The “how” of integration focuses on pragmatics of process, with emphasis on methods. Toward that end, following the part 1 blog post on the “what” of integration, this blog post presents insights from major resources, with emphasis on collaborative research by teams.
Some widely used methods are well-known theories, for example general systems. Others are practiced in particular domains, such as integrated environmental assessment. Some utilize technologies, for example computer synthesis of data. And others, such as dialogue methods, target communication processes.
Integration lies at the heart of inter- and transdisciplinarity. Klein & Newell (1996) call it the “acid test” of interdisciplinarity, and Pohl, van Kerkhoff, Hirsch Hadorn, & Bammer (2008) consider it “the core methodology underpinning the transdisciplinary research process.”
What exactly, though, is integration?
This blog post answers that question while identifying key resources.
How can all the possibilities for understanding and acting on a complex social or environmental problem be elucidated? How can a fuller appreciation of both the problem and the options for tackling it be developed, so that the best approach to dealing with it can be identified? In other words, how can a problem be scoped?
The point of scoping is to illuminate a range of options. It moves those dealing with the complex problem beyond their assumptions and existing knowledge to considering the problem and the possibilities for action more broadly.
Practicalities, however, dictate that everything cannot be included, so that scoping is inevitably followed by boundary setting.
How can we effectively teach interdisciplinary research to undergraduate and masters students? What is needed to encompass research ranging from cultural analysis of an Etruscan religious symbol to the search for a sustainable solution for tomato farming in drying areas? Given that there is no predetermined set of theories, methods and insights, as is the case with disciplinary research, what would an interdisciplinary textbook cover? How can such a textbook accommodate the fact that interdisciplinary research usually requires students to collaborate with each other, for which they also need to be able to articulate their own cognitive processes? Understandably, a textbook for interdisciplinary research must focus in a rather general sense on the process implied in such research.
In teaching more than 15 cohorts of undergraduate and masters students at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS) at the University of Amsterdam, who are conducting research projects in interdisciplinary teams and with a strong emphasis on empirical research, we have developed an IIS model. This model is arranged in four research phases: orientation, preparation, data (collection and analysis) and finalization. The key tasks in each phase are summarised in the following figure.
La mayoría de los recientes enfoques para abordar problemas complejos no incluyen la dimensión política. Por otra parte, la ciencia política, así como los estudios de política pública y de gobierno contemporáneo han realizado escasas contribuciones al tratamiento de los procesos de toma de decisiones desde dinámicas complejas.
¿Cómo podemos desarrollar marcos innovadores que incorporen la dimensión política? ¿Cómo podemos articular la producción conocimiento considerando también la forma en que pensamos acerca de la política, la rendición de cuentas y la responsabilidad social? En concreto, ¿cuál es la dimensión política del proceso de co-creación de conocimiento y cuáles son las implicaciones de la participación política, la experimentación y el aprendizaje colectivo?
As scholars working within disciplines, we ascribe to certain theories, assumptions, and tools that position us within an intellectual community. As scholars working within fields, we focus our inquiry on specific interactions between the natural world and elements of human endeavor.
Being situated within these two spheres – as translational ecologists and other translational scientists are – carries with it certain tensions that can be challenging to navigate: Ultimately, who constitutes our target audience? How do we balance contribution to discipline through the development of theory with contribution to the field through recommendations for practice? Perhaps most importantly, how do we maximize our impact?
Co-creation aims at genuine and meaningful interaction among researchers, service providers, policy makers, consumers, and other key stakeholders. It is also known as co-production, co-design and co-construction. Co-creation is often a buzzword with fuzzy meanings of who collaborates with whom, when and how (processes) and to what end (outcomes) in addressing sustainability and other complex problems. Yet there is emerging evidence on best practices of co-creation. Although this evidence is mostly based on individual case studies or comparisons of small sets of cases, the following eight strategies provide valuable guidance for researchers and practitioners.
What kinds of change can implementation of research findings contribute to? Sometimes the aim is to make change happen, while at other times research implementation is in response to particular proposed or ongoing change.
Making change happen
Two ways of making change happen that are important for research impact are: 1) contributing to the on-going quest for improvement and 2) combatting practices or behaviours that have negative outcomes for individuals or society.
Examples of contributing to the quest for ongoing improvement include technological research such as invention of thinner lenses to revolutionise cameras and social research such as development and implementation of a disability insurance scheme.
Why Integrated Assessment and Integrated Modelling? In our highly connected world environmental problems have social or economic causes and consequences, and decisions to assist one segment of a population can have negative repercussions on other parts of the population. It is broadly accepted that we require integrated, rather than piecemeal approaches to resolve environmental or other complex problems.
Integrated Assessment and its inherent platform, Integrated Modelling, bring together diverse knowledge, data, methods and perspectives into one coherent and comprehensive framework. This process of organizing and synthesizing multiple forms of information across disciplinary and conceptual boundaries allows us to explore linkages and feedbacks between different parts of the system, as well as the trade-offs involved with alternative management interventions on different socioeconomic and environmental criteria.
As a researcher, do you seek to inform change, drive it or trigger it? Informing change involves providing the best facts and evidence, driving change means working to achieve a particular research-based outcome, and triggering change involves solving a problem that sets in train a chain of effects that go far beyond the research itself. They involve different skills and have different risks.
Informing is probably the most common way in which researchers seek to achieve impact and much has been written about good communication strategies to make research published in peer-reviewed journals and books more accessible.
Informing is probably the most common way in which researchers seek to achieve impact and much has been written about good communication strategies to make research published in peer-reviewed journals and books more accessible. This includes effective use of social media and producing short, punchy, well-targeted verbal or written articles or briefs.