In order to integrate the contributions from dozens of very busy experts working independently, i had to define collaborative guidelines and procedures, and in particular to program computer collaborative tools, able to automate data integration, data insertion and consistency checks. One of the critical factors was to base the functioning of the expert team on the regular use of Internet, which at the time in Portugal had to be built from scratch: from arranging Internet accounts, software, hardware (email clients, modems, portable computers, etc.) and. I conducted two opinion surveys, on paper during report public audiences and on-line (web). I organized controlled sessions to test the use of the software prototype (IMS) and measure both user behavior (interaction with the system) and knowledge gains (with questions on content, concerning the eia review). By mapping research variables, technology attributes and experiment evidence, i built arguments using proof-of-concept and deduction logic, regarding the "qualitative jump" nature of the new information technologies, and the enabling effect that new information technologies have on different decision models. These techniques were therefore an integral part of my thesis methodology. Given that the thesis engaged many steps and facets, i found it useful to provide next a kind of road map to what is presented.
Such prototype (together with standard Internet tools) was the core of the new information technology introduced in the eia review process. The ims had built-in user-trace functions and bridges to dissertation corresponding computer analytical tools I designed and programmed for the effect. I conducted multiple interviews, both structured and informal (with and without a written guideline and set of questions in three different phases of the research: previous to the thesis experiment, during the experiment, and post-analysis. Most of those interviews were video-taped or audio-recorded. One of the challenges I faced was to create a common ground/referential within the multi-disciplinary panel of experts that assisted my thesis experiment, as well as build a consistent knowledge base. In order to achieve a common language referential, i conducted several brainstormings, that produced a vocabulary of more than a thousand terms and two taxonomies knowledge domains" and "issues in eia review to label and structure the vocabulary and other knowledge units (rules, norms, etc.). F) Collaborative tools and guidelines.
My general thesis research methodology was as follows: a) Identification of research question and domain focus of the thesis, as summarized above; b) Formulation of hypothesis, idem ; c) review of the state-of-the-art for both the information technology and public participation domains (available technology, body. The main research methods and techniques i used were: a) Observation (non-obtrusive and intervening). Much of the preparatory work, that built motivation and lead to the thesis topic selection, as well as the framing of the research questions, was based on extensive observation, in what concerns political processes in decision-making, public administration in action, and citizen participation. Observation (non-obtrusive) was also a key tool during the thesis experiment. B) Literature review, in particular in what concerns the discussion of public participation and the trends in the rise of the so called "information society". The bodies of knowledge used as references include: decision-making, public participation, information technology in planning, theory of the state, theory of democracy, information economics, knowledge representation, data visualization, multimedia databases, computer-human interaction. To provide for a good grasp of the case study, it was important to conduct an extensive literature review on topics such as environmental impact assessment (eia eia review, eia laws and regulations, solid urban waste management, urban waste management strategies, municipal planning, regional planning. C) Computer programming and prototyping. In order to better control the design of the thesis experiment, i took advantage of my academic and professional background in computer engineering and artificial intelligence, to develop a prototype of an intelligent multimedia system (IMS) to support public consultation and expert review.
Scientific method, define Scientific method
On the autism other hand, what is (if it is) qualitatively different in new it from past it, in regard to public participation? In what form can the new it best serve public participation? What must be modified, or extended, in available it to best responds to the requirements of such institutional processes? In order to narrow down the scope of these questions, it was fundamental to specify both targeted it and processes. My focus was the combination of artificial intelligence (mainly knowledge representation multimedia computer technology and Internet, applied in the context of public participation in decision making by government agencies, within the domain of impact assessment review for large development projects (infrastructure shortfalls and environment). Thesis Methodology given the nature of the hypothesis, i chose to lead a research experiment within a case study, as the core of thesis methodology.
The thesis experiment consisted of changing one of the macro-variables (introduction of a specific set of new IT) in a well defined scenario with clear boundaries and time frame (eia review of a proposed development to observe the other macro-variable (public participation in the decision-making. Such models are discussed in the "Experiment Models" chapter (in "The Experiment" section). A case study with an integrated experiment is a convenient methodological approach to test my hypothesis, since it allows us to control the specific set of new it introduced in the process and to focus on a single case, allowing an in-depth study of the. To comparative analysis thus with better conditions to detect unexpected phenomena. However, the same nature of the hypothesis requires a larger presentation analytical framework that goes beyond a case study. Therefore, the thesis experiment, while central to this research, is integrated in a more global document research and analytical reasoning.
