Just had to share this little gem I ran across…
A decision theorist … was struggling whether to accept an offer from a rival university or to stay. His colleague took him aside and said, “Just maximize your expected utility – you always write about doing this.” Exasperated, the decision theorist responded, “Come on, this is serious.”
How we study things matters. And how we communicate the limitations, simplifications, and assumptions to potential users of our research — well, that matters even more.
In social-ecological systems research, there are infinite options for how to characterize the people in the system. I’m always excited to see the ever-growing community of researchers that are working to bring research and real world representations closer together, finding innovative analytical approaches to do this as respectfully, pluralistically, and meaningfully as possible.