A guide to ontology, epistemology, and philosophical perspectives for interdisciplinary researchers

How can understanding philosophy improve our research? How can an understanding of what frames our research influence our choices? Do researchers’ personal thoughts and beliefs shape research design, outcomes and interpretation?

These questions are all important for social science research. Here we present a philosophical guide for scientists to assist in the production of effective social science (adapted from Moon and Blackman, 2014).


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Five organizational features for successful interdisciplinary research

How can significant challenges associated with doing interdisciplinary research be overcome? What are the best ways to build institutional capacity and structures that support interdisciplinary research?

We have identified five key organizational features that enable successful interdisciplinary research. These are based on an evaluation of the Centre for Marine Socioecology in Tasmania, Australia, which brings together disciplinary expertise in physics, law, economics, biology, sociology and governance. We obtained perspectives across all disciplines and career stages from PhD students to the leadership team.


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Critical Action Research in Human Resource Development

Critical approaches to HRD do not focus solely on improving organizational performance; instead, they address previously undiscussable issues such as power, politics, class, alternative work structures, sexism, racism, and heterosexism. As critical HRD often seeks to raise problems instead of immediately solve them, it is sometimes criticized for being elitist or detached from practice. This article addresses how critical approaches to action research can allow practitioners and researchers to integrate critical approaches into actual practice. Critical action research provides a mechanism for ensuring that critical HRD research is grounded in the realities of real-world practice. A model is presented for considering practitioner-oriented research in HRD, which forms the theoretical basis for using action research as a methodological stance for critical HRD. An overview is provided of foundational literature of critical HRD and action research, followed by a discussion of the practical implications for conducting critical action research within the HRD field.


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Reflexive discourse analysis: A methodology for the practice of reflexivity

How to implement reflexivity in practice? Can the knowledge we produce be emancipatory when our discourses recursively originate in the world we aim to challenge? Critical International Relations (IR) scholars have successfully put reflexivity on the agenda based on the theoretical premise that discourse and knowledge play a socio-political role. However, academics often find themselves at a loss when it comes to implementing reflexivity due to the lack of adapted methodological and pedagogical material. This article shifts reflexivity from meta-reflections on the situatedness of research into a distinctive practice of research and writing that can be learned and taught alongside other research practices. To do so, I develop a methodology based on discourse: reflexive discourse analysis (RDA). Based on the discourse analysis of our own discourse and self-resocialisation, RDA aims to reflexively assess and transform our socio-discursive engagement with the world, so as to render it consistent with our intentional socio-political objectives. RDA builds upon a theoretical framework integrating discourse theory to Bourdieu’s conceptual apparatus for reflexivity and practices illustrated in the works of Comte and La Boétie. To illustrate this methodology, I used this very article as a recursive performance. I show how RDA enabled me to identify implicit discriminative mechanisms within my discourse and transform them into an alternative based on love, to produce an article more in line with my socio-political objectives. Overall, this article turns reflexivity into a critical methodology for social change and demonstrates how to integrate criticality methodologically into research and writing.


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The Spin-off Chain

Several theories have been developed over a large number of years on the effort of localisation and exploitation of research results that take place in research laboratories and which can lead to the production of innovative products. This process is being facilitated by spin-off companies. The objectives of this paper is to review relevant models and build a conceptual framework – the ‘Spin-off Chain’ – to direct a undeveloped, region throughout the spin-off process. Unlikely to other models that consider the entrepreneurial-economic growth connection as shelf evident, the Spin-Off Chain integrates the regional and national context into the main university-based entrepreneurial process at a point that this connection is in its infantry and still requires top-down direction. Therefore, a pilot project is designed to apply the concept at the West Macedonia, Greece, aiming to generate the first spin-off company bypassing the barriers and shortages of the region.


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University spin-off

University spin-offs (also known as university spin-outs)[1][2] transform technological inventions developed from university research that are likely to remain unexploited otherwise.[3] As such, university/academic spin-offs are a subcategory of research spin-offs. Prominent examples of university spin-offs are Genentech, Crucell, Lycos and Plastic Logic. In most countries, universities can claim the intellectual property (IP) rights on technologies developed in their laboratories. In the United States, the Bayh–Dole Act permits universities to pursue ownership of inventions made by researchers at their institutions using funding from the federal government, where previously federal research funding contracts and grants obligated inventors (wherever they worked) to assign the resulting IP to the government. This IP typically draws on patents or, in exceptional cases, copyrights. Therefore, the process of establishing the spin-off as a new corporation involves transferring the IP to the new corporation or giving the latter a license on this IP. Most research universities now have Technology Licensing Offices (TLOs) to facilitate and pursue such opportunities.


