The effect of modelling expert knowledge and uncertainty on multicriteria decision making: a river management case study

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Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental science & policy
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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river management
expert knowledge
river
decision making
uncertainty
management
modeling
quantification
environmental issue
effect
Internet
community

Keywords

  • Framing of information
  • Strategic river management
  • Uncertainty
  • Environmental modelling
  • Multi-criteria decision making

Cite this

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title = "The effect of modelling expert knowledge and uncertainty on multicriteria decision making: a river management case study",
abstract = "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.",
keywords = "Framing of information, Strategic river management, Uncertainty, Environmental modelling, Multi-criteria decision making",
author = "Judith Janssen and Krol, {Martinus S.} and Schielen, {Ralph Mathias Johannes} and Hoekstra, {Arjen Ysbert}",
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T1 - The effect of modelling expert knowledge and uncertainty on multicriteria decision making: a river management case study

AU - Janssen, Judith

AU - Krol, Martinus S.

AU - Schielen, Ralph Mathias Johannes

AU - Hoekstra, Arjen Ysbert

PY - 2010

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N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - Framing of information

KW - Strategic river management

KW - Uncertainty

KW - Environmental modelling

KW - Multi-criteria decision making

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