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Water 2017, 9(10), 750; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9100750

The Agricultural Community as a Social Network in a Collaborative, Multi-Stakeholder Problem-Solving Process

1
Water Policy and Governance Group; School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
2
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 21 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science)
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Abstract

Collaborative approaches are being promoted as inclusive forums for bringing state and non-state interests together to solve complex environmental problems. Networks have been recognized through previous research as important ways to involve stakeholders in such forums with members participating in knowledge creation and sharing as part of deliberative processes. Less well understood is the effectiveness of network creation and promotion by external actors, especially in relation to knowledge creation and sharing. A case study approach was used to evaluate the efforts of a farm organization to organize a provincially-cohesive network of locally-elected agricultural representatives in Ontario, Canada. Network structure and function were evaluated using a combination of participant observation and Social Network Analysis as part of a mixed methods research approach. The results indicate that stakeholder network development can be actively supported, and that knowledge creation and sharing in these networks occurs within a complex structure of local and provincial-scale relationships. View Full-Text
Keywords: agriculture; collaborative problem-solving; mixed methods research; participant observation; social network analysis; stakeholder networks; vernacular knowledge agriculture; collaborative problem-solving; mixed methods research; participant observation; social network analysis; stakeholder networks; vernacular knowledge
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Simpson, H.C.; de Loë, R.C. The Agricultural Community as a Social Network in a Collaborative, Multi-Stakeholder Problem-Solving Process. Water 2017, 9, 750.

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