Barriers to University Spin-Off Creation

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Spin-off. Theoretical Approach Overview

: In a world facing unprecedented challenges, entrepreneurs must focus their attention
towards new opportunities to improve their products and services for higher turnovers.
Innovation is the key that solves this challenge. In the scholarly literature, innovation has a wide range of approaches to conceptualizing. Innovation is re-working of an old idea or the transferring and embedding of existing ideas in to a new setting. The focus of the paper is to underline the following concepts: innovation, research in universities,
technological transfer, spin-offs, start-ups and the differences between the last two.
In order to understand how companies can be more competitive, the main attention in this article is paid on the importance of innovation, in a context very close related with the universities. The main questions to be explored are: what is a spin-off and what is the role of innovation in economy, where do the routes with the university stop in the context of a society in a continuous change? Present paper tries to answer in an original manner aforesaid mandatory question-


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Advice Giving and Receiving Within a Research Network

One of the central components of research-related networked work is the exchange of advice through which researchers are expected to share useful information, especially critical information that others might not possess. A key enabler for advice exchange is the minimizing of structural constraints in the organizations. In this study, we wish to gain a better understanding of how structural constraints, in the form of social and network structure, interplay with advice exchange. Our study’s focal point is the Graphics, Animation, and New Media (GRAND) network, a national research organization in Canada. By conducting a social network survey (N = 101), we were able to study advice giving and receiving among GRAND members. Our findings indicate that the centrality of researchers in the communication network positively correlates with both advice giving and receiving. However, the effective network size of communication networks more strongly correlates with advice giving and receiving, especially for the researchers who hold higher hierarchical positions in GRAND. Overall, our findings indicate that both the communication network and the hierarchical structure are strongly correlated with advice giving and receiving. Furthermore, by looking at the combined correlation between social and network structures with advice exchange, we can offer a better understanding of researchers’ interactions. Our findings are then discussed within the context of their potential implications for other studies on the topic of research collaboration.


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Project Based Learning to Promote 21St Century Skills: An Action Research Study

This action research study explored how instructional staff members at a rural
high school in Central Virginia can improve their PBL instructional practices to promote
students to acquire the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity,
and critical thinking. Based on the results of this action research study, the top three
strengths of PBL were students learning from mistakes, students taking responsibility for their learning, and that projects come in all shapes and sizes. The study revealed that there is not a tight fit or alignment between PBL and the Four Cs of communication, creativity, and critical thinking, and collaboration; however instructional staff members still perceived PBL as promoting the Four Cs in various ways. The study revealed that instructional staff members envision their school as students learning from their mistakes in a non-punitive way, being responsible for their learning, and creating their own educational paths to success. The study revealed that instructional staff members would like professional development on grading PBL lessons, as well as infusing PBL into the curriculum.


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Scaffolded Research-Based Learning for the Development Of Scientific Communication In Undergraduate Students

A Research Based Physiology subject was developed to improve undergraduate students’ experimental design and written communication skills through the generation of a scientific manuscript. This subject consisted of active-learning lectures, small-group discussions and formative feedback on students’ drafts of sections of the
manuscript. Students were segregated into low-, middle- and high-achievers based on their prior level of achievement. Analysis was performed on students enrolled in Semester 1 and Semester 2 (n = 332) in 2013. Our data demonstrated that there was a significant positive Kendall’s rank co-efficiency between the number of drafts submitted and the scientific manuscript assignment mark for low- and middle-achievers. Furthermore, for these groups, there was a significant positive Kendall’s rank coefficiency between students’ prior level of achievement and their assignment mark, with no coefficiency between their prior level of achievement and number of drafts submitted. However there was no coefficiency between prior level of achievement and number of drafts submitted for all groups. A significant positive Kendall’s rank oefficiency between prior level of achievement and either theoretical content or experimental design marks exists for middle-achievers only. Finally, all groups had a significant improvement in their assignment grade and experimental design marks
compared to their prior level of achievement. However only low- and middle-achievers demonstrated an improvement in their theoretical content mark compared to their prior level of achievement. Therefore, this study demonstrates that scaffolded learning using active-learning lectures, small-group discussions and collaborative workshops, may enable students to develop their experimental design skills, but more importantly
can be used to develop written scientific communication skills.


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