Deconstructing facts and frames in energy research: Maxims for evaluating contentious problems

  • Sovacool B
  • Brown M
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Abstract

In this article, we argue that assumptions and values can play a combative, corrosive role in the generation of objective energy analysis. We then propose six maxims for energy analysts and researchers. Our maxim of information asks readers to keep up to date on trends in energy resources and technology. Our maxim of inclusivity asks readers to involve citizens and other public actors more in energy decisions. Our maxim of symmetry asks readers to keep their analysis of energy technologies centered always on both technology and society. Our maxim of reflexivity asks readers to be self-aware of one's assumptions. Our maxim of prudence asks readers to make energy decisions that are ethical or at least informed. Our maxim of agnosticism asks readers to look beyond a given energy technology to the services it provides and recognize that many systems can provide a desired service. We conclude that decisions in energy are justified by, if not predicated on, beliefs-beliefs which may or may not be supported by objective data, constantly blurring the line between fact, fiction, and frames.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Energy analysis
  • Energy and politics
  • Energy studies research
  • Resolution of energy problems

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