The Harold Lasswell Prize for the best article in the 2009 volume of the journal Policy Sciences has gone to the following:

Rutherford, Murray B., Michael L. Gibeau, Susan G. Clark, & Emily C. Chamberlain (2009 May). Interdisciplinary problem solving workshops for grizzly bear conservation in Banff National Park, Canada. Policy Sciences, 42(2), 163-187.

Abstract. We used the policy sciences as an organizing framework for a series of workshops with stakeholders in Banff National Park on “Interdisciplinary problem solving for grizzly bear conservation and management”. In recent years, bear conservation efforts in this region have been hindered by acrimonious disputes about the production and use of scientific knowledge in management. The workshops introduced the policy sciences as a means of thinking more effectively about problems, and encouraged participants to use this approach to develop innovative solutions to the problems of grizzly bear conservation. Each workshop addressed different aspects of the policy sciences framework: (i) Standpoint Clarification; (ii) Problem Orientation; (iii) Social Process Mapping; and (iv) Decision-Process Mapping. In this article, we discuss the design and outcomes of the workshops and assess their effectiveness in integrating knowledge to find common ground.

Although it does not say so in the abstract, Q methodology was critical to this study. Q Method appears among the keywords and was instrumental in establishing the various stakeholder standpoints referred to in point (i) above. Murray Rutherford and Emily Chamberlain are in the School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada. (Rutherford was the program chair for the 2005 Vancouver Q conference.) Michael Gibeau is with Parks Canada, Mountain National Parks, Lake Louise, AB, Canada. Susan Clark is in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

This is the second year in a row in which a Q-based study has won the journal’s Lasswell Award, the 2008 winner being David G. Ockwell’s “‘Opening up’ policy to reflexive appraisal: A role for Q methodology? A case study of fire management in Cape York, Australia”, Policy Sciences, 41(4), 263-292. It is also worth remembering that the 1999 Lasswell Award winner went to the Q study by David Pelletier et al., “The shaping of collective values through deliberative democracy: An empirical study from New York’s North Country” Policy Sciences, 32, 103-131. And while on the topic, it is also worth remembering that the best article of 2001 in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (vol. 20, pp. 391-414) went to Michel van Eeten for his “Recasting intractable policy issues: The wider implications of The Netherlands civil aviation controversy”.

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