simple observation. And these questions will propel you to undertake research focused on your specific concern to contribute to the body of knowledge. That, of course, requires publishing your work for others to learn from. Research findings mean nothing if left unpublished.

You may download and read the results of the study I mentioned above from the WorldFish website. It is titled “Economic Analysis of Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Selected Coastal Areas in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.” It is hoped that the findings of this research will aid policy makers in coming up with actions to mitigate the effects of climate change thus reduce costly damage to vulnerable coastal communities.

© 2013 June 30 P. A. Regoniel

What is the Difference Between Theory Testing and Theory Building?

Essentially, what do graduate students do when they conduct a research investigation? Do they follow certain guidelines in doing their research? Is there a difference between how a master’s degree and a doctoral degree student do their research? What is theory testing and theory building? The following article answers these questions.

Graduate students undertake research in two different ways. A master’s degree student engages himself mainly in research primarily aimed towards theory testing while a doctoral degree student undertakes a much more challenging research task of theory building. What is the difference between theory testing and theory building?

Theory Testing and Example

Theory testing is relatively easier than theory building. Theory testing is primarily applied by the graduate student, as the name suggests, to test whether a certain theory of his choosing is a plausible explanation of a phenomenon he would like to investigate.

To clarify the concept of theory testing, take the case of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Theory. Anthropogenic refers to human-derived greenhouse gas emissions that are believed to be the main reason for the observed global warming in recent years. Carbon dioxide comprises one of the greenhouse gasses. Carbon dioxide causes water on the surface of the earth to evaporate. Increased water vapor in the atmosphere can trap heat coming from the earth thus cause global warming. Is this a good explanation of global warming? See the debate on the issue in the video below:

If you are a master’s degree student, you can test this theory by looking into the humidity levels associated with carbon dioxide emissions. That is because it was mentioned a while ago, that carbon dioxide causes the water to evaporate. Greater carbon dioxide means greater water vapor in the atmosphere measured using, say, a wet and dry bulb thermometer. You will then have to find out if there is a correlation between temperature and surface humidity. This tests theory using specific factors to substantiate carbon dioxide effects to global temperature.

The main focus of theory testing is to find evidence to confirm or refute a theory. Theory testing, in this instance, tries to find out if there is there sufficient evidence to substantiate the Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory.

Theory Building and Examples

Theory building requires the application of higher level thinking skills compared to theory testing. Doctoral degree students or dissertation writers engage in this kind of research.

Why is this so?

Theory building requires the synthesis of a broad range of literature and studies to provide evidence or confirm explanations to a given phenomenon. Theory building is the graduate student’s or a veteran scientist’s attempt to explain something plausibly in a different light or perspective.

To further clarify the idea of theory building, take the previously discussed theory that tries to explain global warming, that is, the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Theory. The AGW Theory is just one of the theories that try to explain global warming.

One of the responses of a coastal community to sea level rise due to climate change is to build seawalls. This adaptation prevents coastal erosion as a result of advancing waters. This measure, however, could prove futile as this picture shows.

seawall
One of the responses of a coastal community to sea level rise due to climate change is to build seawalls. This prevents coastal erosion as a result of advancing waters. This, however, could prove futile as this picture shows.

Bast (2010) enumerated six other theories on global warming. I list these theories below:

1. Biothermostat Theory – the theory proposes that negative feedbacks from biological and chemical processes on Earth offset whatever negative feedbacks are caused by increasing carbon dioxide levels.

2. Cloud Formation and Albedo Theory – the theory advances the idea that changes in the formation and albedo (the proportion of light reflected by a surface) of clouds cancels all or nearly all the warming effects of greater levels of carbon dioxide.

3. Human Forcings Besides Greenhouse Gases Theory – the theory postulates that man influences climate is not only because of greenhouse gas emissions but likewise important human activities like clearing forests, irrigating deserts, and building cities.

4. Ocean Currents Theory – the theory explains that the variation of temperature worldwide was due to the slow-down of Thermohaline Circulation (a large-scale circulation of the ocean driven by differences in density due to changes in temperature and freshwater input) of the ocean.

5. Planetary Motion Theory – the theory attributes the recent global warming phenomenon to natural gravitational and magnetic oscillations of the solar system.

6. Solar Variability Theory – the theory suggests that global warming is due to changes in the brightness of the sun caused by bursts of energetic particles and radiation that periodically vary.

