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Engaging with stakeholders to produce actionable science: A framework and guidance

September 17, 2021

Natural and cultural resource managers are increasingly working with the scientific community to create information on how best to adapt to the current and projected impacts of climate change. Engaging with these managers is a strategy that researchers can use to ensure that scientific outputs and findings are actionable (or useful and usable). In this article, the authors adapt Davidson’s wheel of participation to characterize and describe common stakeholder engagement strategies across the spectrum of Inform, Consult, Participate, and Empower. This adapted framework provides researchers with a standardized vocabulary for describing their engagement approach, guidance on how to select an approach, methods for implementing engagement, and potential barriers to overcome. While there is often no one “best” approach to engaging with stakeholders, researchers can use the objectives of their project and the decision context in which their stakeholders operate to guide their selection. Researchers can also revisit this framework over time as their project objectives shift and their stakeholder relationships evolve.