Computer Supported Argument Visualisation: Modelling in Consultative Democracy Around Wicked Problems

  • Ricky Ohl
Part of the Advanced Information and Knowledge Processing book series (AI&KP)


In this case study, computer supported argument visualisation has been applied to the analysis and representation of the draft South East Queensland Regional Plan Consultation discourse, demonstrating how argument mapping can help deliver the transparency and accountability required in participatory democracy. Consultative democracy for regional planning falls into a category of problems known as “wicked problems”. Inherent in this environment are heterogeneous viewpoints, agendas and voices, all built on disparate and often contradictory logic. An argument ontology and notation that was designed specifically to deal with consultative urban planning around wicked problems is the Issue Based Information System (IBIS) and IBIS notation (Rittel & Webber, 1984). The software used for argument visualisation in this case was Compendium, a derivative of IBIS. The high volume of stakeholders and discourse heterogeneity in this environment calls for a unique approach to argument mapping. The map design model developed from this research has been titled a “Consultation Map”. The design incorporates the IBIS ontology within a hybrid of mapping approaches, amalgamating elements from concept, dialogue, argument, debate, thematic and tree-mapping. The consultation maps developed from the draft South East Queensland Regional Plan Consultation provide a transparent visual record to give evidence of the themes of citizen issues within the consultation discourse. The consultation maps also link the elicited discourse themes to related policies from the SEQ Regional Plan providing explicit evidence of SEQ Regional Plan policy-decisions matching citizen concerns. The final consultation map in the series provides explicit links between SEQ Regional Plan policy items and monitoring activities reporting on the ongoing implementation of the SEQ Regional Plan. This map provides updatable evidence of and accountability for SEQ Regional Plan policy implementation and developments.


Concept Mapping Public Consultation Government Report Wicked Problem Participatory Democracy 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ManagementGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia

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