Assessing Public Perceptions of Computer-Based Models

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kristan Cockerill Ph.D., Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Although there is a solid body of research on both collaborative decision-making and on processes using models, there is little research on general public attitudes about models and their use in making policy decisions. This project assessed opinions about computer models in general and attitudes about a specific model being used in water planning in the Middle Rio Grande Region of New Mexico, United States. More than 1000 individuals were surveyed about their perceptions of computer-based models in general. Additionally, more than 150 attendees at public meetings related to the Middle Rio Grande planning effort were surveyed about their perceptions of the specific Rio Grande-based model. The results reveal that the majority of respondents are confident in their ability to understand models and most believe that models are appropriate tools for education and for making policy decisions. Responses also reveal that trust in who develops a model is a key issue related to public support. Regarding the specific model highlighted in this project, the public revealed tremendous support for its usefulness as a public engagement tool as well as a tool to assist decision-makers in regional water planning. Although indicating broad support for models, the results do raise questions about the role of trust in using models in contentious decisions.

Additional Information

Cockerill, K., V. Tidwell and H. Passell. (2004). Assessing Public Perceptions of Computer-Based Models. Environmental Management 34(5): 609-619. Published by Springer Verlag (ISSN: 0364-152X). DOI: 10.1007/s00267-003-0259-z
Language: English
Date: 2004

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