Modelers' views on the roles of models in watershed management (project report)
Webler, T., Tuler, S., Tanguay, J., and Dietz, T. 2001. Modelers’ views on the role of models in watershed management. SERI Report 01-001. Greenfield, MA: Social and Environmental Research Institute

Publication Abstract

In interviews with sixteen modelers and outreach professionals in southern New England, we explored themes related to ecological models and their application in local decision making. In specific, we investigated the use of nitrogen loading models in local town-based planning board decisions. A number of themes arose from a qualitative analysis of the interview transcript data. People differentiated between two general types of models: those intended to advance science and those used to advance policy making. We focused our interviews on policy models and asked our interviewees what were the features of good policy models. People remarked that models should be appropriate to the scale of the decision, they should be cautious about invoking powerful metaphors, they needed to be honest about their ability to make predictions, and that there was a danger that models might promote technocracy if they are perceived as being beyond reproach.

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