Research design to integrate wellbeing into SES-thinking
11 Sep 2015

By Navarun Varma, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

In HI-AWARE’s Research Component 2 studies, we are interested in understanding the drivers of differential vulnerabilities to climate change risks. Since we will be venturing into the dynamic dimension of vulnerability, we propose to use the resilience approach, which will enable us to capture both social and ecological aspects of change. However, the challenge will be to unpack the drivers of social vulnerability using metaphors purely related to ecological-resilience theory. In order to meet this challenge, as well as to understand the differential capacities among women and men of different social groups to respond to changes, we further plan to integrate the wellbeing approach to socio-ecological systems of thinking. In order to operationalise this integrated approach, we held a workshop on research design in Dhaka from August 3 to 5, 2015.

During the workshop, the working group of the research component came together and deliberated over the overarching question, framed key research questions following from it and finally worked in ‘river basin groups’ (i.e. Indus, Upper Ganga, Gandaki and Teesta) to decide on research topics and context-specific research questions. For selecting the research topics, each ‘river basin group’ made use of the information and experience of the current situation analysis that the groups had conducted as the first activity under HIAWARE. Each group further carved out the data needs and methods for the context-specific questions. The research design achieved is a very successful outcome of the three-day deliberative process, and the researchers of the working group are excited to take this approach forward in the rounds of fieldwork planned from this year.