Training courses

Social science methods for natural scientists

26–28 May 2016
Brest, France

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Research projects are increasingly interdisciplinary enterprises often with a strong emphasis on stakeholder participation and engagement. As a result natural scientists are being called upon to engage with a broader set of scientific and societal stakeholders and operate in new and challenging environments. In this changing professional context, gaining appropriate research skills is becoming a necessity.  

What this means in practice is finding new ways to collaborate, communicate, and engage with stakeholders (in our case fishers), managers and policy makers to broaden the knowledge base and increase the policy relevance of our work. As a result there is a need for targeted training in social science research methods for natural scientists.

By way of professional introduction to the topic, this course will provide 'hands on' guidance on the basics required to navigate this challenging landscape. Employing a participant-led 'learning by doing' approach the facilitators will guide the participants step by step through the basics of social science methods such as interviewing, participant observation, mapping etc., in a supportive and interactive process designed to develop confidence and capacities.

Background to the topic such as the epistemology and ontology of the social sciences and the underpinning social science theory will also be discussed where appropriate. The course is designed to be challenging, flexible and fun.


Through gaining new skills, participants will be better able to work effectively with stakeholders in (cooperative) research projects, as well as having a better appreciation of the strengths and application of the social sciences in fisheries research.


It is assumed that scientists have a natural science background, have or will have experience with working in cooperative research projects, working with stakeholders or are otherwise interested in learning more about social science methods in fisheries science. No knowledge of social science is required.

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Marloes Kraan, IMARES, Wageningen University, Netherlands​​

Maiken Bjorkan, Nordland research institute​, Norway ​

Course fee:

450 Euros (for ICES member country affiliated participants)

750 Euros (for non-member country affiliated participants)

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Social science methods for natural scientists

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