An ecological perspective on theory, methods, and analysis in environmental psychology: Advances and challenges

Gary Winkel, Susan Saegert, Gary W. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

Over the course of environmental psychology's brief history, there has been an interest in ecologically oriented approaches to theory and research. Based on this work, this paper identifies a set of six principles of ecological analysis that present theoretical, methodological, and analytic challenges to future research in environmental psychology. These challenges include the theoretical treatment of the multiple contexts within which human experience and behavior occurs, the need for sampling both persons and environments, the modeling of moderating and mediating processes, the issue of self-selection into and out of different settings, the necessity of considering temporal factors in environmental research, reliance on single methods (e.g., verbal report) in data generation, cross-sectional and longitudinal research designs, and the need for greater use of statistical techniques developed for contextual (multi-level) research. These issues are discussed and illustrated using recent developments in environmentally oriented research. The paper concludes with a set of 11 recommendations for the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-328
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Contextual models
  • Ecological principles
  • Environmental psychology
  • Mediation/moderation
  • Multi-level statistical modeling

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