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Mapping agri-environmental knowledge systems

Lane, A   Oreszczyn, S

September 2017

in ‘Mapping environmental sustainability: reflecting on systemic practices for participatory research’

Oreszczyn, S. & Lane, A. (Eds.)

Policy Press

ISBN 978-1447331575 (hardback)

In this chapter we (the editors) draw on our experiences over many years of investigating knowledge exchange processes across three research projects that mostly deal with agri-environmental knowledge systems with contentious issues for stakeholders (farmers, policymakers, researchers, businesses and NGOs) to explore, as was the case in Chapter 3. The first project discussed considered UK farmers’ understandings of new technologies and the influencers on them. We then took this work forward into subsequent projects that analysed complex knowledge flows in a number of different contexts – agriculture, health, food, international development and hedgerow management systems. We reflect upon how our use of diagramming and our relationships with participants in our research methods evolved through the three phases of the first project and into the subsequent projects, as is also the case in Chapters five and eight. We discuss not only how we drew on tried and tested mapping techniques - cognitive maps and Harman Fans - but also the mapping techniques we devised specifically for the projects. As well as drawing on theories about participatory approaches to research as described in Chapters one and two, the projects also particularly drew on theories about communities of practice, explained further in Chapter Seven.