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Defining Terms for Integrated (Multi-Inter-Trans-Disciplinary) Sustainability Research

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Stock

    () (Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment and Department of Sociology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand)

  • Rob J.F. Burton

    () (Centre for Rural Research, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway)

Abstract

Our contemporary social and ecological problems, including climate change, peak oil and food security, necessitate solutions informed by multiple backgrounds that singular disciplines seem unable to provide, and possibly, are even incapable of providing. The increasing occurrence of multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary (MIT) research projects speak to the recognition of that necessity. But as the literature and our own experiences bear out, just calling a project “beyond disciplinary” or integrated does not necessarily yield the intended outcomes or make progress toward alleviating the hurdles of bridging disciplines. Here we examine the distinctions between three categories (multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary) of integrated research and offer reflections on how sustainability researchers can categorize their research to improve common understandings.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Stock & Rob J.F. Burton, 2011. "Defining Terms for Integrated (Multi-Inter-Trans-Disciplinary) Sustainability Research," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(8), pages 1-24, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:8:p:1090-1113:d:13324
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Luks, Fred & Siebenhuner, Bernd, 2007. "Transdisciplinarity for social learning? The contribution of the German socio-ecological research initiative to sustainability governance," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2-3), pages 418-426, August.
    2. Aeberhard, Andrea & Rist, Stephan, 2009. "Transdisciplinary co-production of knowledge in the development of organic agriculture in Switzerland," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 1171-1181, February.
    3. Vandermeulen, V. & Van Huylenbroeck, G., 2008. "Designing trans-disciplinary research to support policy formulation for sustainable agricultural development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 352-361, October.
    4. C. Hinrichs, 2008. "Interdisciplinarity and boundary work: challenges and opportunities for agrifood studies," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 25(2), pages 209-213, June.
    5. Hammer, Monica & Soderqvist, Tore, 2001. "Enhancing transdisciplinary dialogue in curricula development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-5, July.
    6. Hirsch Hadorn, Gertrude & Bradley, David & Pohl, Christian & Rist, Stephan & Wiesmann, Urs, 2006. "Implications of transdisciplinarity for sustainability research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 119-128, November.
    7. Max-Neef, Manfred A., 2005. "Foundations of transdisciplinarity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 5-16, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ljiljana Rodić & David C. Wilson, 2017. "Resolving Governance Issues to Achieve Priority Sustainable Development Goals Related to Solid Waste Management in Developing Countries," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-18, March.
    2. Tobias Luthe, 2017. "Success in Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
    3. Musvoto, Constansia & Mason, Nathaniel & Jovanovic, Nebo & Froebrich, Jochen & Tshovhote, Jane & Nemakhavhani, Mpho & Khabe, Themba, 2015. "Applying a transdisciplinary process to define a research agenda in a smallholder irrigated farming system in South Africa," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 39-50.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:9:p:1547-:d:110345 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:ecoser:v:5:y:2013:i:c:p:149-159 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:9:p:1627-:d:111779 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jennifer Bailey & Murat Van Ardelan & Klaudia L. Hernández & Humberto E. González & José Luis Iriarte & Lasse Mork Olsen & Hugo Salgado & Rachel Tiller, 2015. "Interdisciplinarity as an Emergent Property: The Research Project “CINTERA” and the Study of Marine Eutrophication," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(7), pages 1-22, July.
    8. Bailey, Jennifer, 2016. "Adventures in cross-disciplinary studies: Grand strategy and fisheries management," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 18-27.
    9. repec:rfa:journl:v:5:y:2017:i:12:p:44-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Mingers, John, 2015. "Helping business schools engage with real problems: The contribution of critical realism and systems thinking," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 242(1), pages 316-331.
    11. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:1155-:d:140709 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    transdisciplinary; sustainability; multidisciplinary; interdisciplinary; integrated research; research project; methods;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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