Evaluation of the Q-method as a method of public participation in the selection of sustainable development indicators

Donnacha Doody, Fergal Kearney, John Barry, Richard Moles, Bernadette O'Regan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The complexity of sustainable development means that it is often difficult to evaluate and communicate the concept effectively. One standard method to reduce complexity and improve Communication, while maintaining scientific objectivity, is to use selected indicators. The aim of this paper is to describe and evaluate a process Of public participation in the selection of sustainable development indicators that utilised the Q-method for discourse analysis. The Q-method was Utilised to combine public opinion with technical expertise to create a list of technically robust indicators that would be relevant to the public, The method comprises statement collection, statement analysis, Q-sorts and Q-sort analysis. The results of the Q-method generated a list of statements for which a preliminary list of indicators was then developed by a team of experts from the fields of environmental science, sustainable development and Psychology. Subsequently members of the public evaluated the preliminary list of indicators, to select a final list of indicators that were both technically sound and incorporated the views of the public. The Utilisation of the Q-method in this process was evaluated using previously published criteria. The application of the Q-method in this context needs to be considered not only by the quality of the indicators developed, but also from the perspective of the benefit of the process to the participants. it was concluded that the Q-method provided an effective framework for public participation in the selection of indicators as it allowed the public to discuss Sustainable development in familiar language and in the context of their daily lives. By combining this information with expert input, a list of technically robust indicators that resonate with the public was developed. The results demonstrated that many citizens are not aware Of Sustainable development, and if it is to be successfully communicated to them, then indicators and policy need to be couched in terms familiar and relevant to citizen and communities. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1137
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Ecology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of the Q-method as a method of public participation in the selection of sustainable development indicators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this