Tuesday 6
The Social-ecological systems meta-analysis database (SESMAD) project
Michael Cox
› 11:35 - 12:30 (55min)
› JOFFRE 1-5
Systematic case study methodology in SES contexts: making within-case comparisons with the Social-ecological systems meta-analysis database
Sergio Villamayor-Tomas  1@  , Michael Cox  2@  
1 : Humboldt University, Division of Resource Economics  -  Website
2 : Dartmouth College  -  Website

This presentation will be part of the session entitled “The Social-ecological systems meta-analysis database (SESMAD) project.”

This paper aims to illustrate one way to systematize data collection and analysis for the development of case studies on social-ecological systems (SES). The practice of the case study methodology in the social sciences has gained rigor and transparence over the last decades. Two important contributions in that regard are the conceptualization and use of the within case comparison and process tracing techniques. Both techniques have been praised for facilitating the identification of causal relationships. This is particularly valuable when those relationships are complex, like in SES. The within case comparison technique builds on the possibility to disaggregate cases into multiple units of analysis and the use of counterfactual analysis to make inferences about the characteristics of those units and their impact on outcomes. Process tracing capitalizes on the identification of the events that connect causes and effects thus helping to test relationships between variables or bundles of them. Steps towards the systematization of the two techniques can not only facilitate their use by researchers without previous experience in SES research or the case study method, but also help the SES scholarship to further move from the exploration of complexity to theory building. For that purpose, the paper introduces a social-ecological systems meta-analysis database (SESMAD) along with a coding strategy that help identifying relevant SES components and processes, and within-system comparisons. To illustrate the opportunities and challenges of using these tools we bring examples from five SES case studies, including the Great Marine Reef, the Montreal Protocol, the International Commission of the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, Indonesian forests and the Rhine river.


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