By Gabriele Bammer
What skills should every researcher involved in stakeholder engagement seek to cultivate? What key tools for engaging stakeholders should they be familiar with?
In the next two blog posts, I present key skills and tools that are essential for engaging with stakeholders. Understanding these skills can help teams decide who would be best among their members to be responsible for stakeholder engagement. Those involved in stakeholder engagement can also work to strengthen these skills to underpin other useful methods such as surveys, interviews, focus groups and participatory modelling.
This blog post presents skills involved in listening and dialogue. The next presents tools for generating ideas and reaching agreement.
Listening to understand
By Ana M. Corbacho
How can interdisciplinary courses for undergraduates move from being intuitively designed to theoretically based? How can course design accommodate cohorts of teachers, not previously experienced in interdisciplinarity, from across a university?
Here I share how colleagues and I developed courses where teams of university faculty worked with undergraduate students to tackle interdisciplinary problems.
I first describe three useful theoretical perspectives for building an interdisciplinary undergraduate course, namely:
- social constructivism and situated-learning theory
- academic motivation
- interdisciplinary education from a diversity perspective.
By Gabriele Bammer
How can researchers ensure that stakeholder contributions ― whether through consultation, involvement or collaboration ― are properly valued? What steps can researchers take to make stakeholder participation as effective as possible? How can damaging pitfalls be avoided?
Researchers can make the stakeholder engagement process maximally effective by paying attention to the following three aspects:
- ensuring credibility, relevance and legitimacy of stakeholder contributions
- accommodating stakeholder motivations, expertise and ability to participate
- avoiding or managing potential pitfalls.
1. Ensuring credibility, relevance and legitimacy of stakeholder participation
By Paul Bolger
One of the most substantial structural changes and investments to support interdisciplinarity within universities has been the widespread establishment of research institutes. Many have made the pursuit of interdisciplinary collaboration a central goal in their research mission. Biancani and colleagues (2014) have likened research institutes to a semi-formal organisation occupying a plane between the formal university and informal research teams. Membership of the semi-formal organisation is voluntary and researchers and groups can flexibly come together for short or long periods and depart when no longer needed.
How do these entities establish collaborative communities, and create the conditions necessary for effective interdisciplinary research?
By Steven Lade
What do you think about mathematical modelling of ‘wicked’ or complex problems? Formal modelling, such as mathematical modelling or computational modelling, is sometimes seen as reductionist, prescriptive and misleading. Whether it actually is depends on why and how modelling is used.
Here I explore four main reasons for modelling, drawing on the work of Brugnach et al. (2008):
By Helen Tilley, Louise Shaxson, John Young, and Louise Ball
How can research influence public policy so that it is based on the best-available evidence? What different ways of working are required of researchers? Here are 10 things researchers from the UK’s Overseas Development Institute have found helpful.
1. Know what you want to influence
By Catherine Hobbs
What’s involved in developing human capacity to address complexity, taking a mid- to longer-term viewpoint than is usual? How can we create the conditions in which people can cope with the daily challenges of living in a complex world and flourish? What form of leadership is required to inspire and catalyse this transformation?
Framework for adaptive social learning
The need for systems thinking is often referred to, but rarely considered, as a rich and comprehensive resource which could be developed further and applied. A critical systems thinking approach suggests that a variety of approaches should be drawn upon, in a manner of methodological pluralism, being aware of the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches and applying them adaptively using synthesis as well as analysis.
By Vincenzo Politi
Where does the term incommensurability come from? What is its relevance to interdisciplinarity? Is it more than plain difference? Does incommensurability need to be reconceptualized for interdisciplinarity?
Incommensurability: its origins and relevance to interdisciplinarity
‘Incommensurability’ is a term that philosophers of science have borrowed from mathematics. Two mathematical magnitudes are said to be incommensurable if their ratio cannot be expressed by a number which is an integer. For example, the radius and the circumference of a circle are incommensurable because their ratio is expressed by the irrational number π.