Here are some answers, with accompanying images, to questions you may have about your survey report. The questions are arranged in the order they appear on your report. Some of these answers may be easier to understand than others!
The images come from a sample survey report that will likely differ from yours, though the structure of the report is the same.
Some general questions about assumptions underlying EcoTypes and the survey are found on the EcoTypes FAQ page, which may offer helpful clarification. Finally, feel free to submit a question if any issues remain unanswered.
What does GMT mean in the survey date/time?
What is my entry key and why should I remember it?
Your four- or five-digit entry key is an automatically generated random code you can use to retrieve your report at any time. Since your submitted data are fully anonymous, we cannot help you find your report if you lose this entry key!…write it down somewhere so you can remember it.
What about those social media icons on certain images?
You’ll see share icons for a variety of social media as you rollover certain images, including your EcoType. This makes it easy for you to share your EcoType or other images. (Your share post will link back to the EcoTypes home page, not your personalized report!)
This feature is under testing; please offer feedback as desired. You may notice, for instance, that important text accompanying the image is not in what you share, thus you may want to share a screen capture vs. the image alone.
Can you help me understand my EcoType image?
The sample EcoType image at right, Small is Beautiful, is based on the sample survey results in comparison to all respondents. (For some technical details on these calculations, see FAQs below.) The green, blue, and orange boxes at top represent the themes of Place, Knowledge, and Action respectively: only distinctive characteristics (i.e., theme poles) of this EcoType in comparison to other EcoTypes are displayed.
Below the image is a phrase that conveys the gist of this EcoType in words. Below this phrase are a quick and expanded summary of the EcoType’s theme characteristics, and proportion among over 2500 survey respondents between 2019–21 used in the analysis.
Please explain what you mean by how close I am to my EcoType.
We can explain this to you!…but it takes some statistics. Ready? You were assigned to your EcoType based on your Place, Knowledge, and Action scores. This essentially defines a centroid for you in this three-dimensional space (the themes are orthogonal to each other, given how they were determined via factor analysis).
(One advanced statistical note: your theme scores displayed in the Themes section of your report are raw weighted averages of contributing axes, whereas your EcoType is assigned based on standardized theme scores calculated with weighted averages of all axes, which more closely resembles how the EcoTypes were originally derived from standardized, orthogonal theme scores of all participants. So, you can’t determine your centroid simply via the theme scores you’ll see below.)
The closest EcoType centroid—determined by k-means clustering of the roughly 2500 respondents upon which this analysis is based—to your centroid is your EcoType. And the distance between the two suggests how close you are to the EcoType—essentially, how much your Place, Knowledge, and Action characteristics resemble the average characteristics of this EcoType.
If you view the dynamic graph of these 2500+ data points as summarized via five EcoTypes, your centroid would be somewhere in the cloud of your calculated EcoType: close to the middle of the cloud if you are close to your EcoType, and toward the periphery if you are not.
Based on the statistical distributions of respondents, we can tell you whether your centroid is more or less close to your EcoType. Here is an interpretation of the words you’ll see on your report: “somewhat more close” is smaller than the median distance of all respondents to their assigned EcoTypes, and “somewhat less close” is bigger than this median distance, while “much more” or “much less” close is relative to the bottom/top 25th percentile of the respondent distribution.
Closeness is thus a statistical way to suggest how well you match your EcoType.
I don’t think my assigned EcoType fits me very well.
The answer above gives statistics behind how close you are to the EcoType you were assigned. In some cases, you may be “much less close” to your EcoType than were other respondents. In these cases, your survey responses were unique relative to the over 2500 respondents used to calculate your EcoType. The five EcoTypes represent the most common patterns of theme scores among these respondents…but none may fit you!
This is relatively rare: there really do seem to be shared patterns among us, at least among the many student respondents who participated in our EcoTypes survey from 2019–21. The clue to the above is the language of how close you are to your EcoType: if indeed your language says “much less close,” then indeed your EcoType doesn’t fit you very well.
You may wonder: isn’t everyone unique? Well, yes. But our environmental ideas are broadly shared, like language and other aspects of culture. Each of the five EcoTypes is well grounded in common ways people make sense of Place, Knowledge, and Action. The forthcoming book will explore this in more detail, but you can too: just listen to environmental discourse in the news or social media, and you’ll often hear one of the five EcoTypes resonating in how we collectively approach environmental issues.
