Presenter/Author Information

Brian McIntosh
R. A. F. Seaton
P. Jeffrey

Keywords

support tools, models, knowledge transfer, re-use, receptivity, time geography

Start Date

1-7-2004 12:00 AM

Description

Formal models are an established technology for research in the environmental sciences. For several years now there has been an effort to enhance the re-usability of computer models for research purposes and to transfer the perceived benefits of formal modelling to environmental planning and policymaking. These efforts have resulted in the creation of a variety of support tools including DSS and modelling frameworks. However, there are a number of issues which may pose barriers to the uptake and use of such tools. We contend that new technologies and new techniques for exploring and manipulating them have to be translated into the pre-existing knowledge of user communities before they can be effectively employed. To explore this proposition we report on research currently being undertaken to gain a better understanding of the knowledge processes that influence the response of potential users to model-based support tools in the context of policy-relevant science research. Importantly we distinguish between conceptual, model and software technology - between the approach of ‘Time Geography’, the case-study models, and Time Geographical model / database analysis software being developed. Using this separation, the impact of Time Geography is being researched as an innovation with potential to influence both problem conceptualisation and formal analysis. We propose that taking a knowledge dynamics perspective on the use of formal models in environmental policy yields useful insights into their potential benefits and limitations. Through this perspective we seek to explore what might make a support tool ‘good to think with’.

Share

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Tools to Think With? Towards Understanding the Use and Impact of Model-Based Support Tools

Formal models are an established technology for research in the environmental sciences. For several years now there has been an effort to enhance the re-usability of computer models for research purposes and to transfer the perceived benefits of formal modelling to environmental planning and policymaking. These efforts have resulted in the creation of a variety of support tools including DSS and modelling frameworks. However, there are a number of issues which may pose barriers to the uptake and use of such tools. We contend that new technologies and new techniques for exploring and manipulating them have to be translated into the pre-existing knowledge of user communities before they can be effectively employed. To explore this proposition we report on research currently being undertaken to gain a better understanding of the knowledge processes that influence the response of potential users to model-based support tools in the context of policy-relevant science research. Importantly we distinguish between conceptual, model and software technology - between the approach of ‘Time Geography’, the case-study models, and Time Geographical model / database analysis software being developed. Using this separation, the impact of Time Geography is being researched as an innovation with potential to influence both problem conceptualisation and formal analysis. We propose that taking a knowledge dynamics perspective on the use of formal models in environmental policy yields useful insights into their potential benefits and limitations. Through this perspective we seek to explore what might make a support tool ‘good to think with’.