The user, not the tool: perceptions of credibility and relevance affect the uptake of prioritisation

Kiatkoski Kim, Milena, Evans, Louisa, Scherl, Lea M., and Marsh, Helene (2016) The user, not the tool: perceptions of credibility and relevance affect the uptake of prioritisation. Environmental Management, 57 (4). pp. 836-846.

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Abstract

Prioritisation methods have been used in conservation planning for over 20 years. The scientific literature focuses on the technical aspects of prioritisation, providing limited information on factors affecting the uptake of priorities. We focused on the Back on Track species prioritisation program in Queensland, Australia, used to prioritise species conservation efforts across Queensland from 2005. The program had low uptake by intended users. Our study aimed to identify the perceived limitations in the technical-scientific quality of this species-based prioritisation process and its outcomes in terms of credibility (scientific adequacy of the technical evidence) and relevance (of information to the needs of decision-makers). These criteria have been used to understand the uptake of scientific information in policy. We interviewed 73 key informants. Perceptions of credibility were affected by concerns related to the use of expert judgement (rather than empirical evidence) to assess species, impressions that key experts were not included in the planning process, and the lack of confidence in the information supporting prioritisation. We identified several trade-offs and synergies between the credibility and relevance of priorities to potential users. The relevance of the output plans was negatively affected by the lack of clarity about who were potential users and implementers of the priorities identified. We conclude with recommendations to enhance the credibility and relevance of such initiatives.

Item ID: 44033
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: prioritisation, credibility, relevance, conservation planning, users, uptake
ISSN: 1432-1009
Funders: James Cook University (JCU), SkyRail Foundation (Australia)
Projects and Grants: JCU Professor Helene Marsh's Service Fund
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2016 07:48
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960799 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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