These are all theories that try to explain global warming. The graduate student needs to read a great deal of literature and gain insights to build theories. Further, you must note that these theories are not perfect explanations of global warming. Some of these theories may be substantiated or confirmed through time. On the other hand, further theory testing will show their weaknesses.

Whichever of these theories will stand rigorous scrutiny by researchers through further studies on the causes of global warming will come out as the best theory of global warming. That’s how science works.

Reference

Bast, J. L. (2010). Seven theories of climate change. Chicago: The Heartland Institute. 30 pp.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (December 24, 2012). What is the Difference Between Theory Testing and Theory Building?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2012/12/24/what-is-the-difference-between-theory-testing-and-theory-building/

© 2012 December 24 P. A. Regoniel

5 Examples of Psychology Research Topics Related to Climate Change

Are you a psychology student pondering what research topics to pursue in the course of conceptualizing your thesis proposal? This article is tailored right for your needs. You may explore the 5 research topics presented below and come up with your relevant psychology-based research topic on climate change. Specific research questions are offered for your guidance.

I was prompted to write this article because a colleague asked me how her undergraduate psychology students should conduct their study in relation to the key result areas which the university is aligning its research programs, projects and activities. More specifically, she asked what topics could be explored by psychology students in relation to say, climate change adaptation as one of the key result areas.

I initially gave several ideas that students can pursue during the lecture but these ideas still appear to be too general. Or maybe I have not put the topic in clear perspective.

I, therefore, came up with the following specific research topics based on the initial list of topics I enumerated during a brief research orientation lecture with a group of undergraduate students and several College of Arts and Humanities faculty members. The students are currently conceptualizing their research proposal in compliance with the thesis requirement for graduation.

The 5 examples on psychology research topics related to climate change are products of my online search as well as my research experience on environmental research and knowledge gained during my training in the graduate school. Specifically, the following research topics are psychology research topics related to climate change that students can explore.

Of course, they need to do a literature review first to find out which topics and what particular issues were already explored.

Psychology Research Topics Related to Climate Change

I drew out the following ideas mainly from the topics identified by the  American Psychological Association. I rephrased the topics presented in that site to avoid duplication of words as I am conscious of plagiarism understanding that articles written using similar words will impact on the quality of articles written online. I also wrote these questions in such a way that it can be done under local conditions, i.e., relevant to the thrusts and priorities of universities in the tropical regions. But these can likewise be done in temperate countries.

1. How can well-designed environment-directed messages increase people’s behavior that are beneficial to the environment?

recyclingExamples of environment-beneficial behavior will be the three R’s of recycling, reduction, and reuse of materials. I remembered that I wrote an article about an indigenous person who reused otherwise unusable materials from a nearby mining company to build a mini-hydro power plant in a remote place in Bataraza. See how Boyet, the Tagbanua, made use of materials in a materials recycling facility here.

2. Is there a relationship between climate change evidences like sea level rise, warming temperatures, and changing agricultural production to the quality of life of the members of the community?

It would be great to know the relationship of the continuing fluctuations of the weather to people’s quality of life. Will these events be beneficial or detrimental in the long term? Many studies can arise from this simple question alone.

The results of this study will enhance the quality of policy makers’ decisions on those government initiatives that impact on people’s lives. This also streamlines their interest and attention to deal with relevant steps to address the negative effects of climate change.

3. What prevents people from complying with the most efficient and effective policies of government?

It will be interesting to know how people make decisions, whether to follow or not follow the rules and regulations, the ordinances, and the laws that pertain to climate change. What keeps people from complying to these policies and what encourages them to follow voluntarily or willingly?

This is an issue I already discussed in my previous post on research topics about climate change and governance. You may read the article here.

The decision making scenario can actually be represented in a model which will help predict people’s compliance to policies of government. Policy makers will then have a better view of his constituency’s sentiments. This is what people call science-based policy making.

4. Why is there a general concern about nature? What are the reasons behind such interest in conserving or protecting the environment? What can be gained from the environmental programs, projects and activities?

Surely, everybody knows some of the answers. But which of these answers are the foremost reasons why people try to keep the environment intact or at the very least minimize exploitation? You may get exciting answers to the questions posed above.

