A participatory process for identifying and prioritizing policy-relevant research questions in natural resource management: a case study from the UK forestry sector

G Petrokofsky, N D Brown, G E Hemery, S Woodward, E Wilson, A Weatherall, V Stokes, R J Smithers, M Sangster, K Russell, A S Pullin, C Price, M Morecroft, Mark Malins, A Lawrence, K J Kirby, D Godbold, E Charman, D Boshier, S BosbeerJ E M Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing interest in widening public participation in research and practice in environmental decision making and an awareness of the importance of framing research questions that reflect the needs of policy and practice. The Top Ten Questions for Forestry (T10Q) project was undertaken in 2008 to investigate a process for compiling and prioritizing a meaningful set of research questions, which were considered by participating stakeholders to have high policy relevance, using a collaborative bottom-up approach involving professionals from a wide set of disciplines of relevance to modern forestry. Details are presented of the process, which involved an online survey and a workshop for participants in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Survey responses were received from 481 researchers, policy makers and woodland owners, who contributed 1594 research questions. These were debated and prioritized by 51 people attending the workshop. The project engaged people who were outside the traditional boundaries of the discipline, a trend likely to be more important in the future, particularly in the light of complex problems connected with climate change, bioenergy production or health and well-being, for example, which require multidisciplinary partnerships within the research and policy communities. The project demonstrated the potential for combining web-based methods and focussed group discussions to collect, debate and prioritize a large number of researchable questions considered of importance to a broad spectrum of people with an active interest in natural resource management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-367
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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