How to Solve the World’s Biggest Problems

Interdisciplinarity has become all the rage as scientists tackle climate change and other intractable issues. But there is still strong resistance to crossing borders. “The problems challenging us today, the ones really worth working on, are complex, require sophisticated equipment and intellectual tools, and just don’t yield to a narrow approach,” he says. “The traditional structure of university departments and colleges was not conducive to cooperative, interdisciplinary work.” As an academic movement, interdisciplinarity caught on during the 1970s and has been growing ever since, says Larivière. He credits that rise in part to libraries, which began to stockpile subscriptions and improved researchers’ access to journals in alternative fields. A particle physicist could more easily browse biology journals, say. Furthermore, the US focus began to shift from basic research and scientific liberty back to societal problems such as environmental protection, which can rarely be tackled by a single discipline.


Posted in Complex knowledge, Complex problems, Interdisciplinarity, Research, Research methods, Research network | Tagged , , , , ,

Interdisciplinarity: How to Catalyse Collaboration

An urgent push to bridge the divide between the biophysical and the social sciences is crucial. It is the only way to drive global sustainable development that delivers social inclusion, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity. Sustainability is the classic ‘wicked’ problem, characterized by poorly defined requirements, unclear boundaries and contested causes that no single agency or discipline is able to address. It is crucial to understand, then, why so many well-meaning attempts at interdisciplinary collaboration fail to deliver tangible outcomes — and why others succeed. Here we offer an unapologetically personal answer by reflecting on how, working across multiple faculties of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, we have built a team of disciplinary experts that delivers integrated and sustainable water management across multiple cities. We have now grown this interdisciplinary team to incorporate other institutions nationally and internationally. At the same time, we acknowledge that substantial transaction costs come with interdisciplinary research — it takes extra time and effort to make it work.


Posted in Collaboration, Collaborative inquiry, Interdisciplinarity, Research, Research methods, Research network | Tagged , , , , ,

Creative Research Methods in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide

With foreword by Kenneth J. Gergen and Mary M. Gergen. Creative research methods can help to answer complex contemporary questions, which are hard to answer using traditional methods alone. Creative methods can also be more ethical, helping researchers to address social injustice. This accessible book is the first to identify and examine the four areas of creative research methods: arts-based research, research using technology, mixed-method research and transformative research frameworks. Written in a practical and jargon-free style, with over 100 boxed examples, it offers numerous examples of creative methods in practice, from the social sciences, arts, and humanities around the world. Spanning the gulf between academia and practice, this useful book will inform and inspire researchers by showing readers why, when, and how to use creative methods in their research.


Posted in Research, Research methods, Social science | Tagged , ,

Mapping Your Thesis: The Comprehensive Manual of Theory and Techniques for Masters and Doctoral Research

If this book provided a set of rules to be learned and applied, writing a thesis might seem pleasingly easy. But, because writing a thesis is seldom easy, the book instead offers a more complex mapping of the process. The purpose is to raise awareness of the critical choices involved in research and thesis writing for both masters and doctorates. Running as a leitmotif throughout is the notion that no conceptual construct can be complete unto itself. Concepts can only be defined in terms of their dynamic relations with other constructs. It is in this context that the three broad methodological categories informing discussion in the book – exegetic, empirical, and qualitative – were adopted for didactic purposes only: at no time are they considered autonomies. Therefore, not only can they be compared in multiple ways, their shared continuities are often as significant as their differences. Nonetheless, as in the case of different disciplines, differing methodological positions have different textual outcomes. Writing a masters’ or doctoral thesis is not only an inherently idiosyncratic exercise, it is also epistemic and, in the current intellectual climate, rhetorical. The malleability of the disciplinary and methodological vocabularies used in academic rhetorics reflects the manner in which not only words but also styles of writing evolve to suit particular purposes. For this reason, the style of writing and the words used in a thesis will need to be interrogated with the same informed intensity applied to all other aspects of the research undertaking. Only then, with the drawing of a more complex cognitive map, will a definition incrementally develop of what – in terms of a researcher’s own needs – constitutes sound academic discourse.


