Learning from Experiences in Adaptive Action Research: a Critical Comparison of two Case Studies Applying Participatory Scenario Development and Modelling Approaches
This paper contributes to the emerging debate on participatory modelling at the core of adap- tive action research. We compare and reflect upon lessons learned from two projects in very different bio-physical and socio-economic contexts, the UK and Nicaragua, and outline a shared theoretical and methodological framework to assist researchers and local stakeholders to jointly assess, monitor and adapt to climatic and other changes. We discuss opportunities and obstacles, specifically: (1) incorporating uncertainty and surprises; (2) combining epis- temologies; (3) dealing with representativeness and power dynamics; (4) creating opportuni- ties for improving stakeholders’ agency; and (5) facilitating dialogue and negotiation by using models as heuristics. Our analysis emphasizes the importance of dealing with unavoid- able trade-offs when engaging in participatory and interdisciplinary research in complex and uncertain decision-making contexts. The participatory modelling experiences show that stake- holders’ involvement throughout the process, epistemological plurality, flexibility and sensitiv- ity to context-dependent socio-cultural processes need to be considered by researchers who wish to enhance the adaptive capacity of the communities they work with.
Ravera Federica et al. Learning from Experiences in Adaptive Action Research: a Critical Comparison of two Case Studies Applying Participatory Scenario Development and Modelling Approaches. Environmental Policy and Governance 2011; 21 (6): 433-453.