Research methods and approaches
The human dimensions aspects, or ways that people contribute to and are impacted by global environmental change, are becoming an increasingly important element of major research efforts. Here are some links to research methodology and philosophy in this area, as well as links to journals and discussion lists.
- Systems thinking Consistent with systems philosophy, systems thinking concerns an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the elements that comprise the whole of the system. This helps us to see the big picture, to see the connectivity between elements in the situation, so as to support joined-up actions.
- Managing participation Over the past few years a number of reviewers have pointed to the need for us to get more accurate about our use of the word participation.
- Action research Action research is becoming an increasingly important way of gaining increased understanding about ways that groups and organisations can contribute to constructive change.
- Using narrative Narrative and stories are increasingly being used to support pluralistic understanding, and to better understand the complexities of different social realities.
- Social research methods This page links to a number of more general resources relating to social research methods.
- Increasingly, science organisations and social institutions are moving towards trans- and inter-disciplinary research initiatives. This page provides some papers that bring together recent thinking in these areas.
- Ethics This page provides a downloadable ethics protocol suitable for independent researchers without access to institutional ethics committees. Also links to other online ethics material.
- Journals covering integration and interdisciplinarity Links to a number of journals that publish papers on human dimensions research. Most of these journals include interdisciplinary and action-research based material
- IntSci - Integrated science for sustainability A discussion list that looks at how to help science initiatives to be more focussed on practical problem solving, integrated across perspectives and sectors, and interdisciplinary. Links to other discussion lists are also provided.
- Working together for environmental management: the role of information sharing and collaborative learning This on-line PhD thesis by Will Allen represents an inquiry into how an adaptive management ethic and practice that supports the concept of sustainable development can be initiated and implemented in complex, regional or large-scale contexts. An action research inquiry process is used to find improved ways of managing collaborative or multi-stakeholder approaches to environmental management, and to develop an integrated information framework to underpin subsequent decision making.