The Structure Of Complex Issues

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

We live in a world of complex issues, which can be very frustrating. I have been doing research on the generic structure of issues for a long time. There is an underlying pattern that might be helpful to know about. I call it the issue tree. What follows is necessarily simplified to fit into a short article, but it is still a big step forward.

By a complex issue I mean one that generates a lot of discussion. Policy issues are a good example, as these can involve hundreds or even thousands of articles and comments. The issue tree explains how this happens.

The graphic below shows a simple start to an issue tree. First there is a starter statement, followed by three responses, each of which also gets three responses. In policy cases the starter might be a radical proposal for dealing with a…

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