Science Impact

U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 2006-1344
Version 1.0

Integrating Stakeholders and Users into the Geography Discipline's Research Process

By Caroline M. Hermans and Richard Taketa


diagram showing different groups feeding into the management team
Stakeholder relationships and connections (from figure 1)

Future research priorities of Geography emphasize the discipline's leadership role in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in multidisciplinary and integrated research on human and environmental systems and how these systems are interrelated and respond to change

Geography's research priorities also emphasize providing science that is usable to society and creating decision support products applicable to given customer problems. To achieve these goals, we must understand the relationship between our research and our customer, and how to integrate the customer into the research process.

This report details the elements of the research process that help achieve the degree of stakeholder involvement necessary to ensure a successful end-product. It offers suggestions that can help researchers better understand stakeholders and customers and involve them in the research process more effectively, while preserving the integrity of the science. Its aim is to help researchers understand the problems and challenges faced by our customers and communicate the ways in which Geography can help address their problems.

Adopting these guidelines can improve the efficiency of the research process and lead to higher quality output. We will be able to conduct better research because we will have an improved understanding of the research problem and the stakeholders involved.

This report covers a broad range of topics, from identifying and communicating with stakeholders and users, to the use of language, to how to effectively present scientific information to the user. It does not offer a "one size fits all" method. Instead, perhaps only specific sections are suitable for a given project and customers, depending on project scope and needs. This report is based on the objectives of Geography's strategic plan, U. S. Geological Survey's strategic plan, and Department of Interior's strategic plan.

Section 2 of these guidelines describes the purpose of the research process in Geography and the need for better user involvement in the process. Section 3 explains how to conduct a stakeholder analysis. Section 4 explains how to conduct a user-needs assessment.

Download this report as a 35-page PDF file (of2006-1344.pdf; 416 KB)

For questions about the content of this report, contact Caroline Hermans

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