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Combining participatory mapping with Q-methodology to map stakeholder perceptions of complex environmental problems.

Forrester, J. and Cook, B.R. and Bracken, L.J. and Cinderby, S. and Donaldson, A. (2015) 'Combining participatory mapping with Q-methodology to map stakeholder perceptions of complex environmental problems.', Applied geography., 56 . pp. 199-208.


It is readily accepted that understanding socio-environmental challenges requires consideration of multiple stakeholder perspectives and knowledge claims. But a largely ignored question is ‘how best to analyse those competing perspectives and claims?’. This paper explores the development of one GIS-based methodology – and reports on its application – to understand and map stakeholder knowledge. We find that combining Q-methodology with participatory mapping helps to overcome a significant problem in social engagement: representing the unclear connection between what people say or do and their underlying attitudes, values or beliefs. The paper is based on a reflexive engagement with flood management and natural adaptive capacity in the Scottish-English Borderlands. The paper confirms how such topics can benefit from an appreciation of the wide range of stakeholders' positions, as well as the underlying beliefs informing those positions. Most importantly, we provide an account of our methodology, offering a template for others interested in unpacking complex socio-environmental issues.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:GIS, Flood management, Wicked problems, Mixed-methods, Participation, Q-method.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Applied Geography. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Applied Geography, 56, January 2015, 10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.11.019
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:03 February 2015
Date of first online publication:23 December 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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