Computer models can support policy development in environmental management, but often suffer from a lack of practical application. This is part due to a ‘gap’ between the ways in which various participants in the policy process deal with information. The framework described in this paper provides a structured approach to information analysis in policy processes. The awareness of differences in the nature of information helps in dealing with different perceptions and actor backgrounds during this policy process because it allows a better match between the information needs and the tools or procedures that are applied. Construal level theory, originating from consumer psychology, can account for some differences that remained unaddressed so far and forms a key component of this framework. Application of the framework to the Dutch Maas case shows that a gap between the model and its users is unavoidable; model applications are dominated by the fairly technical conceptions which modelers have of the system, and fail to address high level construals brought up by the stakeholders. Application of the framework can support the match between mutual expectations of modelers and users.
- Policy analysis - Perceptions - Construal level theory - River modeling - Stakeholder participation - River Maas