ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Shark sentiment study: PhD research project description & application process            

Title

Great white shark, Elias LevyUnderstanding sentiment concerning human and non-human animal coexistence: Models for shark management and communication

Short Title

Shark sentiment study

Introduction

There are increasing challenges concerning human and non-human animal interactions. Non-human animal behaviour and habitat needs are often better understood than social and political influences on the humans who make all the important decisions concerning management of coexistence. Even apparently simple interventions are socially complicated (Pooley et al, 2016), and attitudes are nuanced, complex and often contradictory (Mehmet & Simmons, 2016). There have been calls for involvement of social scientists and communicators in understanding attitudes to human-wildlife interaction (Manfredo et al, 2009; Treves et al, 2006), interdisciplinary research into human-predator coexistence, including learning from disciplines targeting analogous human problems (Pooley et al, 2016).

This project is a collaboration between Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Charles Sturt University (CSU). It focuses on improving understanding of human relations with sharks and strategies for managing and communicating about sharks, shark risk and shark management. The multidisciplinary supervision team will include representatives from both DPI and CSU.

Aim

To develop a model that assists in characterising and responding to sentiment concerning human and non-human animal coexistence

Objectives

  • Characterise sentiment relating to sharks and shark management, and the main justifications for and influences on sentiment.
  • Develop a model that identifies and characterises sentiment relating to sharks and shark management.
  • Develop plausible strategies for monitoring and responding to community and stakeholder sentiment concerning sharks and shark management.
  • Contribute to theories of human relations and coexistence with non-human animals.

Methodology

The study will apply a mixed-method approach to gathering and analysing community and stakeholder sentiment:

  • Using archival and secondary data, develop cross-disciplinary conceptual framework for analysis of community and stakeholder sentiment concerning sharks and shark management, including incident categories (Neff & Huerter, 2013), historical contexts, perceptions of threat (Whittaker et al, 2006), fear of species (Sponarski et al, 2015), risk tolerance (Gore et al, 2006), and value, economic, geographic, epistemological and framing considerations (Pooley et al, 2016).
  • Multimethod capture and analysis of community and stakeholder sentiment concerning sharks and shark management, including:
  • Develop procedures for semi-automated capture of sentiment expressed online through words, images and other communication, including context of exchanges.
  • Physical world interactions with communities and stakeholders.

Outcomes

  1. A description and analysis of community and stakeholder sentiment concerning sharks and shark management.
  2. An assessment of the major influencers of community and stakeholder sentiment concerning sharks and shark management.
  3. A conceptual model for interpreting community and stakeholder sentiment concerning sharks and shark management and assessing communication and management responses.
  4. A draft communication strategy concerning sharks and shark management.

Publication outputs

  1. A PhD thesis from Charles Sturt University
  2. Conference and other presentations
  3. Published peer-reviewed journal articles

Process

The project will be delivered through a PhD project at Charles Sturt University over 3 years with a possible 6 month extension (normal for a study of this kind) in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries.

The supervisory team will be led by a representative of CSU and include a representative of the DPI. The supervisory team will collaborate on support and advice for the design and implementation of the project.

The project will be administered by the Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS) with funding and other support from the Faculty of Arts and Education and the Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences.

Scholarship

The scholarship is a partnership between the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Charles Sturt University (CSU). It will be administered through the Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS), one of four CSU Research Centres.  The scholarship remuneration is equivalent to an Australia Postgraduate Award Stipend with an additional top-up of $8,000 per year from DPI.

Application process

Applications will be assessed by a panel including representatives of CSU and DPI.

Applications will include:

  • Full CV including details of academic qualifications and research experience
  • Names and contact details of three referees
  • Two page statement outlining your interest in this particular project

Selection criteria:

Essential
  • Minimum of upper second class Honours degree or a strong research Masters degree, or equivalent, in organisational, marketing, political, or environmental communication, or an appropriate related field
  • An ability to engage with diverse stakeholders in the co-production of knowledge
  • Drivers licence to travel for field research
  • Eligibility for enrollment in CSU Higher Degree Research course
Desirable
  • A demonstrable interest in human/non-human animal relations
  • Expertise in organisational communication management

The successful applicant should be able to start in Bathurst in mid- 2017.

Send applications to: ilws@csu.edu.au   

Applications close:  April 21, 2017

More information:

Associate Professor Peter Simmons
School of Communication and Creative Industries
psimmons@csu.edu.au
0263384521