The terms used for indexing blog posts are listed and defined on this page. Each blog post is categorised according to the main topic/s covered and also by the type/s of resource it provides. Additional topics covered are included as tags. The information on this page describes:
- main topics (categories)
- topics (tags)
- resource types (categories)
- list of terms, with their definitions.
Main topics (categories)
These are the key areas relevant to research integration and implementation when addressing complex societal and environmental problems:
- decision support
- research implementation
Essentially complex real-world problems are systems problems, and understanding and addressing them is context-dependent. Communication is essential at all levels of research. Participation by a wide range of disciplines and stakeholders is a key ingredient and should ensure that as much diversity as possible is included in the research. More comprehensive understanding of complex problems requires integration of diverse perspectives and understandings and, ideally, should also integrate unknowns. Bringing about effective change requires research implementation and decision support. Ignoring unknowns can lead to adverse unintended consequences and nasty surprises. Research integration and implementation requires evaluation to assess effectiveness, education to develop expertise in research integration and implementation, and institutionalisation to ensure that the expertise is recognised and rewarded.
Additional relevant terms that embellish these main topics are used as ‘tags’ on the blog posts. For example, ‘collaboration’ is a tag for participation; ‘modelling,’ as relevant, is a tag for systems, participation, decision support, integration and/or unknowns; and ‘promotion and/or tenure’ is a tag for institutionalisation.
There are many specific approaches, associated with professional associations and networks, for tackling complex real-world problems and these are also provided as tags. They include interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, systems thinking, action research and implementation science. Research or education using a specific approach involves at least some of the main topics listed above (eg participation or decision support). Where authors have associated their blog posts with a specific approach, the blog posts are tagged with the name of the approach. The name is then followed by either ‘(general relevance)’ when the topic of the blog post is more broadly relevant to research integration and implementation or ‘(specific)’ when the topic does not have broader relevance to research integration and implementation.
There are several hundred tags, which are listed below (currently incomplete). In addition, each blog post is tagged with the name of each author and with any partner. Authors and partners are not included in the index below; lists of authors and partners are available.
These describe what blog posts present:
Examples are provided as part of the definition for most resource types to help explain how those terms are used.
Clicking on individual “categories” or “tags” in a blog post allows all other blog posts indexed using the same term to be found. Terms are only used for indexing blog posts if the blog post has something substantial to say about that topic. If a blog post simply mentions a topic, it is not indexed using that term. Using the blog’s search function will find all posts that mention a term.
The definitions provided are not dictionary or general-purpose definitions, but instead focus on the relevance of the terms for research integration and implementation. The definitions are necessarily brief; elaborations of the terms can be found in the blog posts themselves.
List of terms, with their definitions
We are currently updating the way blog posts are indexed and you can follow progress on the improvements page.
Examples of how particular methods, concepts or other aspects of research integration and implementation were used to address complex societal or environmental problems. Cases can also describe challenges, unintended consequences or lessons learnt in using methods or concepts in particular circumstances.
- Cristina Zurbriggen’s blog post Creating a pragmatic complexity culture / La creación de una cultura pragmática de la complejidad illustrates the application of the concept “pragmatic complexity culture” in soil protection regimes in Uruguay.
- Katrin Prager’s blog post A co-creation challenge: Aligning research and policy processes describes the challenges of aligning research and policy timelines and processes in a project with the Sachsen-Anhalt Ministry for Agriculture in Germany.
Useful ideas for understanding or undertaking various aspects of research integration and implementation.
- Britt Holbrook’s blog post Interdisciplinarity and evil: understanding incommensurability describes the idea of incommensurability.
Structured ideas, information or principles that provide a systematic way of undertaking or evaluating various aspects of research integration or implementation.
- Catherine Hobb’s blog post Adaptive social learning for systemic leadership provides a five-step learning pathway with operational principles, facets of systemic leadership and useful resources.
Established ways of tackling specific aspects of research integration or implementation.
- Joseph Guillaume’s blog post Blackboxing unknown unknowns through vulnerability analysis describes the method of vulnerability analysis (and an application of the method for dealing with unknown unknowns).
Series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve particular ends. Processes are less well established than methods.
- Anthony Boxshall’s blog post Research impact in government – three crucial elements you will need for success describes three processes to follow to improve research uptake in government policy.
Generally annual reviews of progress on the i2Insights blog. Occasionally some other blog-related topic.
Theories are generalised explanations of how aspects of research integration and implementation work. They guide the development of further understanding. Theories are more firmly grounded in philosophy, other humanities, social sciences or sciences than frameworks.
- Deana Pennington’s blog post Knowledge synthesis and external representations builds on three theories addressing the role of externalizations in enabling people to grapple with understanding complex concepts that may not be familiar to them.
Toolkits are collections of resources for undertaking various aspects of research integration and implementation. They are often, but not always, collections of methods and processes.
