An Assessment Of Temporal And Spatial Change In The Environmental Attitudes Of UK Farmers

Ben Davies

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper


Although the field of agricultural economics is blessed with much longitudinal data, studies of attitudes over time remain extremely difficult to develop, not least due to funding practicalities. At the same time, a critical issue in behavioural studies is the evolution of farming attitudes over time. This paper reports the results of three separate Q method studies of farmers’ environmental perspectives, separated in space and time but directly cross-comparable due to deploying the same survey instrument on each occasion. We compare the results from an initial study undertaken in East Anglia in 2001 with a small repeat sub-sample of the same farmers in 2007-8, which enables a direct and quantitative assessment of the stability of individual perspectives over a period of considerable change in agricultural policy. In addition, both these samples are compared with a third study conducted in Scotland in 2006. Whilst the comparison across time shows a strong degree of stability in many individual perspectives, there is sufficient variation to indicate some patterns of individual changes, and hint at some pathways of evolution in opinions over time. We demonstrate this with various measures of both individual and group changes, within the framework of the Q method philosophy. The comparison across space and time also indicates a reasonable degree of correspondence between English and Scottish perspectives, though some differences are again apparent.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2008
Event9th Biennial Conference of ISEE - Nairobi, Kenya
Duration: 7 Aug 200811 Aug 2008


Conference9th Biennial Conference of ISEE


  • farmers
  • attitudes
  • temporal change
  • Q methodology
  • UK


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