Developing a practitioner-led research agenda

HAVE YOUR SAY: let us know your evidence and research needs




Who is the online consultation for...

  • UK-based ecology and conservation practitioners working on terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems. Includes: land managers, reserve staff, ecological consultants and staff scientists working in NGOs, government agencies and the private sector.

What is the online consultation about...

  • A large proportion of the outputs of ecological research is not being used by practitioners.

  • Many practitioners do not see the relevance of research outputs to their everyday work.

  • The lack of relevance is a result of a largely top-down approach to research (academic-led).

  • Access to summaries of ecological research has been made easier through resources like Conservation Evidence, but much of the summarised work has still been produced 'top-down'.

  • This consultation is a unique opportunity for practitioners to input their own 'needs' in relation to research that will support their everyday work (a practitioner-led research agenda).

A structured format...

  • The sections of the consultation have been adapted from CIEEM’s competency framework.

  • This framework format allows research topics to be linked directly to the everyday work of ecologists and conservation practitioners.

  • The consultation is aimed at developing a practitioner-led research agenda. The research examples were identified as part of a 2-day workshop in 2017 as part of an initiative called: What's the Point of Conservation Science (WPCS). This was attended by 45 practitioners and funded by a grant British Ecological Society 'Conservation Ecology Special Interest Group'.

How to have your say...

  • Take the online consultation by clicking on the button above.

  • The online consultation has two key sections: 
         SECTION 1: a little bit of background information about you so we can assess research                               needs for different practitioner groups.
         SECTION 2: a list of work-related tasks and activities in a numbered ‘framework’ with a box                          that allows you to input your research ideas and needs. 

  • You can click "Finish Later" to return to your responses if you don't want to complete the consultation in one session.

  • You can also cut-and-paste from a text document.

Inputting your research needs (Section 2 of consultation )...

  • You will see there are 6 major ‘Work Areas’. In the online consultation, each area has a group of associated ‘Tasks’ and ‘Activities’ .
    Work area 1   Surveying (species, habitat, physical environment & human activities)
    Work area 2   Scientific method
    Work area 3   Environmental management
    Work area 4   Environmental assessment
    Work area 5   Policy, legislation and standards
    Work area 6   Socio-economic context and impact

  • Simply navigate to the items for which you wish to suggest research. Then fill in the box with your research needs.

  • Multiple research projects can be suggested for the same activities (if you have more than one research need). Just separate them with a semi colon.


How much detail is needed...
•    The boxes allow you to provide as much or as little text as you wish. 
•    If we require more we will contact you (with your permission) later in the consultation.


Next stage: what happens to your input...

  • Participation in the consultation is voluntary and all the responses are collected anonymously.

  • The data will be stored securely and used for study purposes only.

  • All responses are automatically collated in a table for us to review.

  • The identified research needs will be collated into a published research agenda.

  • A second phase of the What's the Point of Conservation Science (WPCS) initiative will be undertaken to identify how the developed agenda can be taken forward and funded.


We understand you are incredibly busy are very grateful for your time.

Please forward the link to the consultation throughout your networks:

Dr Mark O’Connell (University of Gloucestershire) and Rachel White (University of Brighton).

If you have any questions regarding the consultation, please email

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