What motivates and affects the evolution of a person’s occupational status in a university or research organisation. Also includes the learning involved in newcomers becoming experienced in a research or academic area (also known as legitimate peripheral participation).
What is measured, valued and recognised in the work of university faculty and researchers in a variety of organisations. Includes metrics and criteria for promotion and tenure.
Being responsible for one’s actions, performance, behaviours, decisions and more. Includes taking the blame for poor outcomes based on one’s actions, decisions etc.
These blog posts address topics that are relevant both to ‘action research’ and other research and education addressing complex societal and environmental problems. Action research is a philosophy and a family of methodologies that pursue change (action) and research outcomes at the same time.
These blog posts address topics that are relevant only to ‘action research’ and not other research and education addressing complex societal and environmental problems. Action research is a philosophy and a family of methodologies that pursue change (action) and research outcomes at the same time.
Adaptation is both an adjustment to actual or expected change and the adjustments required to achieve change, with some blog posts focusing more on one than the other. The adjustments aim to moderate or avoid harm and to exploit beneficial opportunities and may require on-going flexibility where there is on-going change.
Activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions in a particular way.
Networks of allies who share the same views about how a policy should be designed and implemented and act together to achieve the desired outcome. For any given policy there may be two or more advocacy coalitions seeking different outcomes.
Building computer simulations of the actions and interactions through prescribed rules of individuals and/or collective entities (such as organisations or groups), known as agents.
A cognitive process useful in problem solving. It involves reasoning by exploring the relationship between prior experience and the current problem or, more generally, transferring information or meaning from a particular subject to another. There is also a more common use of the term analogy which is a linguistic expression comparing things with similar features to help explain an idea.
A range of tools to assist decision making when problems are not well defined or when available information is insufficient for reliable quantitative analysis. The tools are based on conceptual distinctions and logical reasoning.
Sherry Arnstein’s 1969 description of 8 levels of public participation in government decision making.
The physical expression of creativity in objects, environments and experiences which are beautiful or have emotional power. Includes painting, sculpture, architecture, music, theatre, film, dance, literature.
For individuals, assumptions are essentially mental models.
For theories, methods and models, assumptions are generally simplifications that are an important element of allowing the theory, method or model to be constructed and that affect how useful it is.
Informing and/or educating a group of people about an issue. The assumption is that this will change their attitudes, behaviours and/or beliefs and is an essential first step in driving social change.
Philosophical theory and investigation on the nature of value, especially what is good and worthy in life. Axiology incorporates ethics (theory of morality) and aesthetics (theory of taste and of beauty), as well as other forms of value.
Inclinations or prejudices for or against ideas, beliefs, people and groups in ways that are closed-minded and/or unfair. See also cognitive biases.
A classification of educational learning objectives in the cognitive, affective and sensory domains published in 1956 by a committee of educators chaired by Benjamin Bloom. There have been subsequent modifications to this widely-used classification.
Using tools, methods, concepts or theories from one discipline in another discipline.
Examination of what or who is included, excluded and marginalised, when problems are defined and/or stakeholders are chosen to engage with.
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.
Institutionalised bodies or places to connect researchers with policy makers and/or other stakeholders to achieve one or more of the following: facilitate communication and mutual understanding, knowledge exchange, and develop long-term relationships and collaborations.
Complex problems and other open systems have no natural boundaries. Everything relevant cannot therefore be understood or acted on, so that artificial but necessary limits to what will be dealt with must be established.
Work undertaken by individuals or organisations to establish better communication, understanding and joint action among disciplines and stakeholder groups involved in a research environment.
A theoretical framework to measure societal development by focusing on the goals of a flourishing society, especially what people can do and be, rather than a society’s resources.
Description: 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.
Various aspects of altering society and/or the environment, which may range from minor to transformational and which include, but do not necessarily lead to, improvement. Considerations include modifying policy and/or practice in government, business or civil society, as well as planning for the future.
Opposing alterations or suggested alterations to the status quo. This can be by, for example, individuals, groups or organisations. Resistance to change also occurs in natural and social systems.
Methodological framework to decolonise participation and collaboration in research.
The conduct of research by members of the general public, usually in collaboration with, or under the direction of, professional researchers.
