Methodology

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The research is employing a broad and deep research strategy. The analysis of existing social and natural science databases and models as well as published scientific documents and policy documents forms one of the backbones of the project. This analysis is being combined with an extensive process of consultation involving interviews, focus groups and workshops with policy practitioners and scientists working at the heart of disease containment. A summary diagram of our methologology is available.

In addition to the analysis of a number of secondary data sources, we have collected primary data using a combination of semi-structured interviews, consultation with experts and stakeholders and workshops. To date, 49 individual interviews, 5 group interviews, two international conferences, two workshops and a number of ‘work shadowing’ opportunities in various organisations have been conducted.

Interview data

Our semi-structured interviews have been targeted at experts and stakeholders who have a role at the “operational”, the “tactical” and the “strategic/policy” level in animal disease containment. The interviews have addressed the central issue of scientific uncertainty and its translation into policy by exploring questions such as how the level of significance is assigned to a particular disease, or identifying what individuals perceive as constituting an effective containment strategy.

Examples of interview questions

  • How is significance assigned to a particular disease?
  • How does the historical position of a disease influence current containment practice?
  • What is effective containment practice?
  • What are perceptions of strengths and weaknesses in present containment practice and policy?
  • How effective is policy and practice in

 

Workshop aims and objectives

The intention of the disease-specific workshops was to provide an opportunity for experts to examine the initial outcomes of the interview and data gathering aspects of the project. Feedback from experts has provided an important checkpoint on our analysis as well as providing essential input into exploring the cross-disease aspects of our project.

Summary documents for each of our  Workshops have been produced

(I) Policy and disease containment strategies in Avian Influenza: Living with uncertainty

(II) Policy and disease containment strategies in Foot and Mouth Disease: Living with uncertainty

(III) Policy and disease containment strategies in Cryptosporidium: Living with uncertainty