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CADDIS Volume 5

Interactive Conceptual Diagrams (ICDs)

[NOTICE] As of November 2020, the ICD application is no longer functional due to programming limitations. The text and links below provide background information related to conceptual diagrams and the ICD application for archival purposes, but users are now unable to access the ICD application itself. The evidence included in the ICD is accessible through CADLink. We are currently evaluating options for future development of evidence diagramming tools. Please contact us if you have questions about the ICD or any of the CADDIS causal database tools.

About Conceptual Diagrams and the ICD Application

In CADDIS, conceptual diagrams are used as visual tools for structuring causal assessments of stream biological impairmentHelpimpairmentA detrimental effect on the biological integrity of a waterbody that prevents attainment of the designated use.s. They are developed as part of Step 2 (List Candidate Causes) of the Stressor Identification process.

These diagrams illustrate hypothesized pathways by which human activities, sources and stressors may lead to biotic responses. The ICD application builds on this role by linking supporting literature to hypothesized causal pathways. These diagrams then serve as front-ends for searching an online citation database of this literature-based evidence.

By organizing literature evidence along the causal pathways in conceptual diagrams, the ICD application shows where evidence for different pathways is strongest, weak or lacking. It can help structure your causal assessment and aid in communicating and defending assessment results, by linking evidence to causal pathways in your conceptual diagram.

Literature evidence already entered into the ICD database can give you a better understanding of how sources, stressors and responses may operate in your system. The database allows you to quickly and efficiently access scientific literature relevant to specific cause-effect linkages.

Additional Information

  • Norton and Schofield 2017 Exit provides more detailed discussion of the use of conceptual diagrams as evidence scaffolds.
  • The ICD User Guide provides more detailed information on how the ICD Application allowed users to view, create, and link literature-based evidence to conceptual diagrams.

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