An approach to learning where learners work together to build their knowledge. May be used to mean co-creation, co-design or co-production.
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.
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.
Cognitive biases are systematic errors in thinking that adversely affect decisions and judgments. They are usually unconscious and often result from the brain’s attempts to simplify information processing through mental shortcuts (heuristics).
Representing diagrammatically an individual’s or group’s knowledge and ideas about how the world works.
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.
Researchers and stakeholders working hard in an on-going way to interpret and reinterpret their partial understandings of each other.
A specific type of teamwork where participants aim to share decision making power and work in partnerships that are as equal as possible. Collaboration between researchers and stakeholders is also referred to as: co-construction, co-creation, co-design co-innovation or co-production.
The term “collaboration” is used much more loosely in many blog posts and the wider literature. That wider usage is indexed here as “teamwork.”
Differential ability to engage in collaboration because of different access to knowledge and/or funding, different work practices, different role expectations and so on.
Organisations going beyond collaboration to work together to create lasting solutions to a social problem by establishing a centralised infrastructure, staff dedicated to the larger effort and a structured process to foster mutually reinforcing activities.
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.
These blog posts are about a) a lingua franca or shared language among groups who do not have a common native language or b) developing shared terminology when the same term has different meanings for researchers from different disciplines and/or stakeholders, even though they speak the same language.
Sharing information, by various means, especially to increase understanding between individuals or groups.
A process inviting all members of a community to shape a collective understanding of what matters most to them. This is then used to guide planning for the future of the community.
Engaging with community stakeholders when using operational research (advanced analytical methods for problem-solving and decision-making) for community development.
Description: 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.
- 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.
Can be approached from multiple, sometimes competing, perspectives; are hard to delimit; involve critical unresolved unknowns; and have multiple possible solutions, each of which is only partial and temporary and limited by real-world constraints. Please note that this blog as a whole is about addressing complex problems. Blog posts are only tagged with ‘complex problems’ when they describe complex problems.
Complex systems are composed of many components which may interact with each other in various ways and which are therefore difficult to model. Specific properties include non-linearity, emergence, adaptation and feedback loops.
A hands-on three-dimensional tool that allows teams to share and integrate participant competencies, problem definitions, problem maps and more.
Representing diagrammatically ideas and information (as boxes or circles) and the relationships among them (for example, using terms such as ‘causes,’ ‘created by,’ ‘requires’).
Description: 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.
Representing the system of interest in a way that conveys its fundamental details and basic functions for the purposes of understanding and communication.
The tendency to search for, interpret, prefer and recall information in a way that is consistent with or strengthens existing beliefs or hypotheses. This is usually unconscious and is one type of cognitive bias.
Finding a way to deal with serious disagreement or relationship problems. Differs from productive disagreement in that relationships and dialogue have started to break down.
Brings together existing theories, models and frameworks into a systematic assessment of potential barriers and facilitators in implementing research findings into practice.
Obtaining stakeholder input or feedback on proposed or active research.
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.
A term coined by the US National Science Foundation for research on “complex problems focusing on societal needs. It entails integrating knowledge, methods, and expertise from different disciplines and forming novel frameworks to catalyze scientific discovery and innovation” (https://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/convergence/).
Complementary techniques in creative problem solving. The starting point is usually divergent thinking which aims to generate many possible ideas and solutions in a free-flowing manner. Convergent thinking then involves a structured way of organising the ideas and solutions generated to develop an agreed single best solution. Blog posts with this tag may cover only one of these techniques.
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.
Forming something new and valuable, including ideas, theories, inventions and art. Creativity is the generation of something new and valuable, innovation is its implementation in some sort of change (eg policy, practice, product).
The believability of a person, source or message based on trustworthiness and expertise.
Combining idealised design with critical thinking to enable stakeholders (including marginalised stakeholders) and professionals to work together to rethink a service or system, with the possibility of achieving fundamental change.
A framework developed by Werner Ulrich for systematically determining and/or evaluating where boundaries are set (boundary judgments) in a project or program of research.
Investigating issues that involve two or more cultures. Also includes learning from other cultures.
A general term that covers any research, education or practice involving two or more disciplines, including multi-, inter-, and trans- disciplinary research, education or practice.
