Public Participation and GIS for Participation

It is frequently claimed that better public involvement with science and science policy can give more trusted and more applicable policy results as well as better and more trusted science. Yet academic practitioners have identified problems that can arise when non-scientists hold naïve understandings of science, and when naïve sociological accounts are applied by scientists to complex social situations.

One fundamental problem is a lack of a common understanding of issues among scientists, policymakers and various publics.

This project addressed this problem by building on previous studies which have started to use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) databases to present and represent non-specialist perceptual information around spatially related problems such as air pollution.

This methodology allows better interpretation of citizen knowledge by science practitioners, who can then use it also to inform policy recommendations.

The project investigated the issues with a range of publics sometime excluded from science policy decisions such as socially excluded groups, women, non-specialist populations, as well as specific interested bodies.