OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA


Alternative Methods for Presenting Data

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A common problem in many technical and/or scientific disputes is that the public, and often the decision makers as well are not technical experts and they find it difficult, if not impossible, to understand the technical information given them by the experts.  The situation can be even further complicated by the fact that both sides to a conflict will usually be able to find their own experts who will contradict the experts on the other side.  This leaves the public and the decision makers unable to tell who to believe.

One way to surmount this problem is to ask the experts to present their data in a simplified way that non-scientists can understand.  By using graphs, charts, photos, demonstrations, even games, much can be done to explain complex concepts in a way non-technical people can understand.  the following three essays give examples of how this can be done.


John Applegate and Douglas Sarno -- Coping with Complex Facts and Multiple Parties in Public Disputes
This article illustrates several innovative ways to make complex information more easily understandable to non-scientists.
Peter M. Sandman--Explaining Environmental Risk
This article explains that the public assesses risk and uncertainty very differently from experts.  It then suggests ways in which risk can be explained to the public so that they can make informed decisions.
Roger Fischer, Elizabeth Kopelman and Andrea Schneider -- Consider the Other Side's Choice
This short essay illustrates a method to assess the consequences of various actions.   Although it is presented in a very different context, the notion of making a chart to compare consequences of different decisions is a good way to simplify a great deal of information.

Links to Related Approaches

Credibility Demonstrations

Impact Study Requirement

Dealing with Uncertainty

Technical Primers

Links to Related Problems

Conflicts of Interest / Lack of Credibility

Contradictory Experts

Understanding the Meaning of Facts

Complexity Muddle


Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu