Exploring and expanding transdisciplinary research for sustainable and just natural resource management.

Finca, Andiswa and Wolff, Margaret G. and Cockburn, Jessica J. and De Wet, Chris and Carlos Bezerra, Joana and Weaver, Matthew J. T. and De Vos, Alta and Ralekhetla, Mateboho M. and Libala, Notiswa and Mkabile, Qawekazi B. and Odume, Oghenekaro Nelson and Palmer, Carolyn G. (2019) Exploring and expanding transdisciplinary research for sustainable and just natural resource management. Ecology and Society, 24 (4). ISSN 1708-3087

[thumbnail of ES-2019-11077.pdf]
Download (1MB) | Preview


Transdisciplinarity is gaining acceptance in sustainability science research as an approach to work across disparate types of knowledge and practices in order to tackle complex social-ecological problems. On paper, transdisciplinarity appears to be substantially helpful, but in practice, participants may remain voiceless and disadvantaged. In this paper, we retrospectively investigate four case studies using recent design principles for transdisciplinary research, to explore a deeper understanding of the practical successes and failures of transdisciplinary research engagement. We show that the transdisciplinary way of working is time consuming, challenging, and insists that researchers and participants contribute reflexively. Careful attention to research design and methodology is central. The acceptance that complexity renders knowledge provisional, and complete honesty about the purpose of the research are critical to building relationships between researchers and participants. Gaining an understanding of the values people hold influences the research process and the possible outcomes toward sustainable and just natural resource management. We suggest that in order to enable sustainable and just natural resource management, transdisciplinary research should include values and ethics in the design, implementation, and reporting of projects.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: complex social-ecological systems; ethics; reflexivity; sustainability science; transdisciplinarity; values
Subjects: Science
Research Centres: Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies
Depositing User: Lorna O Connor
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2020 12:55
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 12:55
License: Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year