Graduate Project


Looking for 'common ground' in genetically modified crops policy : an interview-based study Public Deposited

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  • Over 90 percent of the soy, cotton, and corn sold in the United States are genetically modified crops (GM crops). However, there was a 209 percent growth in USDA certified organic food from 2005-2015, reflecting a growing interest in non-GMO food. The policy debate over GM crops takes place between polarized groups that hold entrenched positions. To promote dialogue and policy innovation, in this research project, I examined common ground in the debate over GM crops. This issue is an ideal fit for Narrative Policy Analysis (NPA) as defined by Roe (1994), specifically, it is a science-related issue marked by uncertainty, complexity, and polarization. Narrative elements described by the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) were identified within interview data and analyzed using the NPA approach. Narrative elements and themes from NPF analysis used by interviewees on both sides were identified to find common ground. Per the NPA approach, narratives that take the concerns of all sides seriously, i.e. metanarratives, were also constructed. In this work, interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of participants in the debate over GM crops as identified in the literature. Interviewees included academics from disciplines considered to be enthusiastic or skeptical about GM crops, representatives of National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition members, and biotechnology industry personnel. Based on the interview data, several points of common ground in this debate were found using NPF analysis. Also, metanarratives that could create “new agendas” for this issue were successfully constructed based on strong evidence from the interview data.
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