Methods and global environmental governance

Kate O'Neill, Erika Weinthal, Kimberly R. Marion Suiseeya, Steven Bernstein, Avery Cohn, Michael W. Stone, Benjamin Cashore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


This review analyzes the methods being used and developed in global environmental governance (GEG), an applied field that employs insights and tools from a variety of disciplines both to understand pressing environmental problems and to determine how to address them collectively. We find that methods are often underspecified in GEG research. We undertake a critical review of data collection and analysis in three categories: qualitative, quantitative, and modeling and scenario building. We include examples and references from recent studies to show when and how best to utilize these different methods to conduct problem-driven research. GEG problems are often characterized by institutional and issue complexity, linkages, and multiscalarity that pose challenges for many conventional methodological approaches. As a result, given the large methodological toolbox available to applied researchers, we recommend they adopt a reflective, pluralist, and often collaborative approach when choosing methods appropriate to these challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-471
Number of pages31
JournalAnnual Review of Environment and Resources
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • collaboration
  • complexity
  • global environmental governance
  • linkages
  • methodological pluralism
  • problem-focused research
  • scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Methods and global environmental governance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this