The aim of the DANA project is to construct a workbench to support policy analysts in their representation and analysis of information on actors (organizations, stakeholder groups, or individuals) that play a role in some policy situation.
The design of the workbench is largely determined by the underlying method of actor network analysis. This method (dynamic actor network analysis = DANA) leads the analyst to think in terms of actors who all have their own problem perception. By making these perceptions explicit in a qualitative, conceptual language and then perform different types of comparative analysis, the analyst sharpens her insight not only in the policy situation at hand, but also in her own reasoning (analyst as reflective practitioner). The representations of actor perceptions may also serve as (organizational) memory and as a basis for discussion amongst analysts and/or actors.
DANA is not an established theory, but the formalization of the kind of approaches that can be found in policy literature. Without this formalization, automated analysis of an actor network would be impossible. Unfortunately but inevitably, formalization leads to a loss of nuance which may cause the computer to produce oversimplified analyses. The development of DANA and its supporting workbench should therefore be seen as an experiment to test the added value (by enhancing reflection, producing original insights, serving as external memory, or otherwise) of formal actor analysis.
Last update 2004-05-23