Doing things differently: Re-evaluating our role in participatory research


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Week 2 of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Sustainability Studies Network Research Seminar Series

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  • So, with those observations in mind, my research focuses on the process of developing indicators for upland estate management in Scotland. To give a brief background, in Scotland, upland areas have a unique pattern of ownership, with much of the land divided into ‘estates’ owned by private individuals and organisations, public bodies, and non-governmental and community organisations. Upland areas in the UK are currently experiencing many competing environmental, economic and socio-cultural pressures, therefore there is some uncertainty surrounding the future of upland management in the context of external drivers such as reformed agricultural policy and climate change . Similarly, little academic or policy attention has been devoted to translating sustainability principles into practical management strategies for estates and this is arguably due to the wide range of estate ownership types, management objectives and the differing values and opinions of numerous external stakeholders.
  • Doing things differently: Re-evaluating our role in participatory research

    1. 1. Re-evaluating our role in participatory research Dr Jayne Glass, Postgraduate Research Associate Sustainability Studies seminar series 25 th November 2011 [email_address] DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY:
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>How can we tackle ‘wicked’ problems? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase transdisciplinary capacity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitate knowledge integration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhance potential for social learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Road map for a powerful research ‘space’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reading the map: using the Delphi technique </li></ul><ul><li>The method in action </li></ul><ul><li>An intermediary role for researchers? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Before we dive in… For example, Scott (2011); Reed (2008) Participation = ?
    4. 4. Tackling ‘wicked’ problems “ a problem of interaction” (van Bueren et al. 2003)
    5. 5. Transdisciplinary research approaches Based on Mobjörk (2010); Rist et al. (2007) Research Transdisciplinary Situated in the ‘real world’ Building bridges between knowledges An overall social learning process
    6. 6. 1. Increasing transdisciplinary capacity Based on Gibbons et al. (1994) GAP: Defined ‘spaces’ for open communication <ul><li>Scientific knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Produced by communities of academic scientists </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Operates in a space autonomous from social interests and goals </li></ul></ul></ul>Mode 1 <ul><li>Heterogeneous knowledge production sites </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Close interactions between scientific, technological and industrial actors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Flexible and open forms of research </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Continuous re-evaluation and redefinition of expertise </li></ul></ul></ul>Mode 2
    7. 7. 2. The knowledge integration challenge Pohl et al (2010): Researchers’ roles in knowledge co-production GAP: Action-oriented research in the agora? Academic knowledge Non-academic knowledge AGORA Agora Academic knowledge Non-academic knowledge BO Bridging organisation Co-production of knowledge
    8. 8. 3. Potential for social learning Reed et al (2010): What is social learning? DEMONSTRATE THAT: Some depth of conceptual change or change in understanding has take place in the individuals involved A degree of breadth for this change to go beyond individuals to become situated within wider social groups Occurred through social interactions and processes between actors within a social network GAP: Create better atmospheres for communication and deliberation SOCIAL LEARNING
    9. 9. A conceptual road map Glass (2011): PhD thesis Flexible research space, within which it is possible to facilitate iterative deliberation, learning and the collaborative production of knowledge A: Increase transdisciplinary capacity A1: Address ‘real world’ problems collaboratively and acknowledge the local context A2: Develop practical outcomes that bring about a degree of change B: Facilitate knowledge integration B1: Integrate multiple perspectives B2: Recognise and understand values C: Enhance potential for social learning C1: Create an ‘atmosphere of trust’ C2: Rethink assumptions and jointly solve problems A collaborative learning process which produces mutually endorsed, practical outcomes for positive change Iterative deliberation
    10. 10. Reading the map: using the Delphi technique
    11. 11. The Delphi technique Conventional Delphi: driving towards consensus <ul><li>Decision-making tool or ‘what should be’ </li></ul><ul><li>Series of written questionnaires </li></ul><ul><li>Participants driven towards consensus through feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Often quantitative convergence methods </li></ul>See, for example: Kuo et al. (2005); Tolley et al. (2001)
    12. 12. The Delphi technique Turoff (2002): The Policy Delphi Policy Delphi: exploring complexity <ul><li>Dependable group opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Exploring complex policy issues </li></ul><ul><li>Less focus on consensus </li></ul><ul><li>More qualitative approach </li></ul>1. Formulating the issues 2. Exposing the options 3. Determining initial positions on the issues 4. Exploring the reasons for disagreements 5. Evaluating the underlying reasons 6. Re-evaluation
    13. 13. The Delphi technique Glass et al. (submitted) Methodological challenges <ul><li>High drop-out rates </li></ul><ul><li>Selection of panel members (expert bias) </li></ul><ul><li>Panel size </li></ul><ul><li>Constraining panellists’ creativity </li></ul>Q: How can we use the road map to address these issues and refine the method?
    14. 14. Upland estate management in Scotland ?
