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Title: The road not taken? : a longitudinal and interdisciplinary examination of energy behaviours
Author: Al-Chalabi, Malek
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 3958
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Albert Einstein believed “we can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” This quote, in my opinion, is particularly relevant for the academic literature that examines individual energy use. I believe that we have historically taken a categorized approach towards looking at individual energy use. Instead of thinking about multiple behaviours widely, we tend to look at individual behaviours deeply - focusing on electricity use, gas use, or travel behaviour in isolation instead of examining them simultaneously. For this reason, this thesis explores if and how an intervention aimed at one energy behaviour may influence or have untargeted effects on other energy behaviours across household energy use and personal travel behaviour from an interdisciplinary research perspective. The relevant literature is reviewed and an innovative methodology is devised to answer the research questions. By examining quantitative and qualitative data, the thesis evaluates the targeted and untargeted effects of an electricity display study across household energy and travel behaviours, assesses the influence that social and technical experiences with the display may have on behaviour, and explores how individuals conceptualize their energy usage to better understand untargeted effects. The findings indicate that 1) in a sample of 19 participants, 15 had untargeted effects in gas and 4 had untargeted effects in gas and travel, 2) the combined effect of social and technical experiences with the display can explain why an untargeted effect did or did not take place, and 3) participants perceived household energy as a resource but perceived travel as a means to move from one place to another. These findings lead to the development of a novel contribution of this research, known as the tangential effect. Contributions to theory and policy, an assessment of the methodological approach, and future research areas are given.
Supervisor: Banister, David; Brand, Christian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geography ; Energy ; Environment ; Behaviour Change