Cultural models are taken-for-granted understandings of the world that are shared by groups of people. Like a mental model (on an individual scale) a cultural model is a group’s implicit representations of, and thought processes about, what things are and how things work in the real world.
Behaviours and norms shared by groups of people. When the group is a society, culture includes language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. When the group is an organisation, culture includes shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices.
The process of changing beliefs, behaviours and outcomes, usually in an organisation.
Accounting for and reducing biases, particularly in judgments and decision-making.
Undoing colonial influences on research in formerly-colonized countries, including questioning power relationships (especially between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers), relationships with those being researched, and possible distortions in knowledge and methodologies. Valuing indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing.
The circumstances under which a decision is made and which influence the decision.
Selecting a course of action among several alternate possibilities. Posts specifically addressing decision making in a policy context are tagged with “policymaking.”
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.
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.”
Process for creative problem solving and innovation which focuses on understanding the target user and which differs from other creative problem solving processes by developing and testing prototypes of potential solutions.
Conversations to share understandings and, ideally, integrate them into joint meaning. Such conversations are often centred around exploring issues, resolving problems and/or developing consensual proposals for action. The aim is not to convince others, but instead to mutually share openly and honestly. Dialogue can be unstructured, semi-structured or structured. Structured dialogues are helpful when groups get larger.
Diagrammatically representing a live discussion of a problem, focusing on questions, answers, and pro and con arguments, with the aim of obtaining a clearer understanding of the problem (often a complex problem). Dialogue mapping is a specific subset of issue mapping and is often used as a facilitation technique.
When interdisciplinary collaboration defaults to the standard frameworks and methods of a single discipline as an unintended consequence of early decisions made about the project, such as where it is housed, what funding is applied for and data collection methods.
A person’s innate or learned qualities and inclinations, including tendencies to act in specific ways. Dispositions useful for research integration and implementation include humility, curiosity and flexibility.
Generally refers to individual differences among researchers, students and/or stakeholders that affect the way complex problems are understood and acted on. These include differences in mental models, epistemologies, interests and values, as well as other differences such as in problem framing. Can also refer to differences in ways research is conducted and its influences and impacts.
Also known as either/or thinking. A style of thinking that makes meaning in the world by dividing ideas, people, objects, processes and so on into two contrasting fundamental categories, eg good or evil, subject or object, and quantity or quality.
The process of facilitating learning about aspects of research integration and implementation. Formal, usually university, settings are the focus of many blog posts, while others address capacity building in less formal settings and self-education.
New properties or behaviours displayed by an entity that its parts do not have.
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.
Also known as intellectual virtues and vices. Personal characteristics that promote (virtues) or inhibit (vices) intellectual flourishing. Epistemic virtues include humility, creativity, honesty and benevolence. Epistemic vices include arrogance, dogmatism, intellectual dishonesty and closed-mindedness.
The branch of philosophy that investigates the nature, origin and limits of knowledge. Blog posts tagged with ‘epistemology’ address issues relevant to what and how we know, as well as the way knowledge is created. Some deal with diversity in ways of knowing.
Societal guidelines for conduct that determine what is morally correct or incorrect in any given situation.
Examination of impacts of aspects of research integration and implementation, examining original objectives, what was accomplished and how it was accomplished.
An approach to improving health care and services that engages patients and/or other service users plus relevant staff.
Knowledge, skills and experience, generally developed through education and practice, at a level above that of an average person. Henry Collins and Robert Evans (2007 Rethinking expertise. University of Chicago Press, Chicago) identified different kinds of expertise including contributory expertise (which is required to make a substantive contribution to a field) and interactional expertise (the ability to understand disciplines, professional practice and community experience without being trained in those disciplines or professions or having lived in those communities). Contributory expertise can be divided into ‘knowing that’ and ‘knowing how.’
Planning, guiding and managing a group process and environment, by a facilitator. Aims usually include achieving: full participation, mutual understanding, shared purpose and responsibility, and high-quality decisions. There may also be other aims depending on the purpose of the group process.
Not achieving the research objective, including in integration and implementation. Blog posts usually focus on what can be learnt as a result, usually at a more general level.