- Matthias Bergmann’s blog post Methods for integration in transdisciplinary research describes 43 methods in seven classes that are useful for research integration.
The list that follows contains additions that have still to be added to the list of terms above.
Arnstein’s ladder (Topics, tags)
Sherry Arnstein’s description of 8 levels of public participation in government decision making.
Boundary objects (Topics, tags)
Ideas, artefacts, publications and other ‘objects’ that are used in collaborations to aid common understanding, integration and/or action. They are concrete enough for everyone to recognise and abstract enough to accommodate a range of researcher and/or stakeholder perspectives.
Change (Main topics)
Various aspects of altering society and/or the environment, which may be minor or transformational and which include, but do not necessarily lead to, improvement. Considerations include modifying policy and/or practice in government, business or civil society.
Co-construction (Topics, tags)
An approach to learning where learners work together to build their knowledge. May be used to mean co-creation, co-design, co-innovation or co-production.
Co-creation (Topics, tags)
Stakeholders are involved in the research process, ranging from contributing ideas to being full partners in undertaking the research. May be used to mean co-construction, co-design, co-innovation or co-production.
Co-design (Topics, tags)
Stakeholders are involved in designing the research and in the implementation of the results to ensure that it meets their needs. May be used to mean co-construction, co-creation, co-innovation or co-production.
Co-innovation (Topics, tags)
Stakeholders are involved in collaborative invention and possibly commercialisation of new products, processes or solutions. May be used to mean co-construction, co-creation, co-design or co-production.
Collaboration (Topics, tags)
Individuals or groups working together to undertake research.
Colleges of peers (Topics, tags)
Groups of people with similar expertise in research integration and/or implementation who can effectively assess each other’s research grant applications and publications. This is analogous to the way traditional disciplines operate.
Communication (Main topics)
Sharing information, by various means, especially to increase understanding between people or groups.
Competencies (Resource types)
Knowledge, skills, abilities and attributes required to undertake some or all of research integration and implementation.
Please note that this blog as a whole aims to build expertise in research integration and implementation by sharing methods, concepts, frameworks etc, as well as discussion of competencies.
Example: A series of three blog posts by the Translational Ecology Group describe the competencies required to be a translational ecologist divided into 1) knowledge, 2) skills and 3) dispositional attributes.
Consultation (Topics, tags)
Obtaining stakeholder input or feedback on proposed or active research.
Context (Main topics)
The circumstances in which aspects of research integration and implementation occur. These can include historical, political, cultural and other circumstances, as well as the structure and culture of the research and/or stakeholder organisations involved.
Co-production (Topics, tags)
Stakeholders are involved in joint processes of undertaking research to develop new or revised public policies and services. May be used to mean co-construction, co-creation, co-innovation or co-design.
Decision making (Topics, tags)
Selecting a course of action among several alternate possibilities.
Decision support (Main topics)
Use of analytical tools, which may be computerized, to assist individuals and groups in decision making. Decision support includes various kinds of modelling and mapping.
Deep uncertainty – see Unknown unknowns (Topics, tags)
The Society for Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty provides the following definition “Deep uncertainty exists when parties to a decision do not know, or cannot agree on, the system model that relates action to consequences, the probability distributions to place over the inputs to these models, which consequences to consider and their relative importance. Deep uncertainty often involves decisions that are made over time in dynamic interaction with the system.”
Diversity (Main topics)
Individual differences among researchers and stakeholders that affect the way complex problems are understood and acted on. These include differences in mental models, epistemologies, interests and values.
Education (Main topics)
The process of facilitating learning about aspects of research integration and implementation.
Empowerment (Topics, tags)
A way of conducting research or some other form of participatory process that gives stakeholders (especially those who are marginalized or otherwise in relatively powerless positions) greater control over the process.
Evaluation (Main topics)
Examination of impacts of aspects of research integration and implementation, examining original objectives, what was accomplished and how it was accomplished.
IAP2 spectrum (Topics, tags)
The Public Participation Spectrum of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2). It defines the public’s role in any community engagement program.
Ignorance – see Unknowns (Main topics)
Institutionalisation (Main topics)
Embedding research integration and implementation into the academic mainstream, eg by establishing departments of research integration and implementation, centres of interdisciplinarity, relevant journals and professional associations, funding streams, promotion criteria etc.
Integration (Main topics)
Synthesis of perspectives from different disciplines and stakeholders to develop a more comprehensive understanding of a complex problem and possible ways to act on it.
Interdisciplinarity (general relevance) (Topics, tags)
Interdisciplinarity is a mode of research and problem solving by teams or individuals that integrates information, methods, tools, concepts, perspectives and/or theories from two or more disciplines. Adding (general relevance) means these blog posts address topics that are more broadly relevant to research integration and implementation, not just to interdisciplinarity.
