Collaborative problem-solving in science-based role-play negotiation simulations: A discourse analysis of place-based learning

Authors: Theresa McCarty*, University of New Hampshire, Catherine M. Ashcraft, University of New Hampshire
Topics: Natural Resources, Sustainability Science, Communication
Keywords: Discourse Analysis, Negotiation, Science, Sustainability
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Jefferson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Conflicts that center around natural resource or sustainability issues are characterized by ecological and social complexity, scientific uncertainty, and overlapping policy frameworks. Science-based role-play negotiation simulations (SRNS), also called policy games, are gaining attention as an approach to support policy decision-making, foster learning and engagement about the science-policy interface in decision-making, facilitate communication, and promote innovations in problem-solving. SRNS assign detailed individual roles and engage participants in a face-to-face negotiation about a realistic, but fictional, scenario-based sustainability challenge. SRNS are designed to guarantee certain issues arise based on the specified interests of the participants during the negotiation and to foster learning about the benefits of integrative agreements for generating innovative solutions to maximize joint gains, as compared to competitive negotiation strategies and suboptimal compromise agreements. Despite claims about their potential benefits, SRNS remain under-theorized and under-researched. There are very few systematic evaluations of their effectiveness at achieving their intended objectives. In response, we propose a new methodology implementing discourse analysis, which integrates theory and techniques from the fields of geography, communication, and negotiation with the use of SRNS in research and applied policy settings. This approach complements existing survey and interview evaluation methods and responds to concerns about reliance on self-assessment. We will present a research design for discourse analysis that includes analyzing negotiation transcripts and the speech participants use to frame their experiences.

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