Linking stakeholder research needs and the federal data quality act: a case study of an endangered forest shrub in the southeastern Unitd States
The need for knowledge, ranging from development of new products or processes to the effects of specific actions on the environment, is greater now than at any point in the past. The greater need for research has generated stakeholder involvement in the research process. As a result, all facets of research, from planning through publication of results, are often scrutinized by stakeholders. While the basic nature of scientific inquiry has not changed, now more than ever the credibility of scientific results is based on thorough planning, peer reviews of experimental designs and analytical approaches, and assurance that data are of the highest quality. Public interest in the quality and accuracy of federal research rose to a level that resulted in the Data Quality Act of 2001. The Act required the establishment of guidelines for Federal research organizations and cooperators. We present a case study of the U. S. Forest Service's policies for research quality assurance and quality control, including developing quality assurance statements and plans, as applied to comprehensive research on the federally-listed, endangered forest shrub pondberry (Lindera melissifolia (Walt.) Blume).