Interdisciplinarity (specific) (Topics, tags)
Interdisciplinarity is a mode of research and problem solving by teams or individuals that integrates information, methods, tools, concepts, perspectives and/or theories from two or more disciplines. Adding (specific) means these blog posts address topics that are relevant only to interdisciplinarity and not to research integration and implementation more broadly.
Journals (Topics, tags)
Academic or scholarly periodicals where concepts, methods, frameworks, processes etc for research integration and implementation are published, often along with cases illustrating their use.
Modelling (Topics, tags)
Models are useful representations of reality, particularly of key features and relationships (and even though models may be complex they are simpler than reality). Models can be informal (mental models) or formal (computational models). Key roles of modelling are to provide a) representations and understanding of systems, including complex systems, b) tools for understanding and managing unknowns, c) tools for decision support, d) participatory processes that expose diversity (eg in mental models) and e) tools for integration (eg of different knowledge and perspectives).
Non-linearities (Topics, tags)
Relationships where changes in inputs do not lead to proportional changes in outcomes. Outcomes may be chaotic, unpredictable, or counterintuitive.
Patterns (Topics, tags)
Patterns are regularities, where the elements repeat in predictable ways. Examples are standard ways of approaching a problem, standard sub-processes in modelling, standard layouts for organising research publications (eg introduction, methods, results, discussion). Patterns can be explicit or tacit.
Participation (Main topics)
A general term for a range of interactions both among researchers with different expertise and between researchers and stakeholders. Participation includes: co-creation, collaboration, co-production, mutual learning and productive disagreement.
Physical environment (Topics, tags)
The natural and/or human-made surroundings in which research and education occur, including landscapes, structures such open offices, spaces that facilitate interaction, proximity to other buildings, lighting, and air circulation.
Relationships (Topics, tags)
Close long-term professional connections among people and/or groups that involve building trust and respect and free exchange of ideas. They are a prelude to and underpin effectively working together.
Research implementation (Main topics)
A general term for various ways of using research to support policy and/or practice change in government, business and/or civil society. Research implementation includes: implementation science, knowledge brokering and knowledge translation.
Research-modified IAP2 spectrum (Topics, tags)
A modified version of the Public Participation Spectrum of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), which lays out different roles for stakeholders in research.
Serendipity (Topics, tags)
The development of insights or research ideas by chance in a beneficial way.
Slow research (Topics, tags)
Resisting the pressures of modern academia to make time for, for example: long-term, high-quality stakeholder engagement; exploring ideas with colleagues; maintaining diverse networks; and deep reflection.
Stakeholders (Main topics)
Those affected by the problem under investigation and those in a position to do something about the problem. Stakeholders include community members, workers, policy makers, professionals, and business leaders.
Surprises (Topics, tags)
Result from unexpected events and are particularly relevant to uncovering unknown unknowns. Are brief mental and physiological states than can be neutral, positive or negative.
Systems (Main topics)
Examination of interrelationships and interconnections and the resulting challenges of setting boundaries (around the problem, stakeholders involved etc), managing multiple perspectives and seeing problems as a whole.
Tacit knowledge (Topics, tags)
Tacit knowledge or unknown knowns is knowledge that individuals, groups and organisations are largely unaware that they have.
Time commitment (Topics, tags)
Requiring additional time (compared to traditional research) in order to successfully complete various elements of research integration and implementation, such as stakeholder participation.
Tipping points (Topics, tags)
Thresholds that, when exceeded, lead to large irreversible changes in systems.
Transdisciplinarity (general relevance) (Topics, tags)
The term transdisciplinarity is used in multiple ways; in these blog posts it is mostly used for building new integrative frameworks and research strategies that transcend disciplinary boundaries and/or involving stakeholders in research and research implementation. Adding (general relevance) means these blog posts address topics that are more broadly relevant to research integration and implementation, not just to transdisciplinarity.
Transdisciplinarity (specific) (Topics, tags)
The term ‘transdisciplinarity’ is used in multiple ways; in these blog posts it is mostly used for building new integrative frameworks and research strategies that transcend disciplinary boundaries and/or involving stakeholders in research and research implementation. Adding (specific) means these blog posts address topics that are relevant only to transdisciplinarity and not to research integration and implementation more broadly.
Translational ecology (Topics, tags)
Translational ecology is a boundary-spanning environmental science that leads to actionable research focused on maintaining or enhancing the resilience of social-environmental systems. Most considerations are more broadly relevant to research integration and implementation.
Unknowns (Main topics)
Aspects of complex problems about which knowledge is missing or incomplete. Unknowns include: known unknowns, unknown knowns (tacit knowledge) , unknown unknowns (deep uncertainty), uncertainty, risk and ignorance.
Unknown knowns – see Tacit knowledge (Topics, tags)
Unknown unknowns (Topics, tags)
What we do not know we do not know. Can occur at individual though to societal levels. Result either from false convictions or unknowns that one is not aware of (see Smithson blog post). Discovering an unknown unknown generally involves surprise. May be used to mean deep uncertainty.