Q-method evaluation of the procedure and skills and capacities necessary for effective participation in EIA

Published: 30 April 2018| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/rpg527czjy.1
Nicholas Philip Simpson


The two case studies selected for this research reflect significantly different stakeholder populations. EIA Case Study 1 follows the participation of Phase 3 of rehabilitation of Main Road in the southern peninsular of Cape Town. It is characterised by having an affected population with a low rate of unemployment, a relatively high standard of living and popular stakeholder support of the project goals. Comparatively, EIA Case Study 2 follows the participation of the re-commissioning of a fishmeal plant in Saldanha Bay, 120 km north of Cape Town on the West Coast. Case Study 2 is characterised by having an affected population with a high rate of unemployment, a relatively low standard of living and significantly diverse and conflicting stakeholder responses to the project. To provide perspective to the findings of the case specific results, and to try and establish more generalizable trends, the social perspectives from each case study are compared with social perspectives from interviews with consent regulator staff at the Department of Environmental Affairs and Planning (DEA&DP). The nine DEA&DP staff interviewed provided their perspective of what they consider to be the EIA participation status quo in the Western Cape. The research has adopted a methodology for the analysis of social perspectives on a topic called ‘Q method’. Consequently the fieldwork involved interviews and a principle component analysis of the interview responses to generate the social perspectives for analysis and discussion.


Steps to reproduce

Follow the general Q-method guidance of Brown (1993), Robbins and Krueger (2000) and Webler et al. (2009). Combine with modular theoretical Q-statements deemed relevant to context. Brown, S. 1980. Political Subjectivity: Applications of Q Methodology in Political Science. New Haven: Yale University Press. Robbins, P, and R Krueger. 2000. “Beyond Bias? The Promise and Limits of Q Method in Human Geography.” Professional Geographer 52 (4):636–48. Webler, T, S Danielson, and S Tuler. 2009. “Using Q Method to Reveal Social Perspectives in Environmental Research.” Edited by Social and Environmental Research Institute. Greenfield, MA. http://www.seri-us.org/pubs/Qprimer.pdf.


Social Sciences, Environmental Impact Assessment