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With limited resources available for vertebrate pest research and control, the use of surveys can be a cost-effective means of gathering certain kinds of data. Information from which to establish research priorities and for establishing control programs or modifying existing programs can be gathered with the careful use of surveys.
Three survey methods are most commonly used: telephone surveys, mailed questionnaires, and personal (face-to-face) interview-type surveys. Each method has its good points and specific shortcomings. The type of information desired, the number of responses needed for an appropriate sample, the geographic area encompassed by the survey, and resources available are major determinants of which survey type to use.
Special attention must be given to assure that biases are not produced by the nature of the survey, those conducting the survey, or those participating in the survey. Biases that do occur should be measured and acknowledged. Analysis of surveys can be made easier with the use of computer-based statistical packages such as Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Statistical Analysis Systems (SAS).
Experience with several types of surveys for gathering information and data are discussed along with an overview of some past uses of surveys in the field of vertebrate pest control and wildlife management.
mail survey, telephone survey, face-to-face interview, vertebrate pest control, random sample, nonrandom sample, parametric statistics, nonparametric statistics
Professor, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA
Extension wildlife specialist (animal damage), Wildlife Extension, University of California, Davis, CA
Specialist in vertebrate ecology, Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, University of California, Davis, CA