A feedback loop is a process in which an output of a system is circled back and used as one or more inputs, through direct or indirect causal links. Feedback loops can be reinforcing (positive) or balancing (negative).
Giving information about reactions to, for example, a product, actions, processes, or performance of a task, to be used as a basis for improvement by the recipient.
Investigations specifically concerning issues relevant to indigenous peoples, for example Aborigines and/or Torres Strait Islanders in Australia and Maori in New Zealand.
A systematic process for developing a range of views about how the future could develop. Blog posts may also cover tools for undertaking futures thinking.
Existing and functioning in separate parts, usually referring to the research ‘community’ with expertise in research integration and implementation.
Description: 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.
The expression of shared mental models about a problem or other aspect of reality. It is used by the mass media, politicians, social movements and others to present an issue in a persuasive way that may contribute to some kind of change. Change may require others to reframe how they see the issue. Framing needs to be differentiated from ‘spin’ (using a frame in a manipulative way eg attempting to portray a bad mistake as something innocent) and other ‘propaganda’ (manipulating the public into believe something that is not true).
The provision of money, usually by agencies associated with government, philanthropy, or business, to support research on complex problems that involves integration and implementation.
A participatory method to maximise cohesion across sub-projects in a large project. Members of sub-projects share what they require from other sub-projects, as well as what they can offer to other sub-projects. Requirements (‘takes’) and offers (‘gives’) can include concepts, data, contributions to problem analysis, infrastructure and network contacts.
Formal or informal administrative arrangements, actions and processes, including laws, rules and norms, involved developing stable practices and organisations, at community, country, corporation and other levels.
A democratic decision-making method that allows everyone to report how strongly they agree or disagree with a proposition. This is coupled with pre-determining the level of agreement that needs to be reached, as well as the process to be followed if this does not occur.
Developing a collaborative (and often cross-disciplinary) proposal for financial support from a research funding agency.
A decision (usually poor) that results from a process that prioritises (often unconsciously) agreement over gathering the necessary information for an informed decision, critical reasoning, and/or consideration of alternatives and consequences.
Researcher (usually) who provides decision makers, including policy makers, with the full range of research findings and interpretations and does so in an impartial way that does not favour any particular decision or outcome.
The Public Participation Spectrum of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2). It defines the public’s role in any community engagement program.
A brainstorming method based on writing rather than discussion to expand on ideas, which can include research questions, concepts and study outlines.
Specific method to help individuals uncover issues that are inhibiting change and identify opportunities for improvement.
The study of how to facilitate uptake, effective application and sustainability of research-based practices and policies. Mainly used in health, education and human services, but use of the term is spreading beyond these fields.
Ideas, theories, methods, standards, values and more, often from different disciplines, that have no common basis and are therefore unable to be integrated (for example in interdisciplinary research).
Implementing something new, including a new idea, method, technology or product. Blog posts tagged with innovation usually deal with it in relation to change and/or unknowns. Creativity is the process that underpins innovation.
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.
Engaging a range of disciplines and stakeholders, combining their knowledge about a problem (often through integrated modelling) and making it available for decision making (often for policy making), as well as for societal learning.
Building frameworks with features of society, including economy, and biosphere. Also known as integrated assessment modelling.
Has three dimensions: 1) bringing together people, ideas, values etc that were previously separate, 2) creating a coherent and comprehensive whole from these previously separate parts and 3) staying alert to unknowns and outliers that cannot be synthesised into the new coherent whole.
A scholarly and political endeavour, which can also be thought of as a new discipline. As a scholarly endeavour i2S aims to provide a resources repository that draws on, and contributes to, research tackling complex societal and environmental problems. Such research may be conducted by researchers who have organised into specific approaches (eg transdisciplinarity, action research, systems thinking, implementation science, design thinking), as well as those who do not identify with these groups. This i2Insights blog and the resources repository on the i2S website are key in this activity. As a political endeavour, i2S aims to support recognition of common cause and collective action across researchers tackling complex societal and environmental problems to help institutionalise the competencies, concepts, frameworks, methods, processes and theories employed in such research. Please note that this blog as a whole aims to build resources for integration and implementation sciences (i2S).
