Keyword quiz: an icebreaker method for interdisciplinary teams
By Sebastian Rogga and Anton Parisi
How can members of interdisciplinary teams quickly gain a better understanding of each other’s thematic preferences and skills in a way that is also engaging and fun?
We have developed a “keyword quiz” icebreaker method to facilitate exchange between members of interdisciplinary teams, especially between people who are not complete strangers to each other but are collaborating in a project context for the first time.
In brief, the idea is to communicate each member’s scientific profile based on keywords from publications that the team members have published and that they have selected based on specific categories.
The keywords of a publication are presented visually to the whole group and the team members then guess, in the form of a quiz, which team member published the associated publication.
Inclusive Systemic Thinking for transformative change
By Ellen Lewis and Anne Stephens
What is Inclusive Systemic Thinking and how can it be effective in achieving transformational change? How can it contribute to a more inclusive and equitable world?
Introducing Inclusive Systemic Thinking
We have coined the term Inclusive Systemic Thinking to describe an approach that is influenced by a field of systems thinking called ‘Critical Systems Thinking,’ as well as by the social and behavioural sciences, fourth-wave feminism, and more recently, our work in the global development sector. Inclusive Systemic Thinking uses the ‘GEMs’ framework for complex systemic intersectional analysis based on: Gender equality/equity (non-binary), Environments (natural and/or contextual) and Marginalised voices (human and non-human). We described the GEMS framework in a recent i2Insights contribution, A responsible approach to intersectionality.
Seven methods for mapping systems
By Pete Barbrook-Johnson and Alexandra S. Penn
What are some effective approaches for developing causal maps of systems in participatory ways? How do different approaches relate to each other and what are the ways in which systems maps can be useful?
Here we focus on seven system mapping methods, described briefly in alphabetical order.
1. Bayesian Belief Networks: a network of variables representing their conditional dependencies (ie., the likelihood of the variable taking different states depending on the states of the variables that influence them). The networks follow a strict acyclic structure (ie., no feedbacks), and nodes tend to be restricted to maximum two incoming arrows. These maps are analysed using the conditional probabilities to compute the potential impact of changes to certain variables, or the influence of certain variables given an observed outcome.
Theory of change in inter- and transdisciplinary research
By Josefa Kny, Sabine Hoffmann, Emilia Nagy and Martina Schäfer
What are key functions of theory of change? For what purposes can we use theory of change in inter- and transdisciplinary research?
A theory of change maps the assumed relationships between activities and short-, medium- and long-term changes of an intervention, program or project. It makes assumptions about why and how such changes occur transparent. Theory of change approaches have their origins in theory-based evaluation and Paulo Freire’s theory of societal change (Freire, 1970) and have predominantly been used in development research and practice since the late 1990s.
Four lessons for operating in a different cultural environment
By Nithya Ramachandran
What does it take to operate successfully in a university located in a different culture?
I am an Indian academician working in the Middle-East, specifically in the Sultanate of Oman and share four lessons about teaching and working in a different cultural context. Although the specifics will vary depending on the culture, the general lessons are likely to be more widely applicable.
The four general lessons are:
- Make the most of mentoring
- Be open and responsive to feedback
- Reinforce positive aspects of student behaviours and find ways to counteract the negative
- Enjoy the diversity.
Guiding collaborative conversations and connections with probing questions
By Yulia A. Strekalova and Wayne T. McCormack
How can we ignite discovery conversations and foster open, psychologically safe conversations among researchers from different disciplines who have not met previously?
This blog post is based on the findings of a workshop with pre-doctoral trainees (Strekalova and McCormack 2020), but is likely to have broader relevance. The workshop was structured around the initial steps of Strategic DoingTM (Morrison et al., 2019), a disciplined approach to facilitating complex collaborative projects. The conversations in the room progressed by addressing five key PROBE-Action questions.
Question 1. What personal expertise and interests are represented in the room?
Choosing a suitable transdisciplinary research framework
By Gabriele Bammer
What are some of the key frameworks that can be used for transdisciplinary research? What are their particular strengths? How can you choose one that’s most suitable for your transdisciplinary project?
The nine frameworks described here were highlighted in a series for which I was the commissioning editor. The series was published in the scientific journal GAIA: Ecological Perspectives in Science and Society between mid-2017 and end-2019.
Choosing among them is not a matter of right or wrong, but of each being more or less helpful for a particular problem in a particular context. And, of course, different frameworks can also be used in combination.
The brief descriptions and figures that follow aim to encapsulate each framework’s key strengths.
Integration: The IPO model
By Stephen Crowley and Graham Hubbs
How can we improve our understanding of knowledge integration? What are the elements of integration?
Sometimes what gets integrated are products of science, such as data sets or scientific models. Sometimes it is not the products that are integrated but instead the methods, as can happen on interdisciplinary teams. On these teams, scientists work together, so sometimes it is the people themselves (scientists are people!) or their disciplinary cultures that get integrated.
These are only some of the possible elements of integration. There is just as wide a variety of processes and products of integration as there are elements. The process of integrating data sets might be a sort of analysis, and the result might be a table or graph that displays the results of research in a conspicuous manner. Integrating diverse scientists into an interdisciplinary team, by contrast, is a matter of people working together, and the result of the integration is not a table or a graph but the team itself.