Christine Vatovec Ph.D.
Lecturer and Research Affiliate with the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
“Trying to see more of a relationship between the natural sciences and the social sciences and the qualitative and the quantitative, how do we all become one big happy family?” – Christine Vatovec
Christine’s most recent work is in the subject of studying pharmaceutical pollution in Lake Champlain. She uses a variety of mixed methods from collecting quantitative water quality samples to interviewing those prescribing prescriptions. She works with pharmacists and physicians to discuss prescribing practices as well as disposal of medications. A main method she has used is ethnographic observation of healthcare settings to try to understand places in the prescription medication system where improvements could be made to limit pollution. Christine is a big proponent of qualitative research in conjunction with quantitative research and believes that both are necessary to identify and solve problems specifically in the area of environmental pollution. In the future, she hopes to further expand her research by utilizing focus groups as a research method.
“What I was trained in thinking about, is the qualitative research sandwich. Starting with the qualitative to really try to hone down and understand the big picture and get that rich data for understanding like what’s really potentially happening here. And then the next step being survey data, more quantitative larger numbers of people to give you some insight into where the things we were seeing here at the qualitative smaller scale level are they actually happening at this larger scale, or are there things we need to tweak. Get the survey data back and then with that nextstep sandwich it in with more qualitative data to understand those results that you’re seeing.” – Christine Vatovec