Advances in the social sciences have emerged through a variety of research methods: field-based research, laboratory and field experiments, and agent-based models. However, which research method or approach is best suited to a particular inquiry is frequently debated and discussed. Working Together examines how different methods have promoted various theoretical developments related to collective action and the commons, and demonstrates the importance of cross-fertilization involving multimethod research across traditional boundaries. The authors look at why cross-fertilization is difficult to achieve, and they show ways to overcome these challenges through collaboration. The authors provide numerous examples of collaborative, multimethod research related to collective action and the commons. They examine the pros and cons of case studies, meta-analyses, large-N field research, experiments and modeling, and empirically grounded agent-based models, and they consider how these methods contribute to research on collective action for the management of natural resources.
Using their findings, the authors outline a revised theory of collective action that includes three elements: individual decision making, microsituational conditions, and features of the broader social-ecological context. Acknowledging the academic incentives that influence and constrain how research is conducted, Working Together reworks the theory of collective action and offers practical solutions for researchers and students across a spectrum of disciplines.
Amy R. Poteete is assistant professor of political science at Concordia University in Montreal. Marco A. Janssen is assistant professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. Elinor Ostrom is professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, and Arizona State University, Tempe, and the cowinner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
List of Illustrations xiii List of Tables xv Acknowledgments xvii Prologue xxi Part One: Introduction Chapter One: Overcoming Methodological Challenges 3 Social Science Debates over the Superiority of Particular Methods 7 Multiple Methods: Promises and Challenges 11 Practical Challenges and Methodological Trade-Offs 14 Technological Development and the Costs of Border Crossing 15 Availability and Accessibility of Data 17 Career Incentives as Methodological Constraints 18 Training 19 Career Incentives and Specialization 20 Our Substantive Focus 21 Interactions between Theory and Methods 23 Multiple Methods and Collaborative Research 23 Practical Constraints on Methodological Choices 23 Career Incentives and Methodological Practice 24 Outline of the Book 24 Part Two: Field Methods Chapter Two: Small-N Case Studies: Putting the Commons under a Magnifying Glass 31 The Conventional Theory of the Commons 31 The Case Study Method 33 Cases, Case Studies, and Case Study Research 33 Analytical Strengths and Weaknesses 34 Practical Considerations 37 Synthesizing Challenges and Coordinating New Research Efforts 39 Contributions to the Study of the Commons 45 Property Rights and Tenure Security 45 Group Characteristics 52 Resource Characteristics 57 Case Studies as a Foundation 60 Chapter Three: Broadly Comparative Field-Based Research 64 Methodological Practices over Fifteen Years of Research 65 Defining the Units of Analysis 66 Trading Geographic Scope for Numbers? 68 Theoretical Aspirations and Methodological Practices 74 Practical Challenges to Broadly Comparative Field-Based Research 74 Costs of Data Collection 75 Research Design and Sampling 76 The Implications of Data Scarcity and Costliness 78 Meta-Analysis: An Introduction 78 Weighing the Benefits and Costs of Meta-Analysis 81 Coding Strategies and Missing Data 81 Potential Sources of Sample Bias 83 The Choice of Methodological Strategy: Weighing Costs against Control 86 Chapter Four: Meta-Analysis: Getting the Big Picture through Synthesis 89 Meta-Analysis: A Recapitulation 89 The Common-Pool Resource (CPR) Research Program 90 Defining Variables 92 Compensating for Gaps in Case Materials 93 Contributions 94 Overall Assessment 101 NIIS: A Hybrid Approach 102 Adaptation of the CPR Protocols 103 Measurement and Sampling 104 Contributions 105 Overall Assessment 107 Other Synthetic Studies 107 Additional Examples of Meta-Analysis 108 An Example of Narrative Synthesis 111 Progress and Continuing Challenges 113 Chapter Five: Collaborative Field Studies 115 Collaboration in Field-Based Research, 1990-2004 116 Two Research Partnerships 118 Community-Based Management of Common-Pool Resources in Tanzania 118 Traditional Management of Artisanal Fisheries in Nigeria 120 Thoughts about Research Partnerships 124 CGIAR: A Global Research Alliance 124 IFRI: An International Research Network 126 Strategies for Data Collection 127 Strategies for Coordination 128 Contributions and Challenges 129 Comparing the Strategies and Drawing Implications 132 Part Three: Models and Experiments in the Laboratory and the Field Chapter Six: Experiments in the Laboratory and the Field 141 The Experimental Method 142 Laboratory Experiments of Relevance to the Study of the Commons 144 Public Goods Experiments 146 Common-Pool Resource Experiments 150 Insights from Public Goods and Common-Pool Resource Experiments in the Laboratory 153 Face-to-Face Communication in the Laboratory 153 Heterogeneity 156 Sanctioning Experiments 158 Field Experiments 159 Toward a New Generation of Experiments of Commons Dilemmas 163 New Developments in Laboratory Experiments 164 Toward a New Generation of Field Experiments 168 Conclusion 169 Chapter Seven: Agent-Based Models of Collective Action 171 A Brief Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling 171 Cellular Automata 172 Networks 173 Agents 174 Strengths and Weaknesses of Agent-Based Models 175 Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma 177 Cooperation among Egoists 177 Evolving Strategies in Prisoner's Dilemma Tournaments 178 Spatial Games 180 Spatial Social Dilemma Games 180 Spatial Public Goods Games 181 Indirect Reciprocity 182 Evolution of Costly Punishment 185 Evolution of Social (Meta) Norms 187 Future Challenges 188 Conclusion 191 Chapter Eight: Building Empirically Grounded Agent-Based Models 194 Comparing Simulations with Data 195 Different Approaches to Combine Empirical Data and Agent-Based Models 196 Agent-Based Models of Laboratory and Field Experiments 198 Role Games and Companion Modeling 204 Models of Case Studies 207 Methodological Challenges 210 Conclusion 212 Part Four: Synthesis Chapter Nine: Pushing the Frontiers of the Theory of Collective Action and the Commons 215 Synopsis of Research Developments Reviewed in Parts II and III 217 Toward a More General Behavioral Theory of Human Action 220 Assumptions of a Behavioral Theory 222 The Centrality of Trust 226 Unpacking the Concept of Context 227 The Microsituational Context 228 The Impact of Microsituational Variables on Cooperation 228 The Challenge of Linking Contextual Scales 231 The Broader Scale Affecting Collective Action 232 Ontological Frameworks 233 An Ontological Framework of Social-Ecological Systems 234 Predicting Self-Organization Drawing on the SES Framework 236 Diagnosing Institutional Change 239 Challenges for Future Research 243 Conclusion 245 Appendix 9.1: A Theoretical Puzzle: Why Do Some Resource Users Self-Organize and Others Do Not? 246 Chapter Ten Learning from Multiple Methods 248 Interlocking Developments in Methods and Theory 249 Methodological and Disciplinary Cross-Fertilization and Theoretical Innovation 251 Sequential Movement between Methods and Disciplines 252 Combining Multiple Methods and Disciplines in a Program of Research 255 Spaces for Cross-Fertilization 257 Practical Challenges 258 Trade-Offs in Training and Research 258 Professional Incentives 260 Collaborative Research as a Collective-Action Problem 262 Rewards to Individual and Collaborative Research 263 Fragmentation of Academia 265 Misunderstandings and Mistrust 266 Long-Term Funding 269 Responding to the Challenges 270 Looking Forward 271 Notes 275 References 289 Index 339