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Southcentral Test Case Survey – Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions and answers we have put together as a resource for information about our current mailout survey (click on the question to find the answer). If you received it and are wondering about something that we don’t cover, please don’t hesitate to contact us! If you already sent in your response, thank you very much for your participation!

The survey has been developed and sent out by a diverse team of researchers and students at the University of Alaska based on input from the Kenai Peninsula community. It is part of an interdisciplinary effort focused on people and land dynamics on the Kenai Peninsula.

The survey is part of a larger University of Alaska project that is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), through the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

For further information on EPSCoR generally, the following website may be useful: http://www.nsf.gov/od/iia/programs/epscor/nsf_oiia_epscor_index.jsp.

For further information on Alaska EPSCoR, feel free to visit our main project website (http://www.alaska.edu/epscor/). The website describes the three test cases: Northern, Southcentral, and Southeast. This survey is an effort through the Southcentral test case on the Kenai Peninsula.

Our project is interdisciplinary, so we have researchers from fields such as freshwater ecology, landscape ecology, economics, anthropology, and geography. The survey will provide information that can be used by several researchers on project. In addition, since the main focus of the project is to improve understanding of adaptive capacity on the Kenai, we need to look at a range of physical and social issues.

Several things will happen with the results. The summarized results will be shared with the survey participants, unless participants check the box saying they don’t want to see them. The responses will be used for analysis on demographics, economics, and landscape. Those analyses will be integrated with ecological research on the Kenai Peninsula to better understand how communities might respond to change. We will also present the survey results publically and use the survey to develop educational materials.

We understand that the information requested may be personal. The reason we ask for it is that we need to make sure the survey fairly represents the adult residents of the Kenai Peninsula. (For example, if everyone who participated in the survey was under 30, we would not be able to say the survey results represent Kenai residents older than that.) Without some information of the types of people who participate in the survey, we can’t say that the survey applies to the Kenai. In our database, your responses will not ever be linked with your name or address.

We developed the survey with input from a variety of sources. Prior to developing the survey, we completed focus groups with members of the Kenai Peninsula community to gain knowledge of local issues, perceptions, and concerns. Members of our research team with different expertise provided input. This means we received feedback from our ecologists as well as the social scientists on the team. We also tested the survey with a group of students at the University of Alaska Anchorage, to help use see how long it would take and if there were any issues with clarity of the questions. While not all of the students had lived on or visited the Kenai Peninsula, their feedback on the questions greatly decreased the length and improved the wording and structure of the survey so it would be more approachable.

The main reason for the mapping activity is to find out what Kenai Peninsula residents grouped together think is important about the land around them. All the participants’ responses will be combined to show overall which places are most important to Kenai Peninsula residents for different reasons. We’ll be using the data to compare to survey results from 10 years ago to try to understand how people and values might be changing on the Kenai and how that might connect to land or water changes.

All parts of the survey are completely voluntary. We hope that participants complete and send in both the survey booklet and the map, since it would mean the survey will better represent Kenai Peninsula residents.

We acquired a randomly selected list of addresses for residents of the Kenai Peninsula from InfoUSA (http://www.infousa.com/index-a/).

Your survey responses will not ever be linked with your name or address. We have arranged things on our end to ensure this. If you’d like a more detailed explanation, please feel free to contact us.

There should be a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope included in your packet. If for any reason it is missing, or the address is unclear, the surveys should be sent to:

ATTN: Sarah Wandersee
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Drive, CPISB 101
Anchorage, AK 99508

Our Southcentral test case website (http://www.alaska.edu/epscor/focus/integration/) is a good source of information on our project structure and main activities.

We also have put together a Southcentral Alaska Science Catalog (http://southcentral.epscor.alaska.edu/). This site not only includes data from around Alaska, but also news and events from our test case. The site further contains brochures and pamphlets describing our test case approach and activities.

Sarah Wandersee
University of Alaska Anchorage
907-786-7749

If you already sent in your packet, thank you very much for your response! We set up a second round of postcards to make sure no one is missing a packet and knows who to contact for questions about the survey. Your survey packet has most likely been received, so please don’t worry about the second postcard. Thank you again for your participation!

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