Acting out our dam future: science-based role-play simulations as mechanisms for learning and natural resource planning
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Science often does not make its way into decisions, leading to a problematic gap between scientific and societal progress. To tackle this issue, our research tests a novel science-based negotiation simulation that integrates a role-play simulation (RPS) with a system dynamics model (SDM). In RPSs, stakeholders engage in a mock decision-making process (reflecting real-life institutional arrangements and scientific knowledge) for a set period. System dynamics models (SDMs) are visual tools used to simulate the interactions and feedback within a complex system. We test the integration of the two approaches with stakeholders in New England via a series of two consecutive workshops across two states. The workshops engage stakeholders from diverse groups to foster dialogue, learning, and creativity. Participants discuss a hypothetical (yet realistic) decision scenario to consider scientific information and explore dam management options that meet one another's interests. In the first workshop, participants contributed to the design of the fictionalized dam decision scenario and the SDM. In the second workshop, participants assumed another representative's role and discussed dam management options for the fictionalized scenario. This presentation will briefly report on the practical design of this science-based role-play, and particularly emphasize preliminary results of workshop outcomes, which were evaluated using debriefing sessions, surveys, concept mapping exercises, and interviews. Results will determine the extent to which this new knowledge production process leads to learning, use of science, and more collaborative decision-making about dams in New England and beyond.
Grant/Award Number and Agency
Support for this project is provided by the National Science Foundation’s Research Infrastructure Improvement Program NSF #IIA-1539071. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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