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Strategies for communicating systems models

Hall, Damon M., Lazarus, Eli Dalton and Swannack, Todd M. 2014. Strategies for communicating systems models. Environmental Modelling & Software 55 , pp. 70-76. 10.1016/j.envsoft.2014.01.007

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Sustainable environmental policies are rooted in knowledge and assumptions that decision-making authorities hold regarding specific social–ecological settings. These decision makers are increasingly informed by systems models. Diverse audiences for environmental science and sustainability policies magnify the importance of clear model communication. This essay offers a summary of best communication practices for situations in which bridging modelers' and non-modelers' conceptions of a given system—their respective mental models—is a principal challenge. Synthesizing social research from technical communication, educational psychology, and science communication disciplines, we discuss common areas of confusion in comprehending and explaining complex information, and present strategies model developers can use to ensure their model presentations are understandable and meaningful to audiences. We argue that accessible and socially adoptable explanations benefit from modelers listening to target audiences and anticipating how and why audiences may fail to understand aspects of a model.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Uncontrolled Keywords: Communication; Cultural models; Mental models; Policy; Stakeholders; Sustainability science
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1364-8152
Date of Acceptance: 2 January 2014
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2019 15:15

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