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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 46(11)

Enhancing the utility of science: exploring the linkages between a science provider and their end-users in New Zealand

T. Kelly A B, J. Reid A, I. Valentine A

A Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
B Corresponding author. Email: t.c.kelly@massey.ac.nz
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Increasingly, publicly funded research is being required to demonstrate its contribution to the public good. In response to this trend, a science provider of soil quality research in New Zealand initiated a research project that set out to identify and characterise its end-users in order to improve the utility of their research. The researchers recognised the complex nature of this problem and adopted an action research approach based on soft systems methodology (SSM). The research process entailed 4 action research cycles, allowing greater levels of problem redefinition and participant learning. The quality of linkages between the science provider and their end-users was found to be crucial for improving the utility of that science, and is determined by: (i) the nature of the personal relationships between them, (ii) how the information meets the needs of the end-users, (iii) the end-users’ perceptions of the science provider, and (iv) the culture and structure of the end-user organisations.

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