‘Organized Reasoning’ is a collection of ideas and tools which GB assembled from a variety of sources. The goal is to help professionals organize their thinking about complex subjects and better present them in written form. There is a particular focus on making effective arguments, where ‘argument’ means organizing reasoning to lead to a specific conclusion intended for a particular audience. A great deal of professional communication and writing contains argument, in this sense.
Ideas about Organized Reasoning were first collected into a university course in a Master’s program in Environmental and Management. Research has been done on the effectiveness of significance determinations as arguments in impact assessments. It turns out they are often quite weak arguments. Other steps have been taken, or are underway, to apply Organized Reasoning in a variety of contexts, and to share the ideas in different ways, as described below.
GB at a seminar in Hong Kong, speaking about a particular application of Organized Reasoning (photo by Simon Cheung)
Organized Reasoning Workshops
To make the ideas of Organized Reasoning available to working professionals, some key points were summarized into one- and two-day workshops. The most popular Organized Reasoning workshops have been those customized for practitioners and regulators who work with Environmental Impact Assessments.
Workshops have been offered for practitioners by:
International Association for Impact Assessment, Western and Northern Canada Affiliate
Vancouver, Victoria, Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Calgary, Edmonton.
International Association for Impact Assessment, Annual Conference Training Course
British Columbia Institute of Agrologists
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canadian Land Reclamation Association, Conference Training Course
Red Deer, Alberta
Hong Kong Institute of Environmental Impact Assessment
Hong Kong, China
Workshops have been offered to staff and invited colleagues by:
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Regional Offices: Vancouver, Edmonton, Quebec City, Toronto, Halifax
Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board
Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Assessment Board
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
National Energy Board of Canada
Government of the Northwest Territories, Department of Lands
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Natural Resources Canada
Landsvirkjun, The National Power Company of Iceland
Skipulagsstofnun, The National Planning Agency of Iceland
Current Projects in Organized Reasoning
At the moment, GB is working with two government agencies to provide training for staff to provide practice and additional skills that build upon introductory workshops. A book about OR is in draft and is (gradually!) approaching completion. Targetted for completion in 2018, it will be available from this website. A flowchart describing how Organized Reasoning can be added at particular points in the impact assessment process is available at the link below. Steps to document applications of OR in reducing project risk are underway. More information about these efforts will be available in future.
There are downloadable documents, PowerPoint presentations and videos available about Organized Reasoning in the materials posted on this website in the Menu Item: Information Access > International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) Conference Materials http://www.glennbrown.ca/international-association-for-impact-assessment-iaia-conference-materials/