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Title: Environmental behaviour change : a role for household diaries
Author: Reid, Louise
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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The relationship between expressed attitudes and actual behaviour in the context of sustainable development is complex (Staats et al., 2004) and difficult to apply in a policy-relevant manner (Aall and Norland 2005). The household, however, represents a key ‘unit' for understanding the environmental impact of consumption patterns and for instigating educational programmes and policy designed to change consumer behaviour (Simmons and Chambers 1998). Despite this recognition, the majority of academic research relies heavily on individualistic social-psychological approaches, which do not accurately capture behaviours that may arise by virtue of the characteristics of the household (Gronhoj 2006). Recent research indicates that the use of a household diary can be beneficial in helping to capture household environmental activities, in educating householders about their impact, and in identifying major ‘behavioural turning points', where householders may focus efforts to reduce their environmental impact (Hunter et al., 2006). In other words, the use of a diary by householders is a potentially powerful tool in encouraging and facilitating desired behavioural change. The aim of this thesis was to assess the innovative use of a household diary approach as a means of framing and collecting household environmental data, and, critically, as an educational vehicle for bringing about behavioural change, a key target of Defra and Scottish Government policy. In much the same way as we learn a language by writing it down, or as students, learn a topic by studying it, the household diary, which facilitates the recording and writing down of behaviours, presented a powerful avenue for learning about pro-environmental behaviours undertaken within households. The diary encouraged householders to question the unquestioned, invoking double-loop-learning or discursive consciousness. Developing these findings in the context of theories of action or change, it was clear that the potential to empower householders by allowing them to better grasp their environmental impact and as a consequence, recoup positive financial savings and health benefits, was great.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) ; Scottish Government
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sustainable development ; Households