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Levels of Awareness

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You and every participant are at different levels of awareness as the process begins. Each participant will go through various stages of awareness throughout the process. This is a spiral --people may go through the same stage again but with a broader understanding.

To keep the process on track, be aware of where people are in this process and guide them to the next step through communication and participation. Use your knowledge of their perceptions and interest in the process through decision analysis to anticipate what is needed as you move through the steps in the decision process. Moving ahead before most participants are ready may cause conflict and delays by making it more difficult for people to reach the next stage.


navigate in the page--Spiralling Attitudes


Throughout the process, keep track of where people are. Remember that they might be dealing with prior issues and past associations, too!


Levels of awareness

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The more intense the level of participation, the more easily participants more through these levels.

Tools such as participation maps can help keep track of groups.



Dawning awareness.

Beginning to understand the problem and the situation
Sense of urgency.
Rushing to solve the problem right now!
Wishful thinking.
Thinking of all the options available
Discovery of choices.
Narrowing the options to what is possible
Weighing choices.
Finding the need to make tradeoffs* and to balance interests
Practical resolve.
Evaluating and weighing the alternatives for the best workable solution
Responsible judgment.
Deciding on a solution
Implementing solutions.
Actually solving the problem


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Note: These files were developed and were originally hosted at the Bureau of Reclamation, United States Department of the Interior.
I am hosting this as an archive. Contact Deena Larsen (deenalarsen AT for further information.