    15. 15. A mixed panel of interests 19 panellists Estate management professionals Academics & consultants NGOs & other interest groups Government agencies & other bodies Representative bodies Land Agents Landowners Estate managers LINK RICS SLE SAC Relu programme Consultants International Scottish Government DCS Sustainable Development Commission CNPA RSPB NTS JMT Moorland Forum Southern Uplands Partnership SNH SEBG
    16. 16. A deliberative process Round One: Establishing a context for sustainability Round Two: Discussing practical management strategies Round Three: Reflecting on the first draft Glass et al. (2011) Compiling and feeding back ideas Redrafting and piloting the workbook Developing second draft Developing first draft Round Four: Reflecting on the second draft
    17. 17. A practical output ‘ Getting the best from Scotland’s estates: twelve actions’ – A sustainability workbook Ecosystem thinking Broadening options Linking into social fabric Adapting management Thinking beyond the estate Sustainable estate principles [5] SUSTAINABILITY ACTIONS [12] More sustainable Less sustainable ! Enabling factors Constraining factors Identify and understand Proactive Underactive Active
    18. 18. High levels of motivation 88% response rate over three written rounds Responses received on/before deadline Responses received after the deadline Round Two 9 7 Round Three 6 11 Round Four 12 5
    19. 19. Reactions to the process “ Much more fun than the boring work I should have been doing this evening!” “ I’ve enjoyed this; I think you have the makings of an extremely valuable tool” “ A good basis [that] should be worked on in practice on real estates” “ Very stimulating for our thinking”
    20. 20. Reflecting on the map: was it useful?
    21. 21. A: Increased transdisciplinary capacity? A1: Address a real world problem collaboratively & acknowledge local context A2: Develop practical outcomes for positive change Initial scoping round in interview format: process not overly defined Move beyond conceptual discussion to produce something; high levels of motivation
    22. 22. B: Integrated knowledge? B1: Integrate multiple perspectives B2: Recognise and understand values Widen definition of an ‘expert’: include local, managerial knowledge; new knowledge and network Spend more time at outset exploring perceptions of the issue: researcher ‘reframes’ ideas and presents to group; anonymity
    23. 23. C: Enhanced social learning? C1: Create an ‘atmosphere of trust’ C2: Rethink assumptions and jointly solve problems Anonymous process; personal rapport with researcher; open dialogue and negotiation Reflexive process: enhance creative potential through feedback documents; slow development of ideas
    24. 24. A conceptual roadmap Glass (2011): PhD thesis Iterative deliberation
    25. 25. A conceptual roadmap Glass (2011): PhD thesis Can I use this roadmap to design or adapt my own methods?
    26. 26. Finally: an intermediary role for researchers? Academic knowledge Non-academic knowledge AGORA Can we position ourselves here?
    27. 27. Thank you Thank you to Micah Stanbridge for the use of his photographs [email_address] Acknowledgements The Henry Angest Foundation Project supervisors: Prof Martin Price ( UHI) Prof Alister Scott ( Birmingham City University ) Dr Charles Warren ( University of St Andrews ) The Sustainable Estates Advisory Group:
    28. 28. References I <ul><li>Glass, J.H., Scott, A.S. and Price, M.F. (2011). Developing a sustainability assessment tool for upland estates. In: S.J. Marrs, S. Foster, C. Hendrie, E.C. Mackey, and D.B.A. Thompson (eds.) The Changing Nature of Scotland . The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, pp. 425-429. </li></ul><ul><li>Glass, J.H., Scott, A.S. and Price, M.F. (submitted). The power of the process: adapting the Delphi technique for applied sustainability research. Please contact Jayne for a copy of the submitted manuscript. </li></ul><ul><li>Kenyon, W., Hill, G. and Shannon, P. (2008). Scoping the role of agriculture in sustainable flood management. Land Use Policy , 25, 351-360. </li></ul><ul><li>Kuo, N.-W., Hsiao, T.-Y. and Yu, Y.-H. (2005). A Delphi-matrix approach to SEA and its application within the tourism sector in Taiwan. Environmental Impact Assessment , 25, 259-280. </li></ul><ul><li>McCrum G., Blackstock, K., Matthews, K., Rivington, M., Miller, D. and Buchan, K. (2009). Adapting to Climate Change in Land Management: the Role of Deliberative Workshops in Enhancing Social Learning. Environmental Policy and Governance , 19, 413-426. </li></ul><ul><li>Mobjörk, M., 2010. Consulting versus Participatory Transdisciplinarity: A refined classification of transdisciplinary research. Futures, 42(8) 866-873. </li></ul><ul><li>Pohl, C., Rist, S., Zimmerman, A., Fry, P., Gurung, G.S., Schneider, F., Ifejika Speranza, C., Kiteme, B., Boillat, S., Serrano, E., Hirsch Hadorn, G. and Wiesmann, U. (2010). Researchers’ roles in knowledge co-production: experience from sustainability research in Kenya, Switzerland, Bolivia and Nepal. Science and Public Policy , 37(4), 267-281. </li></ul>
    29. 29. References II <ul><li>Reed, M.S. (2008). Stakeholder participation for environmental management: A literature review. Biological Conservation , 141, 2417-2431. </li></ul><ul><li>Reed, M.S., Evely, A.C., Cundill, G., Fazey, I., Glass, J.H., Laing, A., Newig, J., Parrish, B., Prell, C., Raymond, C. and Stringer, L.C. (2010). What is social learning? Ecology and Society , 15(4), 1. </li></ul><ul><li>Rist, S., Chidambaranathan, M., Escobar, C., Wiesmann, U. and Zimmermann, A. (2007). Moving from sustainable management to sustainable governance of natural resources: The role of social learning process in rural India, Bolivia and Mali. Journal of Rural Studies , 23(1), 23-37. </li></ul><ul><li>Scott, A.J. (2011). Focussing in on focus groups: Effective participative tools or cheap fixes for land use policy? Land Use Policy , 28(4), 684-694. </li></ul><ul><li>Tolley, R., Lumsdon, L. and Bickerstaff, K. (2001). The future of walking in Europe: a project to identify expert opinion on future walking scenarios. Transport Policy 8, 307-315. </li></ul><ul><li>Turoff, M. (2002). The Policy Delphi. In: H.A. Linstone and M. Turoff, eds. The Delphi Method: Techniques and Applications. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA. Available online from: </li></ul>