Tuesday 29 Sep 2015Is doing flood risk science differently really an experiment in radical scientific method?

Dr Mike Yearworth - University of Bristol

Harrison 170 14:30-15:30

This quote is taken from the title of a paper published in the Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (Lane et al., 2011). I came across the paper because I am interested in the relationship between the process of expert modelling and the wider effectiveness of the Projects that enable such modelling to take place (Yearworth & Cornell, 2014). What Surprised me was the claim to “radical Scientific method” when what was described seemed quite common in my own research tradition. The Method Lane Et al describe is apparently an example of a Problem Structuring Method (PSM), And the properties of these have been known about for some time in the Soft OR community; albeit not in a generic form for wider use (Yearworth & White, 2014). My Thesis is that using PSMs Should be the preferred route to effective intervention in these messy problems in future i.e. this is not radical but normal science. We certainly need to be discussing these methods seriously in communities of practitioners that attempt to bridge between expert modelling and community engagement. Some Pointers towards the requisite viewpoint for this bridging to take place already exist e.g. (Voinov, Seppelt, Reis, Nabel, & Shokravi, 2014).

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