Using consensus analysis to assess mental models about water use and management in the Crocodile River catchment, South Africa

Stone-Jovicich, Samantha S., Lynam, Timothy, Leitch, Anne, and Jones, Natalie A. (2011) Using consensus analysis to assess mental models about water use and management in the Crocodile River catchment, South Africa. Ecology and Society, 16 (1). 45. pp. 1-25.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


The content, structure, and distribution of mental models can be elicited and measured using a variety of methods. In this article we explore a method for eliciting mental models within the context of water use and management in South Africa. This method is consensus analysis, a technique developed in cognitive anthropology. We used it to analyze qualitative data from semistructured interviews, pilesorts, and questionnaires to test quantitatively the degree of sharing and diversity of mental models within and across social groups. The consensus analysis method focused on comparing the mental models of two key stakeholder groups in the Crocodile River catchment in South Africa, i.e., conservationists and irrigators, to better understand the level of consensus between these groups. We specifically investigated the level of agreement regarding: (1) major water users of the Crocodile River, (2) causes of the current problems with flows in the river, (3) consequences of the river not flowing, and 4) priorities for future use. We discuss the results and examine the strengths and challenges of consensus analysis for eliciting and measuring mental models. We also evaluated the usefulness of this method in assisting natural resource managers to identify strategies for improving integrated management of water resources.

Item ID: 17061
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1708-3087
Keywords: consensus analysis; mental models; South Africa; water management
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2011 02:47
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1702 Cognitive Science > 170202 Decision Making @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960606 Rights to Environmental and Natural Resources (excl. Water Allocation) @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 5
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page