OPERAs webinar 3 question by Alister Scott

The method is only as successful as the way it is planned, executed and fed back. Perhaps the trouble is there are too many methods which are used uncritically. You went through the various methods that are there and I see a lot of this happening with people advocating methods, but the problem is we tend to lack the guiding principles to make sure that these processes are kind of designed, executed and fed back in a way that achieves positive outcomes. Because we see a lot of very very quick, dirty and possibly they’re used uncritically and used poorly because of the lack of really good principles that people do because of the need to invest time and money in making sure that good processes take place.


Craig Bullock: Alistair is right. We need some principles, especially when it comes to Natural Capital Accounting at National level or company level. We need some principles as to what makes the best method. Now I know that’s very true of economic methods. There’s a lot of work out there in terms of economic surveys that might have been undertaken, using methods such as contingent valuation, etc., and you have to scrutinise them to see the quality of the application, to see if it has actually been done in a thorough way or not. But too often you just see the results of those applications reported. And you also see consultancy companies sometimes who are just using these methods in a rather superficial way. We need guidelines but guidelines not just for the people undertaking the methods, but guidelines for the decision makers so they can judge if these methods are of a suitable quality. The same applies to the social and cultural methods. There’s a whole plethora of methods out there and I did advocate using a mix of methods because they all complement one another in various ways. You can generally tell from the depth of the interpretation that is provided as to whether those social methods are of sufficient quality or not. But that’s probably easier for us as academics to do. We’re looking to be critical. We’re looking for those things. But for the users, for the decision makers it can be difficult for the top judge what is a good method, or not. So we definitely need some principles there.

Posted on: 3 Oct 2017 - 12:03