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Concept Paper

Responding to Social Distancing in Conducting Stakeholder Workshops in COVID-19 Era

School for the Environment, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA 02125-3393, USA
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Societies 2020, 10(4), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10040098
Received: 27 August 2020 / Revised: 24 November 2020 / Accepted: 9 December 2020 / Published: 13 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19 and Social Sciences)
In March 2020, COVID-19 disrupted global society. Impacts as a result of COVID-19 were seen in all industries, including higher education research, which was paused in order to accommodate newly imposed restrictions. Social science research, specifically stakeholder engagement research, was one area that was potentially impacted given its need for person-to-person interaction. Here, we describe how we successfully adjusted our stakeholder engagement methodology to accommodate for socially distant requirements. Initially, we planned to host in-person workshops to assess stakeholder perceptions of microplastics impacts on oysters in Boston Harbor and coastal Massachusetts using the deliberative multicriteria evaluation (DMCE) methodology. To transfer these workshops online, we used familiar, open-access platforms, Zoom and GoogleDrive, to enable dialogue among participants and evaluate preferences. While modifications to length (5 to 3 h) and order (participants were asked to watch expert videos before their participation date) of the workshop were necessary, most other elements of the methodology remained the same for the online format. The main element that was lacking was the in-person interactions. However, with video conferencing tools available, this element was not completely lost. View Full-Text
Keywords: deliberative valuation; informed decision making; public engagement; COVID-19; stakeholder engagement deliberative valuation; informed decision making; public engagement; COVID-19; stakeholder engagement
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tobin, C.; Mavrommati, G.; Urban-Rich, J. Responding to Social Distancing in Conducting Stakeholder Workshops in COVID-19 Era. Societies 2020, 10, 98. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10040098

AMA Style

Tobin C, Mavrommati G, Urban-Rich J. Responding to Social Distancing in Conducting Stakeholder Workshops in COVID-19 Era. Societies. 2020; 10(4):98. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10040098

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tobin, Catherine, Georgia Mavrommati, and Juanita Urban-Rich. 2020. "Responding to Social Distancing in Conducting Stakeholder Workshops in COVID-19 Era" Societies 10, no. 4: 98. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10040098

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