Comparative analysis of public environmental decision-making processes: A variable-based analytical scheme

Research output: Working paperWorking papers


In this discussion paper, we introduce and outline in detail an analytical scheme - SCAPE - that has been developed over several years, that has been tested and iteratively refined through application to dozens of case studies, and which is currently in use for a case survey of several hundred case studies of public environmental decision-making. The ‘scheme for the comparative analysis of public environmental decision-making’ (SCAPE) facilitates the systematic comparison of cases of public decision-making and serves to identify causal relationships between the characteristics of a decision-making process and its outcomes. The framework is meant to be applicable to a wide range of public decision-making processes, focused on but not limited to environmental governance processes SCAPE is particularly suited to the analysis of processes in the realm of environmental governance that entail different forms of citizen and interest group involvement or environmental mediation. It develops a clear notion of the ‘decision-making process’ as its core unit of analysis, and provides a coherently structured set of more than 300 items covering: contextual conditions (section B) such as the societal and political environment, the pre-history of a decision-making process, elements of the issue at stake, characteristics of the relevant stakeholder field, and the level of pre-existing conflict; process characteristics (section C) such as who is involved in terms of governmental and non-governmental actors, the configuration of power relations, the role of scientific expertise, communication and information flows between actors, aspects of process facilitation, and process resources; process outputs and outcomes (section D) in terms of social, economic and environmental aspects (with an emphasis on the latter), social learning, trust-building, public acceptance, and conflict resolution, to name but a few
Translated title of the contributionVergleichende Analyse umweltbezogener Entscheidungsprozesse: Ein variablen-basiertes analytisches Schema
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLüneburg
PublisherInstitut für Umweltkommunikation der Universität Lüneburg
Number of pages65
Publication statusPublished - 20.02.2013

    Research areas

  • Sustainability sciences, Communication - participatory governance, case survey, environmental governance, scheme for the comparative analysis of public environmental decision-making (SCAPE), conceptual framework, stakeholder mapping, causal hypotheses, code book, multi-case comparative studies, meta analysis