Integrated research outcomes are considered necessary to manage uncertain and complex landscape problems; however the evaluation of integration activities has remained descriptive and unempirical. We experimented with a novel methodology to test the effect of an activity, ‘field trip’, on individual researchers’ in a Murray-Darling Basin Research Program, Australia. Within a one month period, we conducted (before and after) interviews with researchers who either participated in the activity (experimental; n = 7), or not (control; n = 4), and, assisted them to generate an influence diagram to elicit their mental model. Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data indicates that the field trip enhanced participants’ understanding of Program context and project integration. Participants’ mental models were significantly (p <0.05) changed after the field trip; no significant difference was observed in the control group. Our results suggest that field trips, as integrative activities, can have an influence on researchers’ mental models however for the greatest effect they should be designed to accommodate; personal pre-conditions (e.g. knowledge and experience), expected change in these conditions and a desired integration outcome.
PEARSON, L., & MOON, K. (2014). A novel method for assessing integration activities in landscape management. Landscape and Urban Planning, 130, 201-205. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.06.008