The fundamental notion of EPRM is as follows (Li and Li, 2004):
The 'simulated democracy forum' is artificially created by the EPRM users, and it shares similar characteristics (e.g.
They launch and host the experiment, and should have a good command of the principles, methods and skills of EPRM. Methodology users are also the facilitators to promote the interest expression, debating and coordination of gaming players.
This also reveals the notion of 'meta-synthesis supported' in the full name of EPRM (see Figure 1).
Furthermore, since policy analysts and the users of EPRM have similar knowledge structure and ability, a methodology user could assume the role of policy analyst at the same time in principle.
There exists an obvious difference between the simulated democracy forum of EPRM and the democratic system in reality.
Representatives in democratic system make decisions directly after bargaining and negotiation, whereas EPRM is designed to work in the current Chinese policy-making system: it is often administrative agencies that make the final decision.
Similar to SSM, EPRM is regarding the process of inquiry into the world as a 'consciously organized learning system' (Checkland, 2000, p.
The starting point of EPRM learning cycle is a problematical and messy situation.
The main activities of the EPRM learning cycle involve specific methods or skills.
Therefore, it is of vital importance that the EPRM users have the ability and methods to identify all stakeholders.
EPRM puts emphasis on stimulating pluralistic interest surfacing of various groups, encourages gaming players to describe problems situation from their own perspective of world view and interests, and deems this process as the basis for interest coordination.