Friday, December 25, 2009

A participant-structured approach for assessing and addressing the framing of uncertainties

Another article by Nicola Isendahl has just been published on-line in the Journal of Environmental Management. I have been co-supervising her PhD project together with Claudia Pahl-Wostl at the University of Osnabrück. If all goes well, Nicola would be able to graduate in the spring of 2010!

The starting point for Nicola's project is that in order to improve the way uncertainties in water management are dealt with, we need to understand how water managers frame uncertainties. In this paper we present an approach where water managers developed criteria of relevance to understand and address uncertainties. The empirical research took place in the Doñana region of the Guadalquivir estuary in southern Spain making use of the method of card sorting. Through the card sorting exercise a broad range of criteria to make sense of and describe uncertainties was produced by different subgroups, which were then merged into a shared list of criteria. That way framing differences were made explicit and communication on uncertainty and on framing differences was enhanced. In that, the present approach constitutes a first step to enabling reframing and overcoming framing differences, which are important features on the way to robust decision-making. Moreover, the elaborated criteria build a basis for the development of more structured approaches to deal with uncertainties in water management practice.

The article can be found here or downloaded here.