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 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.
Examines inputs (I), process (P) and output (O) to provide a more detailed understanding of integration in any particular project.
Representing a problem diagrammatically, focusing on questions, answers, and pro and con arguments, with the aim of obtaining a clearer understanding of the problem (often a complex problem). Dialogue mapping is a specific subset of issue mapping.
Academic or scholarly periodicals where concepts, methods, frameworks, processes etc for research integration and implementation are published, often along with cases illustrating their use.
Those embedded in research teams or institutions who facilitate relationship development and exchange of information between researchers and users of knowledge, including policy makers and practitioners, in order to enhance research implementation.
Formal and informal rules that shape knowledge production, research agenda setting, research financing, sharing and protecting knowledge, implementation of knowledge and other knowledge-based activities. Rules range from social expectations to intellectual property law.
K* covers knowledge brokering, knowledge exchange, knowledge management, knowledge mobilisation, knowledge transfer and knowledge translation, which are all indexed as research implementation.
Pulling together what is known about a problem from either or both of academic research and practical experience. Is one aspect of integration.
The people, practices and institutions (including universities) involved in producing, transferring and using knowledge.
Being in charge of, guiding, encouraging, organising and/or directing other individuals, teams or organisations, especially in achieving research integration and implementation. Blog posts cover leadership competencies, leadership impacts and strengthening leadership.
What is accepted as proper (for researchers and stakeholders) in conducting research on complex problems, including knowledge, concerns, processes and authorisation. For stakeholders, legitimacy also includes whether representatives of stakeholder groups are nominated in an acceptable way.
Places in systems where a small shift in one element can change the behaviour of the whole system or significant parts of the system.
Principles and practices that affect participation and decision making in groups and that seek to move from controlling and constraining participants to including them in creative, respectful and productive ways.
Descriptions, often graphic depictions, of a chain of causes and effects leading to a particular outcome. They often include inputs, activities or processes, outputs, outcomes and impacts. They can be used for planning impacts, as well as evaluating them.
Pathways to impact (or impact pathways) are logic models focused specifically on how research can achieve economic, environmental and/or social change.
Developing a drawing, diagram or other visualisation to show relationships, for example among knowledge, ideas, questions, arguments, people or events.
Explicit expectations and ground rules for meetings, aiming to make them run better. Meetings involve two or more people, occur in many environments and serve multiple purposes, often involving sharing information and/or joint decision making. Conferences are included.
Existing in people’s minds are their private images (or other representations) of, and thought process about, what things are and how things work in the real world. These subjective, incomplete and sometimes flawed simplifications of reality play a major role in how people think, reason and make decisions.
Thinking about thinking, including knowledge about thinking (such as awareness of what one knows and doesn’t know) and the ability to understand, control and manipulate thinking, with the aim of improving thinking, learning and performance.
Description: 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).
Visually organising information, showing ideas in relation to other ideas, with little attention to the nature of the relationships. Often created around a single concept.
Combining quantitative and qualitative data, methods and/or paradigms in a single study or series of studies on the same problem.
Building 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 differences in mental models) and e) tools for integration (eg of different knowledge and perspectives).
The use of more than one language by an individual speaker, group of speakers or organisation in meetings, documents or other communication formats.
Bringing together and attempting to integrate ‘many voices’ ie many ways of understanding, explaining and working on a problem or issue.
Developing and using a web of professional contacts who can, when needed or requested, provide various forms of support including information, resources, insights, feedback, advice, contacts for others, and assistance with dissemination of research findings. Some network connections may develop into relationships.
An alternative term for ‘stakeholders’ that emphasises the expertise brought to projects.
Relationships where changes in inputs do not lead to proportional changes in outcomes. Outcomes may be chaotic, unpredictable, or counterintuitive.
Acronym for Numeral, Unit, Spread, Assessment and Pedigree. Together these allow different sorts of uncertainty to be presented in a standardised way.
The branch of philosophy that investigates ‘being’. Blog posts tagged with ‘ontology’ address issues relevant to the nature of reality and what really exists, including diverse theories and views about these.
A movement to make research processes, data and findings transparent and accessible to all. It includes access to research papers that is open, rather than behind a paywall; open reviewing where the reviewers’ names and comments are made public; and making research processes public eg making researcher notebooks and raw data available online.
