Title: Does research applying the DPSIR framework support decision making?
Citation: LAND USE POLICY vol. 29 no. 1 p. 102-110
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC57304
ISSN: 0264-8377
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837711000500
DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.05.009
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework was developed in the late 1990s to structure and organize indicators in a meaningful way. Since then, the framework has increasingly been applied in research projects with the aim of supporting decision making. A number of attributes of the framework regarding structuring and communication issues in research further strengthen its original purpose of bridging the science policy gap. We reviewed several studies that were mainly concerned with criticism and drawbacks of the DPSIR framework. Based on these studies and our own experiences in applying the DPSIR framework in an EU project to develop a decision support tool, we developed two criteria that we believe are crucial for policy relevant research: (a) the development of conceptual models integrating knowledge from different disciplines, specialists and policy makers, as well as those affected by their decisions; and (b) the potential to explain the results and analysis of research to different disciplines, specialists, stakeholders and the public and to demonstrate alternatives and provide decision options. We analyzed 21 studies using the DPSIR framework with regard to their relevance for decision making. We analyzed the definitions of the five DPSIR elements and whether specific end users were addressed in the respective studies. We found that in many studies, the DPSIR elements were defined in literature review or by researchers and that only a few studies targeted specific government authorities as users of research results. Eight out of 21 studies applied transdisciplinary research concepts and integrated broad ranges of stakeholder opinions and values into the research. Nine out of 21 studies presented alternative outcomes to decision makers and used the valuation of these outcomes by stakeholders to add further support to the decision-making process. The different positive and negative implications of the DPSIR framework are discussed with reference to research that supports policy making. Finally, we conclude that studies employing DPSIR may provide effective solutions for “real world problems” by taking into account additional criteria based on knowledge integration, stakeholder involvement and the provision of alternatives. Therefore, DPSIR is a useful tool to support decision making by means of showing solid evidence with alternatives and decision options, rather than by presenting predetermined solutions.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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