How Do You Find Out What Really Matters for Public Acceptance—The Case of Swine Production Sites in Rural Communities
Nine rural communities in Northeast-Germany in which an investor had proposed to build a large swine production site were analysed in order to detect the factors influencing the acceptance of individuals and the decision of the respective community councils. Quantitative and qualitative methods were applied independently. By carrying out a survey among all locals and subsequent regression and cluster analysis, it was detected that positive arguments (jobs, added value) influence attitudes more than counterarguments (environment, smell), and that 50% of the population were against the investment, 30% indifferent and 20% in favour. The acceptance of the community was negatively correlated with degree of information of the population. In-depth interviews with the mayors involved revealed other critical factors for acceptance: Popularity of the investor and the responsible administrative persons, experience from animal production from the German Democratic Republic and the size of the planned investment. As a conclusion it is suggested that quantitative research is more suitable for determining factors that are not conscious for participants in the decision process while by qualitative research one gets closer to factors that consciously move peoples' minds.
quantitative and qualitative research; public acceptance; pig production; rural development