A new technique for testing distribution of knowledge and to estimate sampling sufficiency in ethnobiology studies
BACKGROUND:We propose a new quantitative measure that enables the researcher to make decisions and test hypotheses about the distribution of knowledge in a community and estimate the richness and sharing of information among informants. In our study, this measure has two levels of analysis: intracultural and intrafamily.METHODS:Using data collected in northeastern Brazil, we evaluated how these new estimators of richness and sharing behave for different categories of use.RESULTS:We observed trends in the distribution of the characteristics of informants. We were also able to evaluate how outliers interfere with these analyses and how other analyses may be conducted using these indices, such as determining the distance between the knowledge of a community and that of experts, as well as exhibiting the importance of these individuals' communal information of biological resources. One of the primary applications of these indices is to supply the researcher with an objective tool to evaluate the scope and behavior of the collected data.