2.3 Response Design: Overview

Following the lead of Stevens and Urquhart (2000), we call a third piece of the monitoring design puzzle the response design.  Once you’ve decided your field sampling locations and when you will sample, you need to determine exactly what, how, where and when you will measure your attributes of interest.  Your response design includes a finer scale spatial and temporal description than that covered by the spatial and temporal design components.  For example, you might be able to measure your attribute (such as water temperature) at a point in a stream network.   However, for other attributes, such as characterizing the density of redds, or the amount of wood, or the density of pools, it will be necessary to make measurements along the reach.  To calculate your metric (such as spawner abundance using an area under the curve method), you will need to sample at multiple times during the spawning season.  Documenting when and how you will collect your data at a site is part of your response design.   Descriptions of any laboratory procedures are also part of your response design.  Finally, response designs include the methods used to calculate your site metric (e.g., the analytical procedure to estimate abundance using an area-under-the-curve method). Several such procedures are described later in Step 5 of this web site. Field operations manuals and quality control procedures are examples of kinds of documents that describe some parts of a response design.  The following is a list of what should be covered in a description of your response design:

  • What will be measured or collected in the field.
  • How will it be measured or collected.
  • Where the measurements be made within each of the sites comprising the sample.
  • How sampling will be distributed within the temporal unit (e.g. year).
  • Laboratory methods.
  • Analytical procedures to calculate the metrics from the measurements.