Posted in Research, Research methods, Thesis, Writing | Tagged , , ,

Interesting Ways to Communicate Your Research

To maximise the value of your research, you need to communicate it to others. There are many ways to do so: examples include applications and bids, conference presentations, gray literature, journal papers, media (old and new), public talks, and teaching. This book provides fresh, creative, ways of making the most of these and other opportunities. It provides 53 practical suggestions, each based on ideas tried and tested by the contributors. Key terms:communication; impact; presenting; publication; public engagement; research; social media; writing.


Read also: Review

Posted in Communication, Research | Tagged ,

Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change

In our fast-changing world, leaders are increasingly confronted by messy, multifaceted challenges that require collaboration to resolve. But the standard methods for tackling these challenges—meetings packed with data-drenched presentations or brainstorming sessions that circle back to nowhere—just don’t deliver.

Great strategic conversations generate breakthrough insights by combining the best ideas of people with different backgrounds and perspectives. In this book, two experts “crack the code” on what it takes to design creative, collaborative problem-solving sessions that soar rather than sink.

Drawing on decades of experience as innovation strategists—and supported by cutting-edge social science research, dozens of real-life examples, and interviews with well over 100 thought leaders, executives, and fellow practitioners— they unveil a simple, creative process that leaders and their teams can use to unlock solutions to their most vexing issues. The book also includes a “Starter Kit” full of tools and tips for putting the book’s core principles into practice.


Posted in Change, Conversations, Meetings, Strategy | Tagged , , ,

Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes and Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity

Use eye-popping visual tools to energize your people! Just as social networking has reclaimed the Internet for human interactivity and co-creation, the visual meetings movement is reclaiming creativity, productivity, and playful exchange for serious work in groups. Visual Meetings explains how anyone can implement powerful visual tools, and how these tools are being used to facilitate both face-to-face and virtual group work. This dynamic and richly illustrated resource gives meeting leaders, presenters, and consultants a slew of exciting tricks and tools, including

Graphic recording, visual planning, story boarding, graphic templates, idea mapping, etc.
Creative ways to energize team building, sales presentations, staff meetings, strategy sessions, brainstorming, and more
Getting beyond paper and whiteboards to engage new media platforms
Understanding emerging visual language for leading groups

Unlocking formerly untapped creative resources, Visual Meetings will help you and your team communicate ideas more effectively and engagingly.


Posted in Facilitation, Meetings, Visual methodologies, Visualization | Tagged , , ,

Move over Science, Humanities’ Tech-savvy Research is making waves

From digital archives to 3D modelling, humanities research has undergone a technological revolution.

When you think of research on the cutting edge of technological change or bringing in investment from business you are more likely to think of engineering than history.

But while research in arts and humanities disciplines has not been as visible, over the last decade or so, the methods, outputs and impact of this research have actually undergone dramatic changes.


Posted in Humanities, Research, Research methods, technology | Tagged , , ,

Ethics and Education Research

Part of the popular BERA/SAGE Research Methods in Education series, this is the first book to specifically focus on the ethics of Education research. Drawn from the authors’ experiences in the UK, Australia and mainland Europe and with contributions from across the globe, this clear and accessible book includes a wide range of examples. The authors show how to:

identify ethical issues which may arise with any research project
gain informed consent
provide information in the right way to participants
present and disseminate findings in line with ethical guidelines

All researchers, irrespective of whether they are postgraduate students, practising teachers or seasoned academics, will find this book extremely valuable for its rigorous and critical discussion of theory and its strong practical focus.


Posted in Education, Educational action research, Educational research, Ethics | Tagged , , ,

The Research Bazaar

The Research Bazaar (ResBaz) is your one-stop shop for digital research tools, skills, and a community of support!

In late 2013, David F. Flanders recognised a problem: with over 500 research tools and apps available to researchers across a plethora of faculties and disciplines, a traditional information technology helpdesk wouldn’t suffice. In reality, the modern complexities of research far surpassed the basic needs of bibliography management and a proficiency in Microsoft Word. Data had become Big. There was talk of a ‘Cloud’. Inter-disciplinary was the new “it” word.

The smell of a shifting research game was pungent in the air. David’s solution was to create a community of support around research tools. Rather than sit down and teach research tools (R-stat, Python, CAD, MATLAB, CartoDb – the list goes on and on) to each individual researcher, build a supportive, dynamic, diverse community that has the ability to reproduce knowledge without the constant requirement of top-down support. A community could help people to research better, faster, smarter. And so the Research Bazaar – ResBaz – was born.


Read also: ResBaz

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