Geographic Breakdown of Survey Respondents to Date 10

Just a little update – and breakdown – on the survey responses so far. A lot of folks have been curious about when the results of this survey will be made available – which is great. I want to reiterate that we are still in the first few days of a 2 year project. I’m excited to develop and share preliminary analyses well before the end of the project, but there are more than a couple steps in between now and then. The survey itself will be up and running for another several months. Hint, hint.

That being said, here is a snapshot of a the first week of the survey. I’m sharing a geographic breakdown right now, just because it’s too soon to dive into more in-depth analysis. I will soon be sharing some other early results of systematic literature analysis – or bibliometrics – that went into my proposal dissertation – so stay tuned.

International responses constitute about 1/3 of the total so far.

And domestic US response are pretty widely distributed. 















Now, one of the interesting things about the distribution of responses – especially domestic responses – in this first week, is how it appears to be shaped by the strength and distribution of my own social networks. Statistically speaking, it’s not at all a truly random sample. That’s ok – especially since that’s how it has to be! We actually don’t know enough about the permaculture population-at-large (i.e. we know nothing) to even generate a scheme for truly random sampling. Nor, as it happens, do I have a budget for that. Ahem. It may happen someday, but not in this project…

And if your a Facebooker, and you haven’t connected to the Liberation Ecology page on Facebook, please do! And invite your permaculture friends and colleagues to invite their friends and colleagues to take the survey. Thanks, again, to everyone for their participation.

10 thoughts on “Geographic Breakdown of Survey Respondents to Date

  • Wendi Bellows

    Awesome, Rafter! I am curious about what theories you used to develop your survey?


    • Rafter Post author

      Hey Wendi – thanks! Good question. In some ways, the survey is not strongly theoretically driven, as I’m attempting such a broad characterization of something we don’t have much data about. I think that looking for relationships in the results will drive some theory-making later. That being said, there are some frameworks (e.g. sustainable livelihoods) and research questions that are shaping the questionnaire – namely, how does the distribution of livelihood assets (and the impact of participation on those assets) change in relation to modes of participation, demographics, length of time involved, etc. And vice versa? It might be clear from the survey that I’m especially interested in social networks & social capital.

  • Juliann Bertone

    Hi Rafter!

    I took the survey and was totally impressed. I am working on my master’s thesis in Hawaii, based on permaculture, and was wondering where some of your preliminary background research come from. I have not been able to find solid literature on permaculture that contains studies on best practices, critical success factors, evaluative studies on permaculture vs. other types of gardening, farming. I also was thinking of possibly finding some comparisons of different frameworks of which permaculture is the point of interest. Do you have any recommendations? Any and all help is extremely appreciated!

    I am also a graduate of Ithaca College and am happy to hear that the PDC courses up in the finger lakes are going strong! Congrats!


    • Rafter Post author

      Hi Juliann! Thanks for your participation and your encouragement. Grad school and research have tendency to be a little isolating at times, and it really helps to hear from folks doing similar work. So – right on.

      Ah, the background research on permaculture. Short answer: there is none. Longer answer: There is virtually no peer-reviewed research in the major scientific databases that treats permaculture as more than a sidebar. It’s remarkable, but it’s true.There is more emerging all the time. I will actually be posting some of my analysis of permaculture publications over time in the next week of two. Actually, maybe give me three weeks, as I’m teaching the FLPCI PDC starting this Saturday! (Still an open slot! Come on down!)

      For a just-slightly-longer discussion of the relationship between permaculture and scientific research, you can check out my post that just went up on Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.

      And keep in touch!

      • Wendi Bellows

        Rafter, If you have not read it yet, I would highly recommend Permaculture Pioneers. This book tells the autobiographical accounts of Permaculture’s early adopters in Australia. It had a wealth of information about the history of the movement and asks the following questions of the early adopters: who the earlier adopters are and how they are currently engaging with permaculture, how they first became interested in permaculture and why – the influences on them at that time, and the place of permaculture in the context of their broader life today; Their personal journey with permaculture and how their experiences have transformed/shaped the way they live and act in the world; The ‘inner’ personal work they have had to do, their sources of inspiration during difficult times, and what keeps them going; What challenges, constraints and barriers have had to be negotiated and may still exist; What they think the next 10-20 years might hold for you, your community, the world…… and the role permaculture might play in this.

  • Chris Warburton Brown

    Hi Rafter,

    I am the Research Coordinator for the UK Permaculture Research Association. looks like we have a lot to talk about; we are currently conducting an International Permaculture Research Survey which has had 250 responses from 50 countries, we are developing a wiki of permauculture knowledge, I am a compiling an on-line review of recent permaculture related research, and I am working to create a network of UK permaculture researchers. I would be very interested in hearing more about your PhD and your research networks in the states. A key part of my job is building up the scientific evidence base for permaculture but it is a slow task! So drop me a line anytime, perhaps we could skype if you have the time,

    Best wishes,


  • Tamara Griffiths

    Hi Rafter, thanks for such a
    great survey!

    I am worried my survey didn’t register – it took me straight to the exit page… I’m sure you know that its all fine but can you just have a check for me?

    Caroline Smith did a PhD on outcomes of PDCs at Melbourne Uni – if you can’t find it let me know and I’ll send you her email.


    • Rafter Post author

      Hi Tamara,

      You’re welcome, and thanks!

      I can’t tell which survey is yours – but if you tell me some things about your answers (i.e. location), and the date, I can see if it went through. Email me at rafter [at] liberationecology [dot] org.

      I have come across several articles by Caroline (as well as her book), but if you have a copy of her dissertation to share I would love to have a copy. Thanks again!

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