||Duke PhD student Stephanie Stefanski recently taught a class focused on the process
of designing, implementing, and analyzing the results from an economic valuation survey.
The class was given as a module to inform the broader class themes of policy design
and cost-benefit analysis in fisheries and marine resource management. The data file
contains 1,526 observations of U.S. households who responded to an online Qualtrics
survey in May 2012 about their familiarity with and willingness to pay to protect
marine biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico by paying additional taxes to fund an expansion
of a marine sanctuary in the northern Gulf. There are 92 variables, which include
socio-demographic characteristics of respondents, their answers to willingness to
pay questions, and their answers to debriefing questions. Stephanie gave a presentation
describing the context and motivation of the study and the main questions used in
the survey. She then demonstrated to students the different data analysis commands
and coding in Stata to visualize the data through histograms and frequency charts.
These data visualizations informed the different types of regression analyses Stephanie
taught the class. Finally, the students separated into small groups to discuss one
of four policy implication discussion questions. The purpose of the exercise is to
help students think critically about survey design and implementation, and how the
results of surveys can be used to inform a variety of policies and to better understanding
why people support environmental policy. The module successfully engaged students
in learning about a published study and the data collection and analysis process it
entailed. The class discussion fostered critical thinking about how to connect this
type of data analysis and survey design to their own research and to addressing environmental
challenges and policies beyond the scope of the study.