Realities of Conducting Research in Northern Tanzania
Posted: December 8, 2011
Name: Christian Kiffner
Position: Lecturer in Wildlife Management
Program: Wildlife Management Studies, Tanzania
Just before heavy rains made even the major roads impassable, all groups managed to finish their field work. SFS students performed an impressive landscape-scale wildlife survey which covered three areas (Lake Manyara National Park, Manyara Ranch and Communal areas), interviewed almost 500 households on bushmeat consumption, and interviewed many stakeholders and households on the influence of tourism on local attitudes towards wildlife conservation. Even though students worked hard on their projects, they were able to enjoy the amenities of Mto Wa Mbu including interactions with local people and eating scrumptious pizza! After exciting observations and experiences in the Maasai steppe, field forms had been digitalized. From this main data set, students are currently extracting and re-organising data to their needs. Each student deals with his specific research question and tests hypotheses with the collected data. Are zebra densities higher inside the national park versus the communal area? Does the protection status of an area affect the behavior of wildlife species? Are people whose livelihood depends on eco-tourism more eco-conscious? Dealing with these questions gives SFS students the full picture of doing research – from the challenges of collecting data in the field, the tedious task of organising data and running statistical tests, to reporting of a research project.