The Use of Social Sciences Methods in Earth Sciences

Full Name: Dr. Efrosyni-Maria Skordaki

Academic Affiliation: Department of Civil Engineering, Royal Military College of Canada

Position: Researcher

Abstract: This research employed Grounded Theory in a qualitative methodology in order to investigate risk in laboratory practices followed by geologists and geoengineers, particularly in the use of scientific software. Scientific software continues to evolve as knowledge obtained through continued scientific endeavour progresses. As the software’s cognitive density increases, so does the risk of incorrect use of software or insufficient validation of software output by the user. With the advancement of scientific software products, the issue that becomes central for the earth sciences researchers is the effectual comprehension of the knowledge that is entrenched in the software. With a view to examining software training and knowledge transfer approaches among geology/geoengineering practitioners and researchers, snowball sampling as well as purposive sampling methods were employed. Input from 16 respondents with diverse education and experience was collected and analysed with constant comparative analysis. The results from this study demonstrate how specific software user aptitudes and strategies may affect the generation and interpretation of new data in earth sciences. Further, the findings of this investigation point towards a potential need for amplified use of social sciences methods in earth sciences in order to examine risk generated by practitioners and researchers.