Can you help me understand the EcoTypes comparison chart?
You learned above how your EcoType was assigned, based on the proximity of your theme centroid to those of the five EcoTypes. This also suggests how close you are to your assigned EcoType.
But how close are you to all five EcoTypes? Maybe you intuitively feel close or distant relative to other Ecotypes.
There is an easy way to display this, shown in the sample chart, by taking the distance between you and each EcoType, and dividing them all by the distance to your assigned EcoType, to result in a ratio. Your assigned EcoType is, then, a ratio of 1; another EcoType with, say, a score of 2 is twice as far away from your theme scores as your assigned EcoType.
In the sample chart, none of the other EcoTypes is close to the sample survey data. Science for Humanity is the closest, but it’s more than twice as far as Small is Beautiful. Ecospirituality is the farthest away.
Can you help me understand my theme images?
All three theme images (Place, Knowledge, Action) are basically the same, but they display different values based on your survey data. The image at right, derived from sample data, provides the Place score and compares it visually with the mean overall Place score for all respondents.
As you remember, each theme has two poles. Scores that tend toward the left pole are negative; those that tend toward the right pole are positive. The white dot gives an approximation of your score along this left pole to right pole spectrum. (It’s not exact, as mentioned in the image; your exact score is at lower left.)
Your score was calculated as the weighted average of all contributing axis scores, where axes and weighting were determined by factor analysis of all respondents. This Place theme score, for instance, is a weighted average of the Aesthetics, Ecosystems, Ethics, and Nature scores. The sample data score of -0.01 is pretty close to zero, suggesting a position midway between nonhuman and human Place.
The black bar displays the mean score of all 2500+ respondents included in the EcoTypes analysis. By comparing the white dot and black bar (or, more precisely, by reading at lower left of this image), you’ll know how your theme score compares against those of other respondents.
The exact wording of this comparison is based on the theme score distribution of all respondents, specifically, its percentiles. If your score falls between the 40-60th percentile, it is “about the same”; if between the 60th-80th percentile, “higher”; if over the 80th percentile, “much higher.” The same is true on the other end: if between the 20th-40th percentile, it is “lower”; if under the 20th percentile, “much lower.”
In the case of these sample data, the theme score is “higher” than other respondents, suggesting that most respondents leaned farther toward the left (nonhuman Place) pole than did these data.
What does my polarity score mean?
Your polarity score is the average (expressed from 0 to 1) of all your axis statement scores. When you responded to each axis statement, “strongly” disagree or agree was scored as +/- 1.00; “agree” or “disagree” was scored as +/- 0.50; and “neutral/mixed” was scored as 0.00. Your polarity score is the average of all 30 axis statement scores, where all are expressed as positive numbers.
As a rule of thumb (and as noted on the report), axis scores greater than 0.5 mean that you tended to “strongly” agree or disagree with the axis statements, and thus displayed strong opinions. In the sample survey above, the polarity score is 0.6, suggesting strong opinions.
It’s important to note that high (or low) polarity scores are not necessarily a good or bad thing! There could be all sorts of reasons why you might display high or low polarity. This statistic, however, gives you a potential point of comparison with others, and with yourself over time. You may find, for instance, that your polarity score increases over time as your opinions on environmental ideas settle; you may, conversely, find that your polarity score decreases over time as you appreciate the full range of opinion on each axis as expressed via its poles.
What do my fifteen axis scores mean?
As summarized immediately above, your responses to axis statements were recoded between -1.00 (left pole) and +1.00 (right pole). If you, for instance, strongly agreed with a statement that represents the left pole of an axis, your score for that statement would be -1.00.
You may remember that your survey consisted of 30 statements, or two statements per axis. (These were statistically derived over time from the original eight statements per axis, to offer everyone a quicker survey experience.) The average of the two scores for each axis is your axis score, as shown by the white dot on a gradation, which itself is colored green, blue, or orange to suggest how each axis contributes the Place, Knowledge, and Action themes; see here for further information on these themes.
In this sample survey image, the average Aesthetics score leans a little toward the crafted pole. You’ll see fifteen of these axis scores on your report, from Aesthetics to Time. You can click the link on each for more information about that axis.
These axis scores are interesting points of departure for comparing yourself with others, but ultimately it’s important to try and stretch toward how these axes contribute toward theme scores, and ultimately your EcoType, all derived from multiple axis scores.