After 30 interviews I think I have reached an information saturation point. Further interviews are failing to produce new information and I can’t find any more livestock owners! This is almost the end of my research. Tomorrow I will have a debrief with the rangers and plot the paths and tracks around and within Wadi Sayq using GIS software on the IPad.
There are three key themes to this research:
1) mapping of grazing activity
2) mapping of livestock depredation and perceieved mammal distribution
3) discussing topics that arise and problems livestock owners face
Prior to arriving in Oman I had a couple of reservations about the research methods. The biggest worry was that the livestock owners simply would’nt have specific grazing regimes and that they just let their livestock roam wild and free – thankfully this wasn’t the case and although they do allow their livestock to wander free, it is in specific places at specific times of the year.
Another worry was that the livestock owners would not be happy to discuss sensitive topics like conflict with the leopard or traditional tribal institutions, but again, this wasn’t the case and with the latter, in fact, the older gentlemen hugely enjoyed telling me about the history of their families and the way grazing has changed over the years.
Another concern was that I would not be told the truth – this is ALWAYS a concern when undertaking social science research. During my experience here in Oman I feel that 95% of the information I have been given is true. Apart from the odd lion sighting (lions aren’t in Oman) and reports of observations of 10+ leopards, I don’t feel that false information has been given.
I hope that I can do the informants justice – they have given me so much time and hospitality, I need to make every word of the report count.
For the next few days however, I will be enjoying some sunny spells, cooling swims and a bit of walking on the Jabal. Alhamdulilla.