Typologizing Stakeholder Information Use to Better Understand the Impacts of Collaborative Climate Science

Kristin VanderMolen, Alison M. Meadow, Alexandra Horangic, Tamara U. Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


There is increasing interest among scholars in producing information that is useful and usable to land and natural resource managers in a changing climate. This interest has prompted transitions from scientist- to stakeholder-driven or collaborative approaches to climate science. A common indicator of successful collaboration is whether stakeholders use the information resulting from the projects in which they are engaged. However, detailed examples of how stakeholders use climate information are relatively scarce in the literature, leading to a challenge in understanding what researchers can and should expect and plan for in terms of stakeholder use of research findings. Drawing on theoretical, typological, and evaluation insights from the field of information use, we examine stakeholder use of climate information emerging from 13 collaborative climate science projects conducted in the western United States between 2012 and 2016. Three primary types of use emerge from our findings—conceptual, instrumental, and justification—reflecting common typologization of information use. Conceptual use was the most predominant. We suggest that researcher awareness of this typology can enable more systematic understanding of what project outputs stakeholders use and impacts of those outputs, giving way to new areas of inquiry and aiding in the conceptualization and design of climate information products for land and natural resource managers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-189
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Climate information use
  • Collaborative climate science
  • Natural resource management
  • Research impacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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