Contested modelling: a critical examination of expert modelling in sustainability

Mike Yearworth, Sarah E Cornell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
224 Downloads (Pure)


We discuss the role of expert modelling in sustainability using a framework designed to improve the effectiveness of the modelling process. Based on the development of a set of reflective questions that can be used at certain key stages in the lifecycle of projects developing such models, we discuss how using the framework would lead to improvements in the coupling of the process of expert modelling with the process of intervention, which is implied by the existence of the expert modelling project. This questioning pushes the development of a framework beyond considerations of ontology and epistemology into issues of axiology and praxis, extending the notion of contested modelling beyond the narrow scientific sense to a wider social setting. Our framework has been developed through a case study analysis of the effectiveness of four research initiatives that have used expert modelling to address the complexity of intervention in a sustainability context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-63
JournalSystems Research and Behavioral Science
Issue number1
Early online date3 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2016


  • Expert Modelling
  • Scientific Modelling
  • Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs)
  • Sustainability
  • Effectiveness


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