Outcome measures in research about treatment and service provision may not seem a particularly controversial or even exciting domain for citizen involvement. Although the research landscape is changing – partly as a result of engaging stakeholders in knowledge production and its effects – the design of outcome measures has been largely immune to these developments.
The standard way of constructing such measures – for evaluating treatment outcomes and services – has serious flaws and requires an alternative that grounds them firmly in the experiences and situations of the people whose views are being solicited. Continue reading →
I am a firm believer in looking at interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge exchange – or impact generation – as processes. If you can see something as a process, you can learn about it. If you can learn about it, you can do it better!
I find that this approach helps people to feel enfranchised, to believe that it is possible for them to open up what might have seemed to be a static black box and achieve understanding of the dynamics of how nouns like ‘interdisciplinarity’ or ‘knowledge exchange’ or ‘research impact’ can actually come to be. Continue reading →
This is the first annual “state of the blog” review.
This is a blog for researchers who:
want better concepts and methods for understanding and acting on complex real-world problems – problems like refugee crises, global climate change, and inequality.
are intrigued by the messiness of how components of a problem interact, how context can be all-important and how power can stymie or facilitate action.
understand that complex problems do not have perfect solutions; instead that “best possible” or “least worst” solutions are more realistic aims.
enjoy wrangling with unknowns to better manage, or even head-off, unintended adverse consequences and unpleasant surprises.
are keen to look across the boundaries of their own expertise to see what concepts and methods are on offer from those with different academic backgrounds grappling with other kinds of problems.
want to join forces to build a community which freely shares concepts and methods for dealing with complex problems, so that these become a stronger part of the mainstream of academic research and education.
November saw this blog’s first anniversary and this 100th blog post reviews what we are aiming for and how we are tracking. Continue reading →
Do we need a protocol for documenting how research tackling complex social and environmental problems was undertaken?
Usually when I read descriptions of research addressing a problem such as poverty reduction or obesity prevention or mitigation of the environmental impact of a particular development, I find myself frustrated by the lack of information about what was actually done. Some processes may be dealt with in detail, but others are glossed over or ignored completely.
For example, often such research brings together insights from a range of disciplines, but details may be scant on why and how those disciplines were selected, whether and how they interacted and how their contributions to understanding the problem were combined. I am often left wondering about whose job it was to do the synthesis and how they did it: did they use specific methods and were these up to the task? And I am curious about how the researchers assessed their efforts at the end of the project: did they miss a key discipline? would a different perspective from one of the disciplines included have been more useful? did they know what to do with all the information generated? Continue reading →