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Additional Resources

Other Science Collaborative Resources

Collective Advice for Advancing the Success of Collaborative Research (PDF). This report summarizes findings from a workshop involving Science Collaborative project teams.

Conceptualizing and Designing Collaborative Science Projects. Consisting of a webinar summary report and video, this resource includes panelist advice and best practices.

FAST: Expert Panel Process for Decision Making. This guide, developed by Credit for Going Green, details a four-step process for using an expert panel to generate science-based recommendations for a natural resource issue.

Related frameworks and methodologies

Many theories, terms, and methodologies may be applied or drawn upon for conducting collaborative science projects. The table below describes some of the most widely used approaches that have some overlap with the Collaborative Science principles presented in this guide, organized by the level of agreement required among collaborators. The approaches in the table are not meant to be used alone, but in combination with Collaborative Science principles. To go deeper, consider searching the web or the social science literature to learn more about these complementary approaches.

Frameworks that can support collaborative science when combined with core principles

Joint Fact Finding

Joint fact finding is a well-structured process for bringing technical information (existing or new) to bear on a specific management or policy decision. This approach is designed to produce a single approved document that presents a clear consensus regarding a policy or decision. Consensus can be defined in various ways, from “unanimous ” to 80 percent agreement, or even other percentages.

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Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative inquiry elicits participants ’ knowledge and priorities by encouraging them to envision the world they want rather than focusing on problems. The process is explicitly focused on developing shared visions of the future by using past successes to guide future choices.

Structured Decision Making

Structured decision making is an organized approach to developing objectives — often in cases where parties have very different aims — and to evaluating creative alternative ways to accomplish these objectives. The process is very prescriptive, with clear steps. This approach is geared toward helping groups make decisions in the context of technical uncertainty and controversial trade-offs. The final phase often involves making a decision, which would require some level of agreement.

Mediated Modeling

Mediated modeling, also called participatory modeling, involves researchers creating models with stakeholders instead of for stakeholders. In mediated modeling, stakeholders and scientists work together to create first conceptual and then simulation models of the environmental system in question. Participants then construct an action plan, based on the models, to address problems and opportunities. Also distinctive is its reliance on technical tools and simulation models. The process usually requires a common understanding of the problem, as well as an eventual action plan that is built in response to the models.

Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is a decision-making approach that starts when a diverse group of stakeholders generates plausible futures. The stakeholders then use those scenarios to investigate how different present-day decisions could affect the future. Since the process allows for a range of futures and a range of decisions, only a medium amount of agreement is sought or needed in this process.

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Integrated Assessments

Integrated assessments focus on a specific, challenging management or policy question. Project activities generally employ existing data and information and do not involve extensive fieldwork or experimentation. The approach is most useful for situations in which considerable information exists but it must be synthesized before people can effectively evaluate options for addressing the focal issue. The process is meant to develop a set of alternatives rather than decide on one; therefore, a medium level of agreement is required or attained.

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Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning provides a toolkit of facilitation and communication techniques designed to clarify people ’s views on a particular issue and how it might be improved. Collaborative learning stresses learning and understanding of different perspectives more than decision-making perspectives. Rather than trying to achieve consensus, the goal is to help people understand an issue. Therefore, very little agreement is required.

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