Methodology note: Influence diagrams
Robinson, Lance W.
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The influence diagram is a qualitative tool used for systems analysis and synthesis (Bodily 1985; Waltner-Toews et al. 2003; Gitau 2004; Robinson and Berkes 2010). It is particularly useful for synthesizing diverse knowledge into a crosscutting, synthetic, shared understanding, including: • Synthesising knowledge from across disciplines and sectors • Synthesising knowledge from different sources—scientific, experiential, and traditional. When done in a participatory or collaborative research mode—that is, in situations where stakeholders other than researchers, especially ‘beneficiaries’, have meaningful input into research design and share in making decisions about that research—then influence diagrams can also help to validate findings and create a shared understanding about the research project and the systems and people who are the subjects of the research. One or more influence diagrams can serve as a ‘boundary object’, revisited and updated throughout the project as an aid to ongoing communication and planning.