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Knowledge Synthesis

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This collection of cases illustrates how to draw on disciplinary insights, as well as different approaches to integration. They are based on Repko’s model of the interdisciplinary research process (found in Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory (2008; second edition, 2012)). Topics cover Israel’s conflicted identify, “the metropolitan problem”, the causes of suicide terrorism, the causes […]
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This open-access book provides “practical guidance on how to conduct interdisciplinary research effectively with multi-member teams operating across departments and institutions.” Chapters are: Signposts for interdisciplinary travellers: introduction and some tips for reading this book Departure point: our approach to interdisciplinarity Planning the expedition: designing interdisciplinary research projects Making the expedition a success: managing interdisciplinary […]
Analysis of five large-scale case studies identified five key success factors, which all have implications for funding: start building integration and coherence early, identify level or levels at which integration will occur and link levels, give weight to leadership capacity and integrative vision, promote and support collaborative working and integration, ensure learning is embedded in […]
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Ten aspects of interdisciplinary research are covered, with the guides providing easy access to best practices for a) developing, reviewing, funding and evaluating proposals, b) supervising PhDs, as well as c) various aspects of research management. A link to a PDF file of each guide can be found on the following webpages: Short Guide to […]
A useful analytical framework for assessing knowledge co-production consists of the following elements: “typology of actor roles, research phases, objectives and forms of actor integration, and types of knowledge” (see figure below). The framework was used to analyse “what types of actors contributed what kind of knowledge in which research phase” in four transdisciplinary studies […]
The methods in the td-net toolbox for co-producing knowledge are useful for bringing together different perspectives on a problem, recognising that not only individuals but also social groups have different ways of thinking about issues. One method (soft systems methodology) covers the whole process, while the others cover specific aspects. The aim is to provide […]
The Learning for Sustainability (LfS) website is a clearinghouse of information with links provided to a diverse selection of relevant resources, such as on: systems thinking; building networks; dialogue and negotiation; knowledge management; planning and evaluation; theory of change; managing outcomes; interdisciplinary approaches; adaptive management; and, participation and engagement. Started in 1998, the website is […]
Conceptual metaphors help make integrative research more successful. They require “deep and continued dialogue,” a shared context for communication, and iteration until shared meaning is established. Conceptual metaphors contrast with conduit metaphors, which assume that words and sentences on their own can convey thoughts and feelings. Conduit metaphors lead to an illusion of communication, but […]
Metaphors help people “understand the unfamiliar” and “make someone realise they’ve only been looking at one side of a thing.” Metaphors assist in closing “the gap in people’s ability to grasp something, or speed up what they’re already on track to see.” Designing metaphors involves generating multiple possible comparisons to find those that work well. […]
Views integration as having “communicative, social and cognitive” aspects, relating to language, roles and knowledge, respectively. A key element was establishing a “task force”, with representatives of the key subgroups, whose role is to “introduce core concepts and methods” from their subgroups and to “communicate agreements and results of the integration process back to the […]

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