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Weather and Society Watch
From the Director

Take Note of the New Weather and Society Watch Methods Section
by Jeffrey K. Lazo*

I will be brief this quarter. Rather than pontificate here, I’ve written the first contribution for a new section for Weather and Society Watch called “Methods.”

In an effort to make WSW more interesting, useful, or perhaps just different, we’ve decided to include a new section focusing on methods in the arts and practices of the social sciences. These are not intended to be theoretical discussions or even very broad—in fact the more focused and the more practical, the better! To this end I’ve written a piece on the use of monetary incentives in mail surveys as an approach to increasing response rates. It’s a  pretty specialized topic that I won’t even claim to be an expert about—but  something of concern in the research I do using surveys.

Why include this new section? The purpose is to expose readers to the methods we social scientists use in our research to:

  • give others ideas how to improve their methods
  • inform non-social scientists about some of the tools in our toolboxes
  • generate discussions about best practices.

I sincerely encourage you to spend a couple of hours thinking about some tool, trick, or approach you use in your research and then contact Emily Laidlaw at to write a piece for WSW. We may include more than one Methods article in any given issue should we get good contributions. I also encourage you to respond to and add to any prior Methods pieces that have been contributed.

So … what is your Method?

*Jeffrey K. Lazo ( is the director of the Societal Impacts Program (SIP) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

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