Framework for designing a pathway to impact in practice, by considering, among other things, how to: improve the situation, generate knowledge, and support mutual learning. Practices it has been applied to include transdisciplinary research and student-staff partnerships.
A knowledge integration framework exploring where different knowledge systems can and cannot find common ground epistemologically, ethically and ontologically.
Engaging the knowledge of stakeholders, including tacit knowledge, in building models.
How a decision is limited by past decisions, rather than simply by current conditions.
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.
Persistence or continued effort in doing something in order to achieve success, often despite difficulties, delay, failure and opposition.
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.
Setting the course of action to be pursued, especially by government, business or nongovernmental organisations. For governments, policy making includes making or changing laws and regulations, and setting budget priorities. Most blog posts are concerned with how research can influence the policymaking process; some are concerned with better understanding this process.
Please note that many posts in this blog provide ways of improving understanding and action on complex problems that could in turn improve policy making. Blog posts are only tagged with ‘policymaking’ when they are directly concerned with this topic.
A form of enquiry into problems that comes into play when either or both systems uncertainties or decision stakes are high. It encompasses the management of irreducible uncertainties in knowledge and in ethics, and the recognition of different legitimate perspectives and ways of knowing. Problems are set, and the solutions evaluated, by the criteria of the broader communities that are affected. Taken from https://i2insights.org/2021/10/19/guide-to-post-normal-science/.
Possession of control, authority or influence over others and how it impacts the conduct and communication of research, as well as research implementation and change.
Differential ability to exert control, authority or influence over others, especially in deciding what research will be conducted and how.
A rigorous, often quantitative, assessment or statement, about what would be observed in future under specific conditions.
Description: Introductory materials on a particular subject aimed at providing beginners with a solid foundation to build on; also known as a ‘101’.
- In this blog the first primer is a series of blog posts on stakeholder engagement, one of the main topics covered by the blog.
Problems are defined differently by different disciplinary experts and stakeholders. Addressing any problem requires taking these different understandings of the problem into account in developing an agreed (or at least acceptable) statement of the problem, which will then determine how it is tackled. Coming to a shared problem framing will not always be possible, especially for complex problems.
Description: 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.
Turning discomfort, tension, arguments or conflict into dialogue that broadens perspectives and aids learning and creativity.
Review of an organisation’s preparedness for something new, which could, for example, be a new project, some kind of change, or an evaluation.
Experimental research in a specific geographical area such as a city or city district, that involves people living and/or working in that area along with relevant decision-makers. Such research aims to make change happen and is often used in sustainability research.
The process of reflecting on how the research or specific aspects of the research (eg dialogue process, data collection, interpretation) are conducted, especially the influence of the researchers themselves (such as their knowledge, biases, perceptions, motivations etc). Also applies to students and their education.
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.
Different layers and interconnections which affect research conduct, including one or more of individuals, teams, organisations, funding and the communities in which research may be embedded. Ecosystems operate within and across institutions.
Change that can be attributed to research. This includes making a difference in policy or practice, or in skills, attitudes, relationships or thinking. Research implementation is the process, research impact is the outcome, although impact may not be able to be unequivocally linked to specific implementation activities.
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: knowledge brokering, knowledge exchange, knowledge management, knowledge mobilisation, knowledge transfer and knowledge translation, known collectively as K*. Research implementation is a process, change (research impact) is the desired outcome, although it may not be achieved.
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.
Generally, resilience is the ability to bounce-back after adversity. For social-ecological systems it is the capacity to absorb or withstand perturbations and other stressors while maintaining their essential structure and functions. Resilience describes the degree to which a system is capable of self-organization, learning and adaptation.
Detailed (rich) drawings of complex or ill-defined problems that aim to capture multiple facets and understandings (objective and subjective) of the problems in ways that do not privilege particular points of view. The aim is to reflect a problem in all its complexity to aid in understanding the problem. Developed as part of soft systems methodology, but also more widely used.
Ceremonies, actions or group behaviours used in a customary way to align a research process with a set of values. An example is passing around a decorative object during a dialogue process to signify a person’s turn to speak, in order to enact the value of ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to be heard.
