To support decision making on complex environmental issues, models are often used to explore the potential impacts of different management alternatives on the environmental system. We explored how different model outcomes affect decision making. Two topics have our particular interest, namely (1) the influence of quantification of qualitative information on decision making, and (2) the influence of reflecting uncertainty in the model outcomes on decision making. We set up a survey, in which we use a case study describing a decision making situation in strategic river management. The survey was disseminated through the Internet. From the results we conclude that the quantification of information in itself does not necessarily change preferences, although the outcomes suggest that preferences converge when based on quantified information. When confronted with uncertainty information, respondents show a preference for the alternative with the smallest chance of negative impacts. The study shows that, whereas the modelling community often strives to provide the policy process with as good, and as detailed information as is possible, their assumption that this will automatically lead to ‘better’ decision making is not self-evident.
- Framing of information
- Strategic river management
- Environmental modelling
- Multi-criteria decision making