What transdisciplinary researchers should know about evaluation: Origins and current state

By Wolfgang Beywl and Amy Gullickson

authors_wolfgang-beywl_amy-gullickson
1. Wolfgang Beywl (biography)
2. Amy Gullickson (biography)

Efforts to develop evaluation in transdisciplinary research have mostly been conducted without reference to the evaluation literature, effectively re-inventing and re-discussing key concepts. What do transdisciplinary researchers need to know to build on the in-depth knowledge available in evaluation science?

Here we add to other key contributions about evaluation in i2Insights, especially:

Read more

Pause… How art and literature can transform transdisciplinary research

By Jane Palmer and Dena Fam

authors_jane-palmer_dena-fam
1. Jane Palmer (biography)
2. Dena Fam (biography)

What might make us stop and think differently about the ways in which we interact with our environment and others, human and nonhuman? What kind of knowing about acute threats to the natural environment will sufficiently motivate action?

We suggest that art and literature can offer us a pause in which we might, firstly, imagine other less anthropocentric ways of being in the world, and secondly, a way into Basarab Nicolescu’s “zone of non-resistance” (2014, p. 192), where we become truly open to new transdisciplinary forms of collaboration.

Read more

Insights into interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in India and Brazil

By Marcel Bursztyn and Seema Purushothaman

authors_marcel-bursztyn_seema-purushothaman
1. Marcel Bursztyn (biography)
2. Seema Purushothaman (biography)

How are interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity faring in India and Brazil? How do they differ from interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in the Global North? Are there particular lessons to be drawn from India and Brazil for the global interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary communities?

India and Brazil are among the most prominent countries of the Global South in the worldwide academic scene. Both have problems in common, but they have also singularities.

The focus in both countries at the institutional level tends to be on what is referred to as interdisciplinarity. The emergence of a new generation of liberal universities and other academic institutions open to interdisciplinary scholarship has allowed a small cohort of interdisciplinary scholars to emerge.

Read more

Intentional ecology: Building values, advocacy and action into transdisciplinary environmental research

By Alexandra Knight and Catherine Allan

authors_alexandra-knight_catherine-allan
1. Alexandra Knight (biography)
2. Catherine Allan (biography)

As a society, how do we encourage early and ethical action when building our knowledge and confronting serious challenges?

In this blog post we explore the conceptual framework of intentional ecology and apply it to a case study to illustrate how it deals with the question raised above.

Intentional ecology – foundations and actions

Intentional ecology, illustrated in the figure below, is a new conceptual framework that enables early, applied and relevant integrated action, as well as reflexive and dynamic approaches to implementation of conservation and sustainability measures. It’s a better way of doing science.

Read more

Place-based methodologies in transdisciplinary research

By Alexandra Crosby and Ilaria Vanni

authors_alexandra-crosby_ilaria-vanni_1
1. Alexandra Crosby (biography)
2. Ilaria Vanni (biography)

How can place-based methodologies be integrated into transdisciplinary research?

Locating research in a real physical place is vital in building culture and making important insights more visible to diverse audiences. But for many researchers and community members, place is more than location. People have important attachments to place that change and influence the outcomes of transdisciplinary research, which is one reason to integrate some place-based methodologies into your projects. Our research studio ‘Mapping Edges’, for example, employs place-based methodologies to identify, analyse and amplify civic ecologies and to propose more sustainable ways to design and live in cities.

Place-based research engages with multiple methodological debates, reflecting humanities and social sciences’ increasing interest in space and place.

Read more

A collaborative vision and pathways for transforming academia

By The Care Operative and “Transforming Academia” workshop participants at 2021 International Transdisciplinarity Conference

authors_care-group_workshop-participants_transforming-academia
Author biographies

What do we want academia to be like in 2050? Is academia on the right track? What will it take to agree on and realize a joint vision that can steer life in science towards a more sustainable and agreeable place to work, to learn, to share and to appreciate knowledge?

The issues raised here are based on a workshop with more than 40 participants at the International Transdisciplinarity Conference 2021. The discussion was initiated and hosted by the Careoperative, a leadership collective motivated to explore, embody and pollinate transformational sustainability and transdisciplinary research.

Read more

Can cultural hegemony explain resistance to transdisciplinarity?

By Livia Fritz, Ulli Vilsmaier and Dena Fam

author_livia-fritz_ulli-vilsmaier_dena-fam
1. Livia Fritz (biography)
2. Ulli Vilsmaier (biography)
2. Dena Fam (biography)

What are the reasons for resistance to transdisciplinary research and education? And what insights can Antonio Gramsci, one of the founders of the Italian Communist party in the early 20th Century, offer?

