A virtual and anonymous, deliberative and analytic participation process for planning and evaluation: The Concept Mapping Policy Delphi
Integrating knowledge and values across a range of stakeholders and experts is a common goal of, and challenge in, forecasting and planning processes across numerous decision-making domains. In this paper we present a virtual and anonymous, deliberative and analytical participatory group process which we applied in a planning study. The process was a combination of concept mapping and a policy Delphi. The Concept Mapping Policy Delphi offers an iterative process that is meant to foster critical, dissensus-based thinking by a group about an evaluation problem. In particular, it offers a platform on which to structure the group brainstorming of ideas, integrates knowledge and values, and creates a shared conceptual framework for addressing evaluation problems. We discuss the merits and limitations of this process and compare it with other public engagement mechanisms for decision-making. We argue that the use of a Concept Mapping Policy Delphi is relevant in forecasting and decision-making processes that aim to integrate information which is from various disparate points of view in order to clarify arguments and values, democratize and mediate public participation, and/or provide strategic advice about scenarios or planning options, while mitigating the problematic aspects of face-to-face group processes.
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