Focus groups will explore how pandemic may be shifting attitudes to environment

EcoAnalytics embarked on several months of intensive research to explore how Canadian attitudes about transformative actions in defence of the environment may be shifting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April, after a competitive RFP, EcoAnalytics hired Environics to undertake two rounds of focus groups (June and September 2020) exploring these topics. The groups will include a diversity of Canadians, including urban and rural participants of different ages, incomes, and ethnic backgrounds. Special attention will also be given to women, youth (18-34) and francophone Quebecers.

EcoAnalytics partners want to engage Canadians effectively in supporting an economic recovery that advances conservation and environmental outcomes, particularly climate action. To that end, they are seeking insights into how Canadians’ views have or have not changed because of the pandemic; and how changes may, or may not facilitate progress in environmental conservation and climate action.

Topics would include the perceived role of government (including trust), perceptions of social resiliency, preparedness and self-sufficiency, strategic frames testing (likely two or three strategic frames or narratives to explore, together with most appropriate messengers), and beliefs about public investment and recovery priorities. 

Partners will compare the responses of groups in the two rounds to understand which pandemic-driven changes are temporary or more permanent and identify opportunities for more transformative change that drives deeper environmental gains.

The research, which will likely be completed in October, is being led by Sarah Roberton and Derek Leebosh of Environics, with additional guidance from EcoAnalytics Research Partners Erick Lachapelle and Louise Comeau.

The decision to embark on this qualitative research came after several weeks of deliberation among EcoAnalytics Partners, with guidance from Research Partners Erick Lachapelle and Louise Comeau.  This is the first time EcoAnalytics has used qualitative research tools.

In its first four years, 2016 – 2020, EcoAnalytics conducted two major quantitative surveys each year: the Climate of Change Survey in the fall, on beliefs about global warming, and the Panoramic Survey in the spring, on a broad range of topics of interest to Partners. In 2019, EcoAnalytics changed this, conducting two large national surveys in the spring, to shed light on the values and behaviour of supporters (and non-supporters) of Canadian environmental groups.

To date EcoAnalytics has conducted 7 major national surveys and shared 17 analytical reports and 12 webinars with its Partners and Subscribers.

To access the results, and other survey data, become a Partner