Research Methods

The ArcAlpNet project assesses network metrics with Social Network Analysis (SNA) based on written questionnaires, both with full census and snowball sampling, of business collaborations in Arctic and Alpine case study communities. Metrics are interpreted for resilience – adaptive and innovative capacities – based on network governance theory. These interpretations are validated with qualitative data from interviews, workshops and observations. Comparisons of the context specific and place-based resilience assessment results support the development of a resilience assessment methodology. Policy recommendations are drawn from such results on how to increase resilience of vulnerable communities.

Our conceptual approach to resilience is based on the on the community system’s ability to respond to fast types of climate change, such as more frequent extreme weather events, and to prepare for gradual changes, such as diminishing sea ice thickness. Responding to quick changes requires high flexibility translating into adaptive capacity, preparing for gradual changes inhibits diversity, translating into innovative capacity.

We illustrate our conceptual approach to resilience and stress the Capacity of Social-Ecological Systems for Planning Resilience while Introducing the metaphor of Adaptive Waves for developing mental models of resilience; published open access in Luthe & Wyss 2015.


ArcAlpNet 2.0

We analyze indigenous Arctic communities and further Alpine communitites with the same methodology (SNA) as in ArcAlpNet 1.0. Furthermore, we survey social-ecologial network ties derived by quantitative mapping of qualitative expert knowledge (perceived dependencies), on how the social system is dependent on ecosystem services. From these combined social-ecological networks, a structural network modeling approach allows for the identification of the leverage hubs that may drive resilience.

ArcAlpNet 1.0

SNA (Social Network Analysis) is applied to the business community networks with a sample of all actors by written questionnaires, and a systematic identification of social network patterns. We interpret the metrics for resilience from a network governance angle, and complement the interpretations with social perceptions from qualitative interviews and workshop discussions.


Additional SNA snowball sampling and qualitative personal expert interviews are done to validate and evaluate the initial SNA results in both sites.

The case studies are compared to identify contextual aspects, especially cultural, and socio-graphic aspects of internationalization, and how these relate to more quantitative degrees of centrality.

Workshops for resilience scenario building and elaboration of socio-ecological network effects finish this research in the case study regions.

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