Understanding participant perspectives: Q-methodology in national forest management
Many policy practitioners and theorists have argued that value-free, objective solutions to policy problems do not exist. While participant values and subjective viewpoints influence policy problems, empirically determining participant perspectives and preferences has been a daunting task. This paper demonstrates how Q-methodology, a technique for systematically revealing subjective perspectives, can contribute to better problem identification and definition; estimation and specification of policy option; and selection, implementation, and evaluation of policies. Two case studies in national forest management are reviewed and demonstrate how Q-methodology can (1) identify important internal and external constituencies, (2) define participant viewpoints and perceptions, (3) provide sharper insight into participant-preferred management directions, (4) identify criteria that are important to participants, (5) explicitly outline areas of consensus and conflict, and (6) develop a common view toward the policy. © 1999 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
Steelman, TA; Maguire, LA
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