Helping scientists reflect on their relationship with rivers via frames

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Downloads (Pure)


Reflecting on practice is valuable for river scientists, but rarely part of their expected skillset or practice. This paper demonstrates how considering metaphors in written, verbal and visual discourse can help rivers scientists reflect on their practice. Under-standing the language they use is important for river scientists and their communities, as frames influence how issues are defined and addressed. Here, I explore the frames used by a selection of river scientists and managers. I examined the abstracts of all papers published in the journal River Research and Applications in 2002 (n=43) and 2021 (n=75), using an inductive metaphor analysis. The rivers in the abstracts appear to be framed in 15 ways. The River as Damaged frame provided justification for action, often by scientists as indicated by the River as Laboratory frame, but also by other experts as suggested by framing the River as a Machine, Ledger and Battle-field, with underlying elements of control through tasks based on expert knowledge. A few abstracts used other frames such as River as Art, River as Spirit or River as Market, and these were the only frames that did not occur in both sets of abstracts. I demonstrate how frames such as these can be used as a starting point for reflecting on practice. Recognizing frames in use can be a pathway for river scientists and their communities to reflect on their relationships with rivers, and the implications of those relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalRiver Research and Applications: an international journal devoted to river research and management
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Helping scientists reflect on their relationship with rivers via frames'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this