As you embark on the transdisciplinary research journey, you likely find yourself in uncharted territory and requiring new skills and methods. Here are some useful tools and approaches - and we welcome you to send us your suggestions!
- Decide whether transdisciplinary research is the right approach for you and your research interests.
- Are we addressing a societal challenge that benefits from or requires stakeholder collaboration?
- Identify which researchers and stakeholders need to be involved in the research project.
- Who are we involving? What are their roles? Who is in the core project team? What are the needs, interests and expectations of those involved? What is the team structure that will work?
Stakeholder identification and engagement:
- Explore different problem framings and determine the societal problem that is the focus of your project.
- What is the scope of the problem? How do different researchers and stakeholders define the problem? What framing of the problem is energizing the project team? Are you dealing with a ‘wicked problem’?
- Establish the overall strategy and general workplan for knowledge production and impact on the societal issue.
- What are the key questions that we are answering? Where are we prioritizing our efforts? How are we organizing our research process?
Working Together: Process & Activities
- Structure your research process with specific activities.
- How are we structuring the work? What activities do we include? How are these activities organized across phases of the research process? What is the purpose, outcomes and process for each activity?
- Build your capacity in hosting effective team meetings, gatherings (virtual or in-person) and workshops.
- What is the purpose of the gathering? Who is invited? What are the different roles for different people on the team (e.g., facilitation)? What will we do together?
- Build bridges and translate across knowledge, perspectives and approaches in the project.
- How are we working as a team effectively? How are we bridging differences and managing conflicts?
- Address the different lived experiences, power, vulnerabilities and biases in the project.
- How are we engaging a wide variety of viewpoints, perspectives and backgrounds? Whose voices are not included who have a valuable perspective and contribution? How are we creating a safe space for inclusion and expanding the use of equity measures and support?
- Identify how the project team is going to analyze the problem.
What is our understanding of the problem we aim to address?
- Decide whether or transdisciplinary research is the right approach for you.
- What are the elements, processes and interconnections involved in this system? How can we reveal our assumptions and understanding of the problem and its dynamics?
- Determine what possible solutions and alternatives are available to address the problem.
- What criteria should we use to consider the solutions?
- Learn and adapt over time to changing conditions and perspectives on the problem.
- How are you creating a culture of learning throughout the research process? What are the mechanisms for reflection and sharing feedback? How are you adapting the research approach and activities over time?
Sharing results and Exploring impact
- Create the outputs of the research projects including both academic outputs and stakeholder-oriented outputs.
- What are the key findings and insights we want to communicate? Who is the audience and what are their needs and expectations? What are the limitations and weaknesses? How are we contributing to the transdisciplinary research field?
- Disseminate and influence other research processes and replicate or grow the existing approach.
- How are you spreading the insights, approach, principles and findings of your research project?