Thesis experiment expected evidence:.1) That new it can help lay, common citizens play a more knowledgeable and effective role, in public consultation concerning decisions involving technical arguments. T.2) - that new it can impact decision-making procedures: including and up to the point where many of the current procedures become inadequate and require a new regulatory framework. T.3) - that you need specific it to best support a specific kind of public participation; and that it solely promoted by the so-called "free market forces" does not satisfy this need, neither fulfills all the potential that new it has in this domain. T.4) - that the presence alone (or even introduction) of new it does not necessarily promote better public participation nor improve decision-making procedures favoring public participation and is actually unlikely to do so, unless a) there is a good understanding of the underlying planning paradigms. Thesis by analytical reasoning:.5) - that the current stage of development of information technologies corresponds to a qualitative jump in the technology substructure of society, as compared with the time when "modern" decision-making consolidated into current commonly used procedures within democracies.
research questions There is an underlying duality in this general hypothesis: process and technology. Besides the characterization of what i argue to represent an it qualitative jump, i researched therefore two inter-dependent classes of questions arising from it: On one hand, which major modifications (if any) are occurring in processes of public consultation due to the new IT? Is there evidence that current processes are becoming inadequate given the new it developments? Which improvements are enabled by this new IT? Do we need new planning and/or political frameworks? If so, what must change?
The Scientific, method - make it Solar
The technology facet of public participation concerns the choice of ITs used or made available in each step of the process, and the attributes of the used it, relevant to the process. Naturally, the formulation of the hypothesis evolved during thesis research. The major evolution resulted from observing the heavy weight of the current institutional and regulatory framework in the process of introduction of new. Consequently, my hypothesis became that modern it have the potential to enable a vastly improved public participation in decision making, but requires a specific, new institutional and regulatory framework to fully materialize such potential. I considered this working hypothesis as encompassing several aspects, some of which i intended to test with a research experiment within a case study, prove others by documented research and analytical reasoning, while transforming thank the remaining into reasonably well-founded assumptions, within defined boundaries, through observation. Argued assumptions:.1) - that better public participation is writing in general consequential to better decision making (necessary, but not sufficient). A.2) - that there is such a thing as "commonly used" decision-making procedures within democracies in developments requiring environmental impact assessment (eia general enough to constitute a meaningful working basis for this thesis. A-3) That the use of information systems is a useful component of decision-making.
Hypothesis, point of Depart; Argued assumptions; Thesis experiment expected evidence.1.1. Point of Depart, in general terms, my early working hypothesis was that "current state-of-the-art information technologies (IT) have the potential to enable significant changes in the current decision making processes in public institutions, in what concerns the direct participation of the citizens and the intercommunication. I use the expression " current state-of-the-art information technologies or "new it as referring to a specific set of recent technology developments, described in this thesis, that i argue to represent a specific qualitative jump. While it is reasonable to expect new qualitative jumps to occur in the future, as they did in the past, my thesis addresses this specific "new IT". I define here " public participation" as a loose combination of direct participation by individual citizens and/or their ngos, and experts, even if provided by other government agencies, in a decision making process. I will argue that this more inclusive definition is important, because it is an open question whether "public. Expert" participation is a false dichotomy. The process facet of public participation concerns a) the choice of timing and opportunities to involve citizens before, during and after the decision making; b) the choice of techniques kinds of participation; c) the degree of influence citizens may have in the final decision and.
government, local governments of Lisbon. Given the sensitivity of such kind of decisions, and also the strong reactions from citizens on the occasion of a previous process of siting a hazardous waste incinerator, both government agencies and environmental ngo's were strongly motivated to shift the focus of the debate from. This created both a favorable condition for the introduction of new it into the process, and the challenge of well defined expectations for the effect of these new. My thesis research builds upon the course work done and elements of past research. Among others, my msc. Thesis (Ferraz de Abreu 1989 in what concerns the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate public access to computer technology; my study on the effect of market forces in recycling programs (Ferraz de Abreu 1992 in what concerns the dynamics of grass-root participation. In this thesis, i present my hypothesis or point of depart; the questions that are at the center of my research; the typical scenarios in which they occur; the methodology i followed; the scientific traditions and bodies of literature that support this research; the case. The main bibliographic references are identified, and research records are included in the appendix. Section 2 - hypothesis and Method. This section concerns the Thesis basics and includes the chapters:.
Two inter-dependent classes of questions arise from this general thesis: questions on technology and questions on process. I argue that this duality process-technology is inescapable if we want to understand the fast moving new trends in decision making and their institutional implications. I call this duality the "Plato's Principle for needed it was Plato that wrote that democracy cannot extend beyond the reach of a man's voice, and it is part of my argument that technology is extending the reach of human voice in such mode and degree. Based on past research, i chose to focus on the combination of artificial intelligence with multimedia computer and network technology, applied in the context of citizen consultation by both national and local government agencies, within the domain of impact assessment. The rationale for this choice will become apparent through the thesis. My main research case is the public consultation process on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a solid urban waste incinerator in Portugal, in 1996. The context is the planning process centered on the realization of the world Expo 1998 in the oriental part of Lisbon, portugal, with planned large developments of transportation infrastructure, drastic land use changes, and environmental clean-up.
M: Scientific Studies: Scientific
Section 1 - 2, section 1 - thesis Introduction, this section contains the Thesis introduction. Hypothesis and Method. Assumptions and foundation. Designing an Experiment. Discussing the Experiment. The qualitative jump. Section i - thesis Introduction, introduction. Introduction, in general terms, my thesis is that information technologies (IT) developed in the last 30 years, and consolidated only recently, constitute a qualitative jump from past it and have the potential to plan enable a vastly improved public participation in decision making, but requires.