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Author Sumpf, Patrick ♦ Büscher, Christian ♦ Claudot, Pauline ♦ Jeuken, Yvette ♦ Mnich, Carina ♦ Ruth, Mourik ♦ Ortar, Nathalie ♦ Robison, Rosie
Source Hyper Articles en Ligne (HAL)
Content type Text
File Format PDF
Language English
Subject Keyword Participant observations ♦ Pluri-disciplinary ♦ Methodology ♦ Pluridiciplinarité ♦ shs ♦ Humanities and Social Sciences/Environmental studies
Abstract This report presents these outcomes with regard to three overarching methodologies applied in SHAPEENERGY: (i) an academic literature review; (ii) a set of ethnographic observations of interdisciplinaryinteractions, and (iii) the method of ‘reference problems’ which brings together scholars around commonlyshared scientific problems. With the help of these methods, in this report we show that:1. Literature around collaborative research strategies in energy- and sustainability-related SSH(section 2) relates primarily to four types: (a) Multidisciplinarity research is characterised by gatheringknowledge from various disciplines; (b) Interdisciplinarity research contains a certain level of disciplinaryintegration which requires more extensive cooperation; (c) Transdisciplinary research seeks to abandondisciplinary thinking and create boundary-crossing theories; (d) Transformative science takes an activerole in initiating scientific change processes, focusing on joint learning of scientists and laypersons.What is missing is literature on how to translate these research varieties into academic practice, andthe relevance of collaboration practices in relation to expected outcomes. We recommend carefulconsideration of the specific research question(s) being considered to assess which integrativemeasure(s) may be appropriate.2. Ethnographic observation of participant interaction (section 3) took place during the SHAPE ENERGYsummer school, and 17 multi-stakeholder workshops. Analysis of this data leads us to severalconclusions regarding interdisciplinary working: (a) Working across disciplines requires clearobjectives on all sides, which also includes allowing sufficient time for each discipline to produce a‘rigorous’ and meaningful output; (b) Interdisciplinarity is paradoxical: it requires working to achievean efficient integration of knowledge across disciplinary boundaries, yet also maintaining disciplinarydepth of each individual contributor; (c) Inclusivity in interdisciplinary activities can be achievedthrough careful facilitation and design; (d) Interdisciplinary encounters in SHAPE ENERGY revealedthat cultural assumptions underpinning interdisciplinary exercises often remain unconsidered. Instead,these should be explicated.3. One way of pursuing interdisciplinary research is the application of ‘reference problems’ (section 4),such as in the SHAPE ENERGY Research Design Challenge (RDC) and the Think Piece Collection (TPC),which invited European scholars to work together on interdisciplinary essays. Reference problemsallowed authors writing on numerous energy SSH themes to come together around three scientificproblems, which we explicitly link to control, change and capacity-building in energy systems. Authorsacross the TPC and RDC addressed similar energy-related topics, although they partially related todifferent reference problems. Topics included: renewable energy development in local communitiesand society, reducing the social costs of the energy transition, and energy behaviour and decision-making.Researchers developed their collaborative designs through focusing on the underlying referenceproblem, and not their personal academic background. Based on these experiences, we recommend thesystematic use of this approach in the European SSH and STEM communities, as our evaluation showsit to promote problem-driven interdisciplinary research, prioritising the scientific problems behind theenergy transition instead of disciplinary preoccupations.
Educational Use Research
Learning Resource Type Report ♦ Article
Publisher Date 2018-12-01
Publisher Institution Anglia Ruskin University