By Katie Moon, Chris Cvitanovic, Deborah A. Blackman, Ivan R. Scales and Nicola K. Browne
How can we reduce the barriers to successful integrative research processes? In particular, how can we understand the different epistemologies that underpin knowledge?
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that asks: how do we know what we know? It is concerned with how we can ensure that knowledge is both adequate and legitimate, by considering:
- what constitutes a knowledge claim, including the assumptions that are made
- how knowledge is produced or acquired
- how the extent of its applicability can be determined.
Accordingly, understanding and accounting for different epistemologies is important for developing solutions to contemporary challenges where a range of disciplines and practices converge, each with their own methods and assumptions regarding the adequacy and legitimacy of knowledge.
To help researchers understand different epistemologies and their influence on integrative research practices we have come up with five questions they can ask themselves (and one another).