Additional information about the index

This page provides information about how the index was constructed. The index is available at the ‘List of terms with definitions‘ page.

In April 2021 the list of terms and definitions (as it then stood) was included on BioPortal, under Integration and Implementation Sciences Vocabulary. BioPortal is “the world’s most comprehensive repository of biomedical ontologies.” We were delighted to be invited to contribute and anticipate that the i2Insights vocabulary will be useful for those undertaking interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, systems and related work on complex biomedical, social and environmental problems.

Each blog post contributed to i2Insights 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)

These are the key areas relevant to research integration and implementation when addressing complex societal and environmental problems:

  • change
  • communication
  • context
  • decision making
  • diversity
  • education
  • evaluation
  • institutionalisation
  • integration
  • research implementation
  • stakeholder engagement
  • systems
  • teamwork
  • unknowns.

Research dealing with any complex societal or environmental problem has three overlapping dimensions:

  1. developing a more comprehensive understanding of the problem, both what is known and what is not known
  2. generating ideas about addressing the problem, including what may and may not work
  3. supporting improved policy and practice responses to the problem by government, business and civil society.

Such research involves integration of multiple and varied perspectives about the problem and insights into acting on it, all the while not losing sight of unknowns and outliers that do not fit neatly into a synthesized package, especially as these can be the sources of adverse unintended consequences and nasty surprises. It also involves research implementation and the best-possible decision making to underpin policy and practice change.

Research integration and implementation require a systems perspective, incorporating context and seeking out diversity in participants, ideas, mental models, epistemologies, values and more. It requires teamwork by researchers from different disciplines, along with stakeholder engagement, with those affected by the problem and those in a position to do something about it. Communication and dialogue about the research problem, the research process and the findings underpin effective research and action.

Research integration and implementation requires evaluation to improve effectiveness, education to develop expertise in research integration and implementation, and institutionalisation to ensure that the expertise is recognised, widely adopted and rewarded.

Changes to the main topics: In August-September 2021, we added two new categories “stakeholder engagement” and “teamwork” and removed the previous categories “participation” and “stakeholders.” In April 2022, we swapped decision making from a tag to a main topic and decision support from a main topic to a tag.

Topics (tags)

Additional relevant terms that embellish these main topics are used as ‘tags’ on the blog posts. For example, ‘scaling up’ is a tag for change and ‘modelling,’ as relevant, is a tag for systems, teamwork, decision making, integration and/or unknowns.

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 teamwork or decision making). 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.

The list of tags in the index is added to as required when new blog posts are published.

Tags for authors, partners, primers and languages

The following tags are not included in the index.

Each blog post has a separate tags for the name of each author; see also list of authors.

Where relevant, blog posts are also tagged with the name of the blog partner involved in its development.

Where blog posts are part of a primer they are tagged with the name of the primer; currently there are primers on  stakeholder engagement and understanding diversity.

Where blog posts have been translated into another language, they are also tagged with the name of that language – currently Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. (We also provide easy access to Google Translate in the right-hand menu bar.)

Resource types

These describe what blog posts present:

  • cases
  • competencies
  • concepts
  • frameworks
  • methods
  • primer
  • processes
  • state-of-the-blog
  • synthesis blog posts
  • theories
  • toolkits.

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.

How terms are defined

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.