Graphical Function Mapping as a New Way to Explore Cause-and-Effect Chains

By Mary Anne Evans

Graphical function mapping provides a simple method for improving communication within interdisciplinary research teams and between scientists and nonscientists. This article introduces graphical function mapping using two examples and discusses its usefulness. Function mapping projects the outcome of one function into another to show the combined effect. Using this mathematical property in a simpler, even cartoon-like, graphical way allows the rapid combination of multiple information sources (models, empirical data, expert judgment, and guesses) in an intuitive visual to promote further discussion, scenario development, and clear communication.

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