Overcoming barriers to community land-based activities: gudiance

Guidance on good practice in overcoming barriers to community land-based activities.

3. Research Approach

The findings reported are based on data collected through semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 20 key informants (henceforth project 'interviewees') who represent the private landowning sector in Scotland. The interviewees were selected to cover a range of private landowner types and included those who act as intermediaries and facilitators during such resolution processes. The project therefore gained from their professional experience (rather than the personal involvement of landowners directly).Interviewees were also recruited in order to cover a range of landholding size and land use types, invited from the professional networks of the project team, according to previous knowledge, and in conjunction with Scottish Government and stakeholder recommendations. Interviewees were further identified according to the regional and urban-rural differences noted by Roberts and McKee (2015). Final interviewee lists were agreed with the Scottish Government [2] .

Interviewees included representatives of Scottish Land & Estates ( SLE) and the National Farmers Union Scotland ( NFUS), representatives of the forestry sector, including those with community development responsibilities, representatives of conservation landowners, representatives of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors ( RICS), as well as rural and urban land surveyors ( e.g. employed within traditional land agency companies), planners and representatives from the Valuation Office Agency ( VOA).

In advance of the interview, a copy of the 'barriers framework' developed in Roberts and McKee, (2015) was sent to interviewees. During the interview, the interviewees were asked to describe their experience of overcoming barriers to community land-based activities, including the types of strategies adopted, and their associated benefits and challenges. This provided detail on the perceived 'success factors', resource implications and the role of policy in overcoming barriers to community land based activities from the perspective of the private landowning sector. The interviewees were also asked to provide their views on 'good practice' by communities and landowners in overcoming barriers to community land-based activities, in addition to their perceptions of whether type of landowner or geography ( i.e. whether urban or rural) influences how barriers may be overcome. The majority of interviews were conducted over the phone (two were undertaken face-to-face) and typically lasted between 50 and 90 minutes.

Interviews were recorded by digital Dictaphone, with permission from the participants. A thematic analysis of the qualitative data gathered from the interviews was undertaken using Nvivo software.

Sections 4 - 7 describe overarching findings from the interviews, presenting a schematic for supporting good practice in overcoming barriers to community land-based activities (Figure 2). Section 4 begins with details of the case studies described by the interviewees and highlights the types of resolution strategies adopted. Section 5 presents the range of 'success factors' identified by the interviewees and the challenges facing private landowners are outlined in Section 6. Principles for 'good practice' for both communities and landowners as suggested by the interviewees are detailed in Section 7, with the report's findings concluding with views on the role for policy in this area.


Email: Graeme Beale, socialresearch@gov.scot

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