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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Student Carbon Behaviours Diary study

Published: 16 October 2023

SRI members Alice Brock and Prof Simon Kemp undertook an innovative study with 112 participants recording a carbon behaviours diary over a 28 period across Fenruary and March 2023. This study is the first of its kind at this scale, with no other known studies of this size and length having been conducted.

Students from the University of Southampton Global Sustainability Challenges module recorded their carbon emission generating behaviour over 28 days, recording behaviours such as their transport use, household electricity usage and dietary choices. Participants also gave a daily score of how difficult they had found making sustainable choices and reflections on their experiences of the day. Participants also completed before and after surveys to identify changes in attitude and knowledge alongside a before and after carbon footprint calculation.

Following the diary period participants wrote reflective pieces on their experiences related to keeping the diary for 28 days and the barriers and challenges they had experienced in attempting to reduce their emissions. This mixed methods approach allows for deeper exploration of the causes for behaviour trends identified in the diary and allows researchers to understand those findings in participants own words.

Findings from this study aim to support future work in changing individual carbon emission behaviour by providing insight into the barriers and challenges experienced by the public and analysis of why certain areas of behaviour prove to be more difficult than others. This work will be submitted for publication in 2024 upon completion of analysis.


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