Participatory modeling

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Participatory modeling is a purposeful learning process for action that engages the implicit and explicit knowledge of stakeholders to create formalized and shared representation(s) of reality. In this process, the participants co-formulate the problem and use modeling practices to aid in the description, solution, and decision-making actions of the group. Participatory modeling is often used in environmental and resource management contexts. It can be described as engaging non-scientists in the scientific process. The participants structure the problem, describe the system, create a computer model of the system, use the model to test policy interventions, and propose one or more solutions. Participatory modeling is often used in natural resources management,[1] such as forests[2] or water.[3][4]

There are numerous benefits from this type of modeling, including a high degree of ownership and motivation towards change for the people involved in the modeling process. There are two approaches which provide highly different goals for the modeling; continuous modeling and conference modeling.

Continuous modeling[edit]

The focus here is on the end-user being the active modeler. It can be incorporated into an adaptable, context-sensitive, "intelligent" system, which is suited to the individual. This combination is often referred to as "model generated workplace" or "model generated user environment". The basic concept is that the end-user potentially has the greatest domain knowledge and thus the organization as a whole benefits by obtaining and externalize this knowledge.

Conference modeling[edit]

Conference modeling is an approach where the goal often is of a more social kind, such as motivation, and change management. The idea is to involve a group of diversified people from the domain in question. Then the modeling process is developed in group participation during a fixed period of time.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jones, Natalie A.; Perez, Pascal; Measham, Thomas G.; Kelly, Gail J.; d'Aquino, Patrick; Daniell, Katherine A.; Dray, Anne; Ferrand, Nils (22 October 2009). "Evaluating Participatory Modeling: Developing a Framework for Cross-Case Analysis". Environmental Management. 44 (6): 1180–1195. doi:10.1007/s00267-009-9391-8.
  2. ^ Mendoza, Guillermo A.; Prabhu, Ravi (November 2006). "Participatory modeling and analysis for sustainable forest management: Overview of soft system dynamics models and applications". Forest Policy and Economics. 9 (2): 179–196. doi:10.1016/j.forpol.2005.06.006.
  3. ^ Robles-Morua, Agustin; Halvorsen, Kathleen E.; Mayer, Alex S.; Vivoni, Enrique R. (February 2014). "Exploring the application of participatory modeling approaches in the Sonora River Basin, Mexico". Environmental Modelling & Software. 52: 273–282. doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.10.006.
  4. ^ van Eeten, Michel J. G.; Loucks, Daniel P.; Roe, Emery (December 2002). "Bringing actors together around large-scale water systems: Participatory modeling and other innovations". Knowledge, Technology & Policy. 14 (4): 94–108. doi:10.1007/s12130-002-1017-x.