Collaboration among scientists and stakeholders is increasingly valued in research to coproduce knowledge and research products that better inform decision making and enact meaningful change. We present an example of effective coproduction of knowledge to protect water quality along the Mississippi–Alabama coast using a comprehensive approach that tracked progress from initial research through product assessment. We coproduced an education and decision support tool known as “Our Wastewater Footprint” and engaged communities through a variety of public outreach efforts, adapting the product to meet the needs of individual end users. We assessed the effectiveness of our efforts by tracking attendance at outreach activities, measuring website traffic, and collecting survey data from end users after product use. Data from >9,900 users indicated that presentations at community events and print and social media posts most efficiently reached large audiences using limited resources, and social media posts were most effective in promoting changes in behavior and attitudes on a social level. This case study exemplifies how involving stakeholders in research and product development can increase community engagement in stewardship and prompt change to enhance water quality. Our results tangibly demonstrate that meaningful assessment of the administrative and social impacts of coproduced knowledge is feasible and can be accomplished in a short period of time.
Our Wastewater Footprint: Protecting Water Quality Through Comprehensive Coproduction of Knowledge
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Toni M. Groet, Elizabeth E. Hieb, Elizabeth S. Darrow, Ruth H. Carmichael; Our Wastewater Footprint: Protecting Water Quality Through Comprehensive Coproduction of Knowledge. Case Studies in the Environment 5 February 2021; 5 (1): 1425563. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/cse.2021.1425563
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