7. Conclusion

The quality of the NFA study is directly related to what questions the NFA team asks, who they ask, how they ask their questions and how they go about verifying the information obtained. By paying careful attention to the advice offered in this chapter, the NFA team may minimize the problems related to the reliability and validity of the interview data. However, the reliability and validity of interview data will never be perfect. For this reason, the credibility of the NFA results hinges on how the NFA team presents its estimate of uncertainty.

Without a good description of the degree of uncertainty, a particular finding becomes virtually impossible to interpret. Even if a measurement is of qualitative nature, such as interpreted information from forest interviews with key informants, it is extremely important to explicitly estimate the bounds of uncertainty for the conclusions drawn from the results. Estimating the degree of uncertainty can be done by considering how observed limitations in reliability and validity may influence the study¿s findings. Presenting the study¿s limitations up-front and in a systematic fashion, strengthens the scientific merit of the results and increases the credibility of the study.

last updated:  Wednesday, January 28, 2004