Social science qualitative data on three wetland case study sites: Somerset, Bedfordshire and North Lincolnshire 2018

The data set contains the qualitative results from fieldwork from the ‘sense of place’ and 'contemporary social representations' workpackage components of the WetlandLIFE project. Fieldwork included two discussant focus groups and thirty semi-structured interviews with specialist users of wetlands. The University of Brighton's social science qualitative fieldwork seeks to capture the different perspectives of people whose lives are intimately connected to particular English wetlands, in order to understand the range and diversity of wellbeing practices in these spaces. The target cohort are those groups of people, or organisations, that are particularly drawn to wetlands, or who could be expected to make regular use of these spaces, particularly for their health and wellbeing. Such Specialist Interest Groups (SIGs) would include birders, walkers, wildlife photographers, artists and anglers alongside educators, naturalists, spiritual practitioners and ecologists. They may not live close to the wetland sites but their field of interest, or sense of place, would be expected to include them. These interviews and focus groups took place at the case study sites in the Somerset Levels (Westhay Moor and Shapwick Heath), Bedfordshire (Priory Country Park and Millennium Country Park) and North Lincolnshire (Alkborough Flats) between January 2018 and September 2018. This data is NERC-funded but not held by the EIDC. This data is archived in the UK Data Service ReShare repository.

Publication date: 2020-01-28

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Study area
Temporal extent
2018-02-01    to    2018-09-30

Provenance & quality

Initial desk based research was undertaken to begin to identify which target groups were active in these sites and in similar wetland spaces. This desk research also identified specialist interest groups whose activities could also take place on wetlands but who did not appear active in these spaces. Groups were identified through accessing their websites, analyzing social media postings and alerts through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Contact was made with the wetland site managers and local environmental groups to begin the process of identifying active and non active SIGs in the case study wetlands. From this process participants were identified, with 'snowballing' of contacts to capture as many representative actors as possible. Two focus groups were held in Somerset and Bedfordshire to build relationships of trust between University of Brighton researchers and wetland SIGs, and to determine the critical issues and concerns which influence use and access of the case study sites. These focus groups also generated new contacts for the one to one interviews. A focus group was not held in North Lincolnshire as it became apparent quite quickly that this relatively remote wetland attracted SIGs from a very wide geographical spread and so it would not be feasible to bring participants together for a collective meeting. Further, the geographical range meant that SIGs may not have the local focus that was characteristic of the other case study sites. The follow on stage after the focus groups were thirty semi-structured one to one interviews. Nineteen of the interviews were conducted face to face and eleven over the phone; this was determined by geographical disparity in the case of the North Lincolnshire and poor health for one of the other interviewees. Interviews were recorded on Dictaphone and then transcribed; with anonymity assured. These interviews and focus groups took place at the case study sites between January 2018 and September 2018.
The original transcriptions held references to interviewee's names; and to the names of other contacts/interviewees. In order to protect anonymity all identifying information was removed. In its place the word 'REMOVED' was added. Key material that will enable other researchers to understand the Specialist Interest Group that the interviewee represents was kept in, so that the data remain meaningful, but adhere to the confidentiality agreement in the research's consent forms.


This dataset is included in the following collections

Data from the Valuing Nature programme

Correspondence/contact details

Gearey, M.C.A.
University of Brighton


Gearey, M.C.A.
University of Brighton
Church, A.
University of Brighton
Ravenscroft, N.
Royal Agrcultural University

Other contacts

UK Data Service ReShare
UK Data Service ReShare

Additional metadata

Topic categories
artistic activities,  ecology,  photography,  social sciences,  well-being (health),  well-being (society),  wetlands
Natural Environment Research Council Award: NE/N013379/1
Last updated
03 March 2020 11:13