5. How does climate change as evidenced by unpredictable weather events affect people?

I remembered the disastrous flooding events in Marikina in Manila in 2009 and Iloilo City in the Western Visayas due to Typhoon Frank. The residents of Marikina as well as Iloilo never expected the flooding to occur for so many years. This caused a lot of damages to property and even loss of life.

How do you think those people affected feel? What are in their minds on those times when life-threatening disasters strike? Should they have survived had they been prepared for such unpredictable event? Being prepared matters a lot.

At this point, I do hope that with these research topics more ideas will pop out of your head. You can draw out and remember theories from the lectures given you by your teachers on human psychology that will serve as your theoretical framework as you embark to write down your conceptual framework. If you do not know yet the difference between these two concepts, read my article on the difference between the theoretical and the conceptual framework here.

© 2012 November 19 P. A. Regoniel

Example Research Topics on Climate Change and Governance

Is there any relationship between climate change and governance? What are the topics of interest regarding climate change and governance? This article defines governance as it is a vague term to many students and presents two major research topics related to climate change and governance. This will jumpstart ideas and focus topics for research purposes.

In order to understand how climate change relates to governance and vice-versa, you should first have a good understanding of what governance means. The climate change issue is already well discussed in many literature and studies but governance appears to be a term that still baffles many especially undergraduate students trying to make their way about this subject.

What then is governance? The following definition of governance makes clear the concept and lays down the foundation to beginning researchers on this subject in order to carry out studies on climate change and governance.

Definition of Governance

Governance, as the root word govern connotes, does not necessarily mean government although sometimes governance is used interchangeably with government. The processes of government’s management of its affairs towards a desired order, of course, is governance. The government does governance but governance is not necessarily done by a government.

There are actually many definitions of governance. From what I gather, I would adopt the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) simplified definition as this site is devoted to simplifying things for understanding. Besides this is about climate change, a worldwide concern, that researchers would like to relate with climate change.

So here’s the UNESCAP definition of governance:

Governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented).

This is an excellent, easily understandable definition of governance. It is a process. Therefore, it is something that people involved do in order to carry out whatever decision outcomes have been agreed upon or arrived at. Those decisions may be done by people in government but may also be done in a corporate setting and at different levels or scope, i.e., local, national or international.

Now, since the definition of governance is in place how can the relationship between climate change and governance be studied? The next topic explores the issues to reveal research topics on climate change and governance.

Example Research Topics on Climate Change and Governance

The following are two major topics on climate change and governance where other related topics can arise.

1. How do people’s compliance to laws, ordinances or resolutions relate to climate change?

How do people behave in relation to laws and ordinances related to climate change? Since governance refers to the implementation of decisions through government policies or enactments, it would be interesting to know how this actually is being implemented in the field.police

Do people comply with climate change-related laws? What are climate change-related laws? Are climate change-related laws as seriously implemented as any other law the government formulated such as laws that are matters of life and death? How are these climate change-related laws implemented by the law enforcers and what are the outcomes?

There are actually many issues associated with this as law or policy enforcement is usually associated with many flaws. What are incentives for people to respond and act accordingly to the intended desired outcomes of policy? Incentives here refer not just to punishment in terms of physical penalty but could be monetary in nature such as imposing fines. Are those fines enough to prevent transgression of laws?

2. How are laws and policies arrived at by those exercising governance?

Are policy makers in any way well guided in the process of making their decisions? Where do they base their decisions? Are those decisions founded on some objective basis or are these just random fruits of the mind or merely self-interest?

Good governance should be objective. Thus, there should be an objective basis for any decision made especially of a government that influences the citizens of a country through policies on climate change. What should policy makers then do to make their decisions objective?

In order to effectively address the issue of climate change, the government therefore must have the correct statistics or background to base their decisions on. How are climate change-related laws arrived at?

To be able to effectively implement climate change-related laws, there is popular belief that these kinds of policy making should be science based to be objective and effective. I heard from a climate change conference colleague that the Malaysian government is doing this quite well by engaging its researchers to do research for policy making purposes and really act on the recommendations made by them. Those in government have such high respect to their researchers. I wonder if this is happening in other countries that implement climate change-related policies.

I expound on this policy making process in my previous article titled What is science based policy making?

At this point I believe that many ideas on climate change and governance are already popping out of your head. Write those things down and start reviewing literature about them.

© 2013 November 16 P. A. Regoniel