Important Needs for Theory
Two things are clear about theory in BES. First, it is an extraordinarily important and well recognized tool for integration and motivation in our long-term social-ecological research and education activities. Theory features prominently in the proposal for BES III, and we are actively exploring three important theoretical lenses as ways to view and link our long-term research, including modeling and comparative studies. However, it is equally clear that we can do a much better job of explaining our theories to others, and using them to integrate among our various data streams and conceptual areas.
Our Strategy for Improving Use of Theory
- The BES Book of the Year will be Scheiner and Willig’s The Theory of Ecology, published by the University of Chicago Press.
- We will conduct web-based seminars to examine several chapters in Scheiner and Willig’s book, and links with social theory.
- Our Quarterly Project Meetings will focus on the three theories we have chosen as motivating and integrative tools, as well as on research opportunities that cross disciplines and theories.
- We will seek a plenary speaker for our 2014 Annual Meeting who can address theory in a way suitable to a multi-disciplinary audience.
- We will conduct multi-disciplinary “walk-abouts” or field trips in Baltimore to promote shared understandings of place, research opportunities, and educational potential of our theoretical structure.