We argue that one of the main reasons for resistance is that transdisciplinarity subverts well-established and often unquestioned structures, practices and values in academia. In particular, transdisciplinarity challenges persistent organizational structures, mechanisms of knowledge production and evaluation criteria based on disciplinary models of research and higher education.

Read more

How to systematically design transdisciplinary project evaluation

By Emilia Nagy and Martina Schäfer

authors_emilia-nagy_martina-schafer
1. Emilia Nagy (biography)
2. Martina Schäfer (biography; photo source: Landtag Brandenburg)

How can the formative, ie. process, evaluation of transdisciplinary research projects best incorporate the likely link between process and outcomes in such research? What are some useful approaches for developing an effective evaluation plan with a lens of impact orientation?

We describe how to systematically formulate criteria and indicators for the evaluation of transdisciplinary projects by combining:

  • impactful research practices (Lux et al., 2019)
  • impact heuristics (Schäfer et al., 2021)
  • theory-of-change method (Belcher et al., 2019).

The combination of these approaches provides a strong foundation for impact orientation in all project phases.

Read more

Implementing transdisciplinary research in post-Soviet Armenia and Georgia

By Tigran Keryan and Tamara Mitrofanenko

authors_tigran-keryan_tamara-mitrofanenko
1. Tigran Keryan (biography)
2. Tamara Mitrofanenko (biography)

What characterized the Soviet academic system and what is its legacy in two post-Soviet countries, Armenia and Georgia? What would it take for transdisciplinarity to flourish in those countries?

The Soviet academic system

During the Soviet era, the natural and technical sciences were prioritized, while the social sciences and humanities were marginalized. In addition, research functions were removed from the responsibilities of academic institutions and placed under the authority of the Academies of Sciences, which are central state-governed research institutes. Thus, the role of the universities was reduced to teaching, undermining the research capacity of higher educational institutions up to this day.

Read more

Eleven success factors for transdisciplinary real-world labs

By Niko Schäpke, Oskar Marg, Matthias Bergmann, Franziska Stelzer and Daniel J. Lang

authors_niko-schapke_oskar-marg_matthias-bergmann_franziska-stelzer_daniel-lang
1. Niko Schäpke; 2. Oskar Marg; 3. Matthias Bergmann; 4. Franziska Stelzer; 5. Daniel Lang (biographies)

What is required for transdisciplinary real-world laboratories (labs) to successfully tackle and achieve long-term societal change? How can they make the change process transferable? What is required of the societal and scientific actors?

We discuss eleven success factors to facilitate successful transdisciplinary collaboration and to achieve desired societal effects. These are based on an accompanying research project, which supported and observed several real-world labs, aiming to develop overarching insights on methods and success factors.

Read more

A framework for identifying diversity in epistemic communities, linguistic variety and culture

By Varvara Nikulina, Johan Larson Lindal, Henrikke Baumann, David Simon, and Henrik Ny

authors_varvara-nikulina_johan-larson-lindal_henrikke-baumann_david-simon_henrik-n
1. Varvara Nikulina; 2. Johan Larson Lindal; 3. Henrikke Baumann; 4. David Simon; 5. Henrik Ny (biographies)

How can facilitators take into account diversity stemming from epistemic communities, linguistic variety and culture when leading workshops aimed at co-production in transdisciplinary research?

Although facilitators are skilled in mitigating conflicting interests and ideas among participants, they are often poorly prepared for dealing with these other types of diversity.

Read more

Transdisciplinary integration: A multidimensional interactive process

By Dena Fam, Julie Thompson Klein, Sabine Hoffman, Cynthia Mitchell and Christian Pohl

authors_dena-fam_julie-thompson-klein_sabine-hoffman_cynthia-mitchell_christian-pohl
1. Dena Fam; 2. Julie Thompson Klein; 3. Sabine Hoffman; 4. Cynthia Mitchell; 5. Christian Pohl (biographies)

The concept of integration is widely regarded as the crux of transdisciplinary research, education, and practice. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach or methodology. Projects and programs vary in purpose, scale and scope, problem focus, research question, mix of expertise, degree of coordination and communication, timing, and responsibility for integration. Based on findings in a study of integration we conducted (Pohl et al., 2021), we address four common questions to provide insights into transdisciplinary integration as a multidimensional interactive process.

Read more