Using temporary structures, techniques, ideas, spaces etc to help those new to aspects of research integration and implementation understand and use concepts, methods and processes that are hard to grasp. Scaffolding is often provided by an educator or facilitator.
The unit of analysis, usually geographical region for spatial scale, time period for temporal scale and institutional level for organisational scale.
Moving from a single successful project or pilot study to a community- or population- wide implementation, usually of an innovative evidence-based practice.
A field focused on understanding, managing and evaluating circumstances that affect the effectiveness of teamwork and collaboration (team science and team scholarship are included under teamwork).
The process of identifying all aspects of a problem that are important, including discipline experts and stakeholders who should be involved in developing understanding and action. This is followed a process of boundary setting, ie setting priorities for the approach that will be taken.
An on-going process of refinement of plausible understandings and effective actions in situations of high complexity and uncertainty.
The development of insights or research ideas by chance in a beneficial way.
Simulations of real social or environmental problems as – usually – board games or video games to be played by groups of stakeholders, researchers and/or students. After the game is played there is generally a discussion among players and the researchers who developed the game about insights gained into the problem and ways of dealing with it. Outcomes include: increased awareness of issues, deeper understanding and opportunities to exchange knowledge, opportunities to test options for decisions or action, and training for crisis situations.
Also situation analysis. Process of critically evaluating the internal and external conditions that affect a project or an organisation, usually undertaken prior to a change or as part of an evaluation.
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.
The process of gaining insight through iterative reflection that occurs when two or more people share ideas, experiences and other forms of knowledge and perception. May also be referred to as mutual learning.
A way of studying and visualising relationships, interactions and communications between people, organisations and other entities.
A seven-step method for systematically tackling ill-structured problems ie there is no clear view on what the problem is or what actions should be taken.
Various ways of including stakeholders in research in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the problem, provide ideas about addressing it and/or help the research to support policy or practice change. Stakeholders are those affected by the problem under investigation and those in a position to do something about the problem. Stakeholders include “non-certified experts,” such as those with Indigenous or local knowledge.
A series of blog posts providing an introduction to stakeholder engagement is also available.
Description: Reviews of progress on the i2Insights blog (generally annual). Occasionally some other blog-related topic.
A social and cultural activity for sharing and interpreting knowledge and experiences, and for education.
Interactive tool to allow a range of stakeholders involved in a planning situation incrementally deal with uncertainty and make decisions.
Seeking to bring about improvement by amplifying the inherent strengths of individuals, families, groups and/or organisations. In contrast to deficit approaches which concentrate on problems and weaknesses.
Failure to meet human needs, causing avoidable physical and mental harm in sectors of society, and resulting from longstanding ubiquitous social systems and structures that normalise disparities in power and access to resources.
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.
Description: Review of common themes among two or more blog posts.
Foster, but do no conduct, collaborative research on complex problems by bringing together interdisciplinary groups for extended periods in collegial settings. Often provide expertise in information technology aimed at assisting groups to use existing datasets, as well as providing expert facilitation.
Focuses on circular, interlocking and sometimes time delayed relationships, with feedback as the central concept. Involves defining problems dynamically and includes mapping (causal loop diagrams) and modelling stages. Blog posts may deal with only one method from a system dynamics approach, such as causal loop diagrams or change over time graphs.
In a research context, involving stakeholders as full partners in ways that 1) ensure engagement of all relevant stakeholders including those who are marginalised and powerless, 2) facilitate synergy rather than conflict and 3) use modelling and other methods to enhance awareness of the relevant systems.
Systems can be natural or made by humans and occur in all aspects of life, including the environment, culture, society, biology, technology and behaviour. Systems can be open to their environment or closed, and can vary in level of complexity. Systems are comprised of dynamically interacting elements, with the whole being “more than the sum of its parts.” The interrelationships also mean that a change to any part of a system may have greater or lesser effects on other parts (“everything is connected to everything else”). Systems tend to be resistant to change and maintain their identity under a range of conditions.
Blog posts categorised under systems may be about particular systems, covering some or all of these issues, or they may be about approaches to understanding or working with systems such as modelling or scoping.
Dynamic phenomena or patterns of behaviour that recur in different contexts and that provide insights into what drives systems. They are useful for understanding similarities among problems and provide shortcuts to identifying effective interventions.
Leadership that can see the larger system and engage with relevant people and organisations in order to co-create transformative change.
Tacit knowledge or unknown knowns is knowledge that individuals, groups and organisations are largely unaware that they have.
All aspects of individuals, groups or teams working together, especially to undertake research, including processes, requirements and lessons from experience. Team work can involve only researchers or can also include students and/or stakeholders. Teamwork also includes team science and team scholarship.
These blog posts explain particular terms in research integration and implementation and/or discuss the meaning of particular terms.
Description: Generalised explanations of how aspects of research integration and implementation work. They guide the development of further understanding. Theories are more firmly grounded (than frameworks are) in philosophy, other humanities, social sciences or sciences.
- 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.
A process to plan change or evaluate the effectiveness of actions taken and a product that links long-term goals with a step-by-step pathway.
A change management method to improve unproductive patterns of behaviour.
Helps researchers specifically consider three aspects of any problem, when both understanding and change are sought. These are a) what is known or needs to be better understood about the problem as it currently stands (systems knowledge), b) what is the desired future (target knowledge), and c) how can we get from the current to the desired situation (transformation knowledge).
Requiring additional time or sequestered time (compared with traditional research) in order to successfully complete various elements of research integration and implementation, such as stakeholder participation or intensive interaction among researchers.
Thresholds that, when exceeded, lead to large irreversible changes in systems.
Uses a questionnaire and workshop to trigger dialogue among collaborators from different disciplines and professions in order to uncover different and similar assumptions about research. The questionnaire is philosophically grounded, covering metaphysical and epistemic aspects of research.
Description: 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.
Professional roles supporting transformational sustainability research and education projects, especially by organising and facilitating collaborative processes in such projects.
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.
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.
Guiding principles and criteria for planning and evaluating transdisciplinary research.
Irreversible change to a radically different future state requiring new mindsets, behaviours and ways of being.
Also transformation systems. Multiple people and groups working systemically to shift status quo systems towards being more equitable, regenerative and sustainable in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and staying within planetary boundaries.
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.
To have confidence in attributes such as the integrity, ability and reliability of someone (eg other researchers) or something (eg a model).
Researchers with two sets of skills, namely depth in a discipline or field (the vertical bar of the T) and expertise in collaborating across disciplines (the horizontal bar of the T).
Adapted from Māori culture to acknowledge that different people are the experts in different contexts. Tuākana is the senior or leader role and tēina is the junior or novice role. Can be usefully applied in cross-cultural research, where those from one culture will be senior in some aspects of the research and junior in other aspects.
A state of limited knowledge. Uncertainty is a subset of ‘unknowns’ and generally a known unknown (ie an unknown one is aware of). In the blog posts, however, ‘uncertainty’ is often used interchangeably with ‘unknowns’. Some blog posts are about dealing with uncertainty.
Failure to recognise and implement a research tool (which includes theories, concepts, methods and capabilities) that would criticise and challenge “past and present untruths, injustices and unethicalities.” (Quotation taken from https://i2insights.org/2021/04/06/research-perpetuating-injustices/.)
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.
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.
Evaluation planned and conducted with the primary intended users so that the findings are more likely to be taken up in decision making and performance improvement.
Individual principles and ideals that guide a person’s attitudes, behaviours and actions. These principles and ideals are ranked relative to one another, so that each person’s values form an ordered system of priorities that characterise the person. Values can also operate at an organisational or community level.
A tool for examining organizational systems and subsystems and how they can adapt to a changing environment.
Imagining a desirable outcome, for example, what a research project could produce or a societal change that could be achieved.
Any technique for communicating ideas (abstract or concrete), information, situations etc through creation of some kind of image, diagram, map, animation or game.
A way of examining decision making or co-creation by exploring interactions among values, rules and knowledge.
Favourable opportunity when taking immediate action is likely to achieve a desired outcome. If the opportunity is missed, the possibility of action is lost. In a government policy context, political scientist John Kingdon argued that alignment between the problem, the policy and the politics created a “policy window” for change.