Visualized Problem Structuring for Stakeholder Consultations

Enabling Informed Decision-Making with Argument Maps and the Argument Browser
  • Ralf Groetker
Part of the Advanced Information and Knowledge Processing book series (AI&KP)


Based on a series of four case studies, we present a process model for asynchronous stakeholder consultations with visualized problem structuring in the form of argument mapping. The consultations deal with matters of policy advice in the field of science, technology and society, with a focus on bioethics and business ethics. We start with a short description of the technique of argument mapping, followed by a detailed explanation of how argument mapping supports the consultation process. The consultation process is divided into the phases (1) research, (2) stakeholder interviews, (3) the conduct of an opinion poll concerning the arguments discussed, and (4) a final report. For the opinion poll, we used a newly invented tool that we call Argument Browser. Challenges that we encountered in the process mainly concerned issues of motivating participants, the structuring of complex topics, and the achievement of impartiality in deliberation. These challenges were addressed by the use of Participation Design (as a general framework of thinking about improvements within the consultation process), the employment of argumentation schemes, and other means. Lessons learned particularly concern the use-value of visualization and how argument mapping can support conflict analysis during the consultation process.


Business Ethic Synthetic Biology Argumentation Scheme Assist Suicide Stakeholder Consultation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Funding by the Robert Bosch Foundation (for the consultations on Ethics of Sweatshop Labour and NIPD) and by the Barmer GEK (for the consultation on NIPD) is gratefully acknowledged. The author also wishes to thank Thomas F. Gordon for constructive comments and many helpful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Explorat Facilitation